As we know, overtraining the chest, leading to overdevelopment in relation to the back and associated postural muscles, can also lead to hampered performance due to Upper Cross Syndrome. This is characterized by the chest overpowering the shoulder girdle, leading to poor posture (kyphosis) and likely shoulder impingement.

This can be avoided with appropriate corrective exercise.

I'd like to know if overdeveloping the back can have negative noted effects. I already understand the importance of avoiding asymmetries and its relation to injury reduction, but not if it leads to actual diagnosed problems down the road because it's not in an ideal ratio in relation to the chest and shoulders.

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    I think that hyperlordosis would be the problem, but I'm not sure how much problematic hyperlordosis you'd see caused by strength training/bodybuilding, since most big back exercises (deadlifts, back squats) involve anterior stabilization and glute work (which would work against overextension of the back). This is true of upper body pressing work as well (bench requires upper back strength), but I think it's to a lesser degree? I'm not sure. Commented Jan 10, 2015 at 8:30
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    Does this question still need an answer?
    – s3v3ns
    Commented Feb 3, 2015 at 7:22
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    @s3v3ns yep, it does
    – Eric
    Commented Feb 3, 2015 at 20:33

2 Answers 2


Just in the same way that overdeveloped frontal muscular (i.e. chest, anterior deltoids) will pull the shoulders forward, overdeveloped rhomboids can pull the shoulders back excessively.

Why does this matter? The ability to keep the shoulder blade flush against the rib cage during movement, as opposed to ‘winging’, is important for stability (‘you can’t fire a cannon from a canoe’ - Fred Hatfield). This desirable scapular positioning can be compromised when the scapular retractors (back muscles) are overactive relative to the scapular protractors (mainly serratus anterior).

That’s the case where upper back is concerned. As for lower back: hyperlordotic posture and associated malignancies can occur when the spinal extensors out-muscle the anterior core.

Imbalances work both ways.


Having a overdeveloped back is nothing you should be worried about. It is not like your shoulders, at some point, are going to get cracked backwards. As you said, if chest, is the overpowering part in that balance, the shoulders will be pulled forward, which is correct, but it does just not work in reverse, after reaching a certain point.

My friend did nothing but rows and deadlifts for a few months. His posture improved a lot and there were no negative effects for him there. Over developed traps are another thing. If other parts of the body are not balanced it will probably make it look like you have a hump on your back, which is not nice.

But as you said, having everything balanced is the ideal, to prevent injuries.

I will try to improve my answer, after i have done further research, but i hope this will answer your question.

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