November 20, 2021
Broad and wide shoulders can be a blessing or a curse. Many men strive to build broad, muscular shoulders to create the V taper look that attracts the opposite sex. On the other hand, some women with broad shoulders suffer from insecurity due to societal norms that say women should look more feminine with narrow, more slender shoulders. We're of the mindset that everyone has their own goals with an ideal appearance that they desire. This post will help those looking for ways to get rid of broad shoulders without looking towards surgical procedures. It's important to note that broad shoulders are most likely the result of genetics and how long the clavicle bone is.
To better understand how you can get "rid" of broad shoulders, we need to look at the structure and anatomy.
Let's break it down into shoulder bones and shoulder muscles:
The shoulders comprise five bones; the glenoid cavity, scapula, clavicle, acromion, coracoid process.
Glenoid Cavity: The shoulder's synovial, ball and socket joint is located at the lateral angle (outer-upper edge) of the scapula. The humerus (upper arm bone) is connected here via the tendon of the long head of the biceps. A rotator cuff muscle called the supraspinatus has a tendon that helps hold the humerus in place. The glenoid cavity provides the most mobility of all the joints in the body, with a whopping 180 degrees of shoulder flexion.
Scapula: Most people are familiar with this bone which is also called the shoulder blade. Seventeen different muscles attach to the scapula, which helps to form the shoulder girdle that allows the shoulder to move. The scapula is involved with many movements due to the number of muscles that connect to it.
Clavicle: This is the most important bone when considering the broadness of the shoulders. The clavicle is also referred to as the collarbone. There are joints on both ends of this bone, and it connects the chest to the arm. If you're born with a long clavicle, then your shoulders will have a broader look. There are several muscles that are attached to the clavicle, and the main function is to support the scapula and limbs, which gives a great range of motion to the arms. Fun fact, the clavicle is the only horizontally structured bone in the body. Males generally have a longer clavicle (and thus broader shoulders) compared with their female counterparts.
Acromion: This is the small bony process (projection from a larger body) of the scapula. The acromion and the coracoid process extend laterally over the shoulder joint and help create the shoulders' squared look. The acromion and the clavicle create the acromioclavicular joint that is vital for the functioning of the shoulder joint.
Coracoid Process: The coracoid process is a bone outgrowth of the scapula that, combined with the acromion, helps to stabilize the shoulder joint. This hook-like structure is on the outward and upward part of the shoulder and is an essential bone as many muscles and ligaments are attached here, including the short head of the biceps and the pec minor.
Anterior Deltoid: The anterior deltoid (aka front delt) sits at the front of the shoulder; it starts at the collarbone and ends at the humerus. This muscle is primarily responsible for lifting the arm, forward, and internally towards the body's center. Many pressing movements such as bench press will engage the front delt.
Lateral Deltoid: The lateral deltoid (aka side delt) is found on the side of the shoulder; it begins at the acromion and inserts into the humerus. Its main function is to lift the arms out to the side. Lateral raises are one of the most common exercises to target the side delts. The side delt also contributes the most in terms of making your shoulders look broad.
Posterior Deltoid: The posterior deltoid (aka rear delt) is located at the back of the shoulder, and it starts at the scapula and inserts into the humerus. The main function of the rear delt is to move the arms outward and backward. Exercises like rear flys target the rear delt.
The length of the clavicle bone primarily determines the broadness of width at the shoulders. The clavicle varies in length depending on the gender of the person, with males usually having longer bones. Apart from the length of the clavicle, other factors contribute to the broadness of the shoulders. For example, the amount of muscle you have in that region and/or the person's body fat percentage can add to the broadness of the shoulders. A few other things that can affect how broad the shoulders look is related to the body composition and proportions of the overall body structure. However, genetics is the number one contributing factor that determines whether the shoulders are broad or narrow.
It’s important to categorize what exactly is meant by having broad shoulders. The official term of the shoulder width measurement is the biacromial diameter or breadth. The most recent data for the average shoulder width of Americans is this report from the CDC that covered the period of 1988-1994. At that time the average width for men was 16.1 inches (40.9cm) and for women 14.2 inches (36.1cm). Take these numbers with a grain of salt as there are multiple factors that play a part in shoulder width including muscularity, genetics, and body fat percentage.
People come in different shapes and sizes which means shoulder width can have large variances from person to person. An easy way to tell is you have broad shoulders is to look at your shoulder width relative to the rest of your body’s proportions.
Take a look at your upper body without a top on, if it looks like your upper body is a well-defined V silhouette then it’s likely you would be considered to have broad shoulders. Another way to tell if you have broad shoulder is to throw a t-shirt on where the seamline on the shoulder lines up with the edges of your shoulders. If you fit tightly in the shoulder area while the rest of the shirt is loose and baggy then you may have broad shoulders. For all the ladies out there concerned about having broad shoulders, just remember that the majority of high fashion models also have broad shoulders which is not bad company to be with.
It depends on who you ask, but we think broad shoulders on both men and women can be attractive. Most men who work out always try to enhance their shoulders to make them broader, whereas women tend to feel the opposite. We think this is a mistake; broad, well-built shoulders can look great on men and women. However, if you find yourself as someone who thinks your shoulders are too broad, then try to implement some of the tips and tricks in how to get rid of broad shoulders that we covered in this post.
Technically one way to get rid of broad shoulders is with a highly invasive surgery that involves removing a portion of the clavicle to shorten the bone, thus creating narrower shoulders. We would never recommend these types of solutions to change the outer appearance. When it comes to bone structure, you CAN NOT change it otherwise...Instead, you can use multiple natural tips and tricks to reduce the appearance of broad shoulders. The most feasible way to get rid of broad shoulders for many people is to lose weight, followed by building up muscle around the hips to create better proportions.
You might not be able to fully get rid of wide, broad shoulders because your genetics dictate how long your collarbones are. However, you can employ some strategies to help reduce how broad your shoulders look.
One way of making your shoulders appear smaller is to tighten up the muscles in the area. We've seen other people suggesting that you should stop doing all shoulder exercises if you want to get rid of broad shoulders, but we disagree. Instead, you can focus more on the anterior delts and the rear delts when doing any type of shoulder exercises while still getting some work in on the lateral delts.
Building lean muscle will help tighten the musculature while getting rid of some of the fatty tissue that's present. Instead of lifting heavy weights or using rep ranges that encourage hypertrophy, you can do more endurance training with higher rep ranges and lower weights. You can use weights 40% or less than your one-rep max, then shoot for a few sets for each shoulder exercise with 20-30 reps. The goal here isn't to build more muscle in the shoulder region but rather to tone the area.
Building muscle in the lower body will help to equalize the proportions of your overall shape. By strengthening muscles in the hips, legs, and glutes, you'll create a more even look that can make your shoulders appear leaner.
The best exercises to help build a more robust lower half are glute kickbacks, squats, deadlifts, hip thrusts, and lunges. Keep in mind that you should focus on doing these lower body exercises using heavier weight or resistance to hypertrophy.
Here are some general guidelines to base your lower body exercises around:
The idea of spot reducing fat is one of pure myth; it's not possible. Your body will burn fat as a whole unit rather than specific areas of the body. There's no magic bullet to burn fat in certain regions; you must attack the issue looking at it as a complete picture.
The elephant in the room that most people try to avoid is the topic of being overweight. The CDC is now reporting that 73% of Americans are overweight. What's even scarier is the fact that over 40% of American adults are now classified as obese. The difference between overweight and obese is that overweight is generally considered 25-29.9 BMI, whereas obesity is over 30 BMI. This is a serious problem that's plaguing our society as a whole.
The solution to this problem is somewhat straightforward but not easy. To lose fat, you must exercise and eat healthier. So, let's focus on the first part, exercise.
If you're a skinny person, then more exercise or burning more calories won't necessarily help to get rid of broad shoulders. However, if you're in the other camp of having a little or a lot of extra fat, exercise will can a long way in helping reshape your shoulders.
A pound of fat is roughly 3,500 calories, and an intense exercise session could burn 500-700 calories. This means that you might be able to burn off a pound of fat over one week if you trained hard while maintaining a similar calorie intake.
The best types of exercise that you can do to burn calories in a short amount of time are cardio and resistance training. We already touched on resistance training for the lower body above, so let's focus on cardio.
There are two main types of cardio; aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic cardio is centered around steady-state endurance activities such as running, swimming, or hiking. Anaerobic exercise would be activities that require a quick burst of energy like HIIT, sprinting, jumping, or resistance training.
Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise can be beneficial to get rid of excess fat, but anaerobic has the upper hand here. With anaerobic exercise, your body demands more oxygen to complete the activity, thus leading to more benefits regarding fat loss. In addition, you will burn more calories in a shorter amount of time, build more lean muscle, which speeds up your metabolism, and lastly, burn more calories after you've finished exercising in what's known as EPOC or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.
Try to add 2-3 HIIT or plyometric training sessions per week into your normal routine to reap the most fat loss benefits.
Eating healthy is the most important lifestyle change you can make if you want to reduce your fat and thus reduce broad, bulky (fatty) shoulders and arms. It all comes down to calories in versus calories out when talking about losing weight. Put simply, you must consume fewer calories than you burn if you plan on losing weight.
Reducing the number of calories you consume is much easier than trying to burn off the same amount via exercise; this is why your diet plays a larger role in determining your body's fat percentage.
Creating a calorie deficit starts with determining your maintenance caloric intake, the number of calories you need to consume daily. There are plenty of free online calculators that will figure out your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure). Once you have this number, you can lower this by 10-15%, then check if you're losing weight after a week. If you're not seeing any progress, you can continue to cut more calories but don't go overboard as there are negative health consequences if you make drastic changes. The amount of fat you can lose weekly is largely dependent on your starting point and how aggressive the changes made to your diet and exercise are. As a general rule of thumb, you can safely lose .5-1 pound of fat weekly.
To better grasp what we mean by eating healthy, we can look at the macronutrients or macros that make up the calories you consume:
Protein: Out of the three macronutrients, protein has the least amount of controversy surrounding it. Pretty much everyone agrees that protein is an essential component of a healthy diet. Protein is present in all cells in the body and is necessary to repair and create cells. Protein is comprised of 20 amino acids, 9 of which are considered essential amino acids and must come from food sources. Healthy protein food sources are meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, nuts, or protein powders (both whey or plant-based). You should consume roughly 7 grams of protein per 20lbs of body weight at the very minimum level. However, considering the goal here is weight loss, you should try to get .8-1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.
Fats: Unfortunately, fat in food has gotten a bad rap in recent times, but more studies show that it is beneficial to the body in many ways. There are two types of fats, saturated and unsaturated fats. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat is super healthy and can be found in food sources such as fish, nuts, avocados, olive oil, and seeds. These types of fats can help you to lose weight while also reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease.
On the other hand, you have saturated fats which can be healthy as well. These healthy saturated fats can be found in food sources such as dairy products, meat, and coconut oil.
The one type of fat you need to avoid is trans-fat; this type is usually found in highly processed food. Overall, fat is a healthy component of a balanced diet as long as it comes from natural food sources. However, one thing to pay attention to is that fat is a calorie-dense food, which means you need to pay attention to how much you're consuming so that you don't overdo it.
Carbohydrates: Carbs or carbohydrates are usually one of the main sources of energy for most people. Carbs include fiber, starch, and sugars. Carbs, just like fats, can either be healthy or unhealthy. We can classify carbs as "simple" or "complex and "refined" or "unrefined."
You want to consume complex or unrefined carbs that come in vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and legumes. These types of healthy carbs are clean fuel for the body that support the healthy functioning of the central nervous system and other major organs such as the brain and heart.
Carbs also supply fiber that helps with digestion and keeps you feeling fuller for a longer period.
The type of carbs that you should avoid includes refined food sources such as candy, white sugar, white bread, or sweetened sugary drinks.
Try to eat a balanced diet with your calories broken down to:
Stay away from processed foods.
Avoid empty calories such as refined carbs, sugary drinks, and unhealthy fats.
Fashion isn't exactly in our wheelhouse, so we consulted some experts on the matter who recommended the following ways you can make your shoulders appear smaller. Keep in mind that most of these tips cater to women as they are disproportionally the people who would like their shoulders to look narrower.
One person's trash is another person's treasure can be applied to the situation of having broad shoulders. While some women would kill to have broader shoulders, others might feel like it's a burden.
If you have broad shoulders because of genetics and bone structure, then you can look to tricks like clothing choice to create an illusion of slim shoulders.
If you have broad shoulders due to being overweight or muscular, you can make changes to your diet and exercise routine to get rid of broad shoulders. Broad shoulders shouldn't be that high on your list of worries; having a healthy body should be your number one priority!
Glute Exercises To Build Up Your Hips:
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