There is a silent epidemic bought on by the technological age.

It’s forward head posture.

Forward head posture (or ihunch) is the combination of slouched-forward shoulders and rounded upper back that’s a result of modern-day living and working conditions.

Looking down at cell phones, tablets, laptops, desktops combined with sitting, slouching and not moving as much are the main causes.

You’re probably thinking no big deal.

However, over time it is.

Because for every inch your ears are forward from your shoulders, you increase the weight of the head on the spine by an additional 10 pounds. (1)

Now imagine your spine carrying an extra 10 pounds on top of all your other daily activities.

Don’t worry I’ll give you a moment. Who am I kidding, I’ll tell you.  

Your spine may ‘wear’ out faster and cause you unnecessary discomfort.

Furthermore, the muscles of the upper back get weak and inhibited, resulting in a loss of strength and mobility around the upper body area.

And this posture has been linked to tension headaches and decreased lung capacity, which can cause problems with inhaling and exhaling air. (2)

So yes, it becomes a problem.


Here’s a simple test to determine whether you have this posture.

Stand with you head, shoulders and back against a wall with your heels six inches away from the wall. Determine how many fingers you can fit between your head and the wall. If it is more than 3, you likely have forward head posture.

If you have it, it’s fixable.  Doing targeted exercises combined with a little consistency, you’ll be standing up straighter in no time. Without your mother telling you so. 😊

Note- These will not work for everybody.  Mix and match to find your right combination. Rounded shoulders and forward head go hand in hand. These exercises address both .


  1. Sleeping with one pillow- this will reinforce better alignment for your head and neck when you’re sleeping.
  2. Sleeping on your back– this will improve your posture because your spine gets support from your bed.
  3. Find your sit bones– feel with your hands underneath your bottom and find the two boney protrusions at the base of your pelvis. Once you have done that, rock your pelvis slightly forward to bring yourself into neutral spine. This will reinforce good posture whenever you’re sitting.
  • Do the lying down chin tuck:  Lie on your back with your head on a pillow. Tuck your chin towards your chest without your head leaving the pillow. Hold this position for 5 seconds and reset. Do 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
  • Do outward rotations- Stand up tall with your arms by your side. Bend your elbows 90 degrees, with your palms facing inward. Keeping your upper arms against your sides, slowly rotate your forearm away from you, only using your shoulders. You will end up with your elbows still on your sides, but your hands now out to the side of your body. Return to the starting position and do 2 sets and 10-15 repetitions.
  • This neck stretch is fantastic.
  • Raise your cellphone to eye level when you’re using it.
  • Do this posture reset- Stand tall with your feet hip width a part and hands by your sides. Grip the floor with your feet by turning your right foot clockwise, without moving it, feeling tension in your right glute. Think of it like screwing your feet into the ground. Do the same on the left foot, anti-clockwise. Then turn your arms outward until your palms are facing forward.  Do you feel straighter?
  • Or this posture reset

Or if you’re getting after it in the gym, the following are great posture exercises.



A lot us favor one side over the other when we carry bags over our shoulders or in our hands. This can result in tilting our body over to one side to overcompensate. Over time this may cause problems with posture and strength imbalances.

Programming-You’re only limited by your imagination on inserting suitcase carries into your programming. However, when you’re doing carries as part of your training, pair them with an exercise that doesn’t demand a lot of grip strength.  

 For example:

1A. Overhead press variation

1B. Suitcase carry- heavy 20 steps one hand then 20 steps in the opposite hand.


1A. Squat or hip thrust

1B. Suitcase carry- heavy 20 steps one hand then 20 steps in the opposite hand.


The pullover with deadbug will counter lumbar extension (while reaching overhead)and help stretch the lats while preventing the rounded-shoulder/forward head posture look.

Programming –Pairing this exercise in a superset when neutral spine and core stability is essential. For example:

1A. Overhead, back, front or goblet squat.

1B. Pullover with deadbug – 12 reps (six on each leg)

Or on upper body day, pair this exercise with any bench or any over press variation.  For example:

1A. Dumbbell bench press or Push press

1B. Pullover with deadbug – 12 reps (six on each leg)

NOTE– The exercises below focus on strengthening the upper back which are weakened by forward head/ rounded shoulder posture. All these help with your posture when performed correctly.


There’s a multitude of variations to choose from. From the classic single arm bench supported variety to this excellent variation from Bach Performance.

Single arm rows are perfect for ironing out strength imbalances that often exist between sides and you’ll get some extra core work in the form of lateral stability.

Programming- Programming these for higher reps (8-15 range) and lower sets (2-4) and pairing these in a super set with any pressing variation works well.

For example,

1A.  Single arm rows 8-12 reps

1B. Single arm bench press 8-12 reps


The beauty of the TRX is you can increase or decrease the intensity simply by adjusting the foot position closer or further away from the anchor point. This makes this exercise accessible to almost everybody.

Programming– TRX rows are a great change of pace from weighted rows and training these for higher reps (12-20) and fewer sets (2-4) works best.  


Because a lot of people go heavy with rows, they use more bicep and less shoulder blades which leaves the upper back neglected. This exercise solves both issues.

Programming- Quality of reps and load are important here. The moment you’re trying to muscle up the weight and not use your upper back muscles, stop. Pair this with any single arm row or press exercise in a superset.

For example,

1A. Batwing rows 8 reps

1B.  Single arm shoulder press 8 reps


Face pulls will help add size, strength and endurance to rear shoulders and upper back. However, like the batwing exercise you don’t want to go to heavy because you want to ‘feel’ the upper back muscles working.

The external rotation at the end of the movement will help pull the shoulders back into proper position for better posture and decreased injury risk.

Programming- Using this exercise as a primer exercise before any pressing/deadlift/squat will help exercise positioning and get blood moving through the area. 2-4 sets of 12-15 reps will do the trick.

For example

1A.  Face pulls 15 reps

1B.  Goblet squat 12 reps


Showing your head, neck and upper back some love will have you standing up straighter, putting less stress on your spine and undo the damage of looking down at your cellphone.

Because if you don’t look up occasionally, you’re going to run into something. Then your mum will really yell at you.


  1. Kapandji, Physiology of Joints, Vol. 3
  • J Phys Ther Sci. 2018 Aug;30(8):1117-1123. doi: 10.1589/jpts.30.1117. Epub 2018 Aug 7. Alleviation of chronic spine pain and headaches by reducing forward head posture and thoracic hyperkyphosis: a CBP® case report. Fortner MO1, Oakley PA2, Harrison DE3.


  1. Robbie

    Good stuff, Shane. This is one topic that becomes more and more important every day!

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