Exercises to Correct One Shoulder Higher Than the Other

Young woman with position defect and ideal bearing on white background
Poor posture can cause uneven shoulders. (Image: nikitabuida/iStock/Getty Images)

Slightly uneven shoulders might be annoying, but they're pretty common. If you're right-handed, it's likely your right shoulder is slightly lower than the left -- and vice versa. However, significantly uneven shoulders can indicate poor posture. Less often, uneven shoulders are a sign of more serious conditions such as scoliosis. See a doctor if you have uneven shoulders to determine whether these exercises are safe for you.

Portrait of healthy young woman stretching her neck outdoors. Caucasian fitness model warming up in park.
Avoid pain with stretching exercises. (Image: Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock/Getty Images)

Upper Trap Stretch

A tight upper trapezius muscle on the top of your shoulder can make it higher than your opposite shoulder.

Step 1

Sit or stand up straight. To stretch your right side, tilt your left ear toward your left shoulder. Place your right arm behind your back.

Step 2

Place your left hand on top of your head. Gently pull your head to bring your left ear closer to your left shoulder. Stop when you feel a strong pull along the side of your neck and top of your right shoulder.

Step 3

Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then relax. Repeat three times.

3D illustration, shoulder painful skeleton x-ray, medical concept.
Uneven shoulders can also be painful. (Image: yodiyim/iStock/Getty Images)

Shoulder Blade Squeezes

Weak shoulder blade muscles can make one shoulder higher than the other.

Step 1

Stand in front of a mirror. With your arms relaxed by your sides, squeeze your shoulder blades down and together. Use the mirror to make sure your shoulders are level during this movement.

Step 2

Hold for 3 to 5 seconds, then relax. Repeat 10 times and work up to three sets in a row.

Tip

Don't let your shoulders shrug up toward your ears during this exercise.

Beautiful young woman is exercising with rubber band.
Resistance bands are lightweight and portable. (Image: LittleBee80/iStock/Getty Images)

Low Rows

Rowing exercises strengthen muscles that help hold your shoulder in proper posture. Strengthen muscles on the side with the higher shoulder.

Step 1

Secure one end of the exercise band to a sturdy object around waist-height. Hold the opposite end of the band in your hand.

Step 2

Start with your arm resting next to your body. Keeping your elbow straight, squeeze your shoulder blade and pull the band backward as far as possible straight behind you.

Step 3

Hold for 2 to 3 seconds, then relax. Repeat 10 times and work up to three sets in a row.

Beautiful  active woman working out at the fitness studio
Make exercises more difficult by using a band with increased resistance. (Image: Tinatin1/iStock/Getty Images)

Band Pull-Aparts

Perform band pull-aparts while keeping your shoulders level.

Step 1

Stand in front of a mirror and hold one end of the band in each hand. Straighten your elbows and raise both arms in front of you to shoulder height.

Step 2

Keeping your elbows straight and palms rotated toward the ground, pull the ends of the band apart as far as possible. Watch yourself in the mirror to be sure your shoulders stay level throughout the movement -- do not let them shrug up toward your ears.

Step 3

Hold this position for 2 to 3 seconds, then slowly bring your hands back out in front of you. Repeat 10 times.

Snow angel in forest near Aegviidu parish.
Snow angels can be performed against a wall to strengthen your shoulders. (Image: HeitiPaves/iStock/Getty Images)

Wall Angels

Wall angels might sound easy, but it takes a lot of muscular effort to perform this exercise.

Step 1

Stand with your back against a wall. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees and lift them out to your sides at shoulder-height.

Step 2

Press the back of your forearms, wrists and hands against the wall and keep them in contact with the wall throughout this exercise. Be sure that your shoulder blades stay in contact with the wall as well.

Step 3

Slowly slide your arms up the wall and over your head until your hands touch, then slowly slide back down to the starting position. Only lift your arms as high as you can without losing contact with the wall.

Step 4

Repeat 10 times and work up to three sets in a row.

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