Hunched and tight shoulders can cause many problems for runners. First, they can progressively damage our cardiovascular health. When we run, our neck and shoulders should be relaxed and upright. Hunched over shoulders tend to put a lot of pressure on our chest and respiratory system, making it harder to breathe and use oxygen during performance. While we run if we feel any chest tightness, just releasing our shoulders and our chest will help with our breathing and oxygenation.
Second, good posture supports good arm swing. Part of our good running form involves having our arms move parallel with our motion, forward and backward beside the body at the waistline, keeping them loose and at 90 degree angle. When our shoulders are hunched and rounded forward, our arms are more likely to be positioned in front of our chest. This will cause our arms to swing laterally across the vertical plain of our body. This range of motion of our arms will waste energy, impact our core including our glutes. If our torso is extended too far forward, it will affect our balance, expending more energy while we run and causing over-striding with our foot landing far in front of our body causing heel striking and affecting our running form.
Having balanced and functional shoulder muscles is important for maintaining good running mechanics. Training our postural muscles is essential for running faster and more efficiently, and reducing the risk of injury and fatigue. To prevent our shoulders from getting hunched, tight and causing bad posture, it’s important to train our back, shoulders and arm muscles such as our rhomboids, upper, middle, and lower trapezius, as well as our posterior deltoids and scapular muscles. Strengthening these important muscles, will reduce the symptoms of our shoulders being pulled forward, causing that hunched back.
The more our shoulders are hunched, the more strain we will feel on our mid-back. This can lead to minimal t-spine mobility, which can cause limitations to our proper running technique. It also impacts nerves that ravel to the lungs and heart. It also causes our shoulders, lumbar spine, and the posterior muscles in the lower body to compensate for its lack of mobility, causing more risks of injury while running.
To perform some basic exercises that can fix this issue, will target our back and its supporting muscles when maintaining good postural form while running. These exercises are great for improving tissue and shoulder health, upper back strength, which will help fix the problems with our hunch back, rounded shoulder syndrome, even due to a desk-bound lifestyle and intense computer work.
6 Exercises and Resistance Band
1. Lateral Band Pull- Chest Opening- Grab overhand grip with the band out in front in line with the shoulders, elbows soft and pointing straight ahead. Keep the chest and back straight, core engaged. Keep the arms straight during the motion, and don’t bend the elbows. Perform 15 Reps- 2-3 Sets.
2. YW Superman- Stating lying down on your stomach in Superman pose with the body in prone position, lift the arms roughly off the ground, bring the arms into a Y position holding for 5-10 seconds, then W position 5-10 seconds, perform for 45-60 secs. Perform 2- 3 Reps.
3. Resistance Band Y Raise- In a standing position, start with the arms out straight in front of the chest. Bring a slight bit of tension on the band. Hold the band on the wrist or overhand grip. Then bring the arms in a Y shape overhead, and fully extend. On the way down resist the eccentric movement. Hold the Y shape for 2 seconds. Perform 10-15 Reps- 2-3 Sets.
4. Shoulder Roll- In a standing position place the band in front and in line of your hips with overhand grip. Keep the hands shoulder width apart, extend the band directly overhead until vertical. Keep the arms straight and don’t bend the elbows. Then bring the arms all the way down behind your lower back. Repeat the same reverse movement. Perform 10-15 Reps- 2-3 Sets.
5. Resistance Band Seated Row- Sitting on the floor, place the band around the soles of your feet, holding the band. Keep the torso upright, core engaged, and pull the shoulders back to the midline of the body, then tucked close to your torso. Hold for 1 second before slowly resisting the pull back to the starting position. Perform 15 Reps- 2-3 Sets.
6. Resistance Band High Pulls- In a standing position, start with the arms out straight in front of the chest, with small elbow bend. Hold the band with an overhand grip. Keep the elbows up high and wide. Slowly resist the pull back and up to the starting position. Perform 15 Reps- 2-3 Sets.
Strengthen Your Shoulders, Increase the Flexibility, Improve Your Running Mechanics, Run Strong!