If you have rounded shoulders / a scapular anterior tilt... will doing things like pull-ups/downs help to fix it?

I've read mixed opinions on this topic so it's hard to know what to believe. Some people say that are very effective at helping improve posture, others say they only exacerbate the problem.

I've been doing a bunch of exercises for my lower traps and serratus anterior that my physio gave me, and am soon to start getting back into the gym once they're back open... and am wondering whether or not I should include a load of pull-ups/downs in my routine.

1 Answer 1


I find pull downs beneficial (at least they feel good and make my shoulders feel better) but I think it depends on how you do them.

I find it important to use low enough weight so that the lower and mid traps are working and not being overpowered by other stronger muscles. Also I use slow and steady speed so that I can not cheat parts of the lift using momentum.

Also I start with shoulder blades up and the first phase of each pull is just pulling the shoulder blades down. In other words I try to bring my arms down as far as possible without bending them. From here on I keep them locked down. Moving the shoulder blades up and down instead of keeping them down put less emphasis on the lats (1) which is a good thing since the lats are internal shoulder rotators.

Also I pull towards my chest while I bend/arch backward and press shoulder blades together. At this stage the pull down almost turns into a horizontal pull (inverted row). I notice that some (2) discourages this. Instead they say that you should stay as vertical as possible to maximixe lat engagement. But this is exactly what we want to avoid.

I guess if lat involvement really is a problem you may be better of only doing the initial pulling shoulder blades part down of the pull down.

I think it is wise to alternate between vertical and horizontal pulling.

(1) Muscle and Motion: Lat Pulldown

(2) Lat Pulldown Master Class

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