Unfortunately, modern culture dictates us the unified standards of beauty. That seems like a great oppressive exaggeration at times. But, alas, we have what we have! And it’s completely understandable if you want to improve some part of your look. If achieving a particular image in your mind will help with your confidence, chase your goal!
Broad shoulders may be desirable for men, but women often find such a “sign of masculinity” unwelcome. The inverted triangular body shape is natural but may be unsatisfactory for you. If you want to reduce the size of your shoulders, you’ll need to actually focus on a variety of other areas and limit shoulder isolation exercises. In addition, considering that shoulder size is purely genetics, you’ll need to find a way to balance out your upper and lower bodies.
If you are determined to make your shoulders appear narrower, I have a couple of suggestions that will aid you in the process.
What Is Considered Broad Shoulders?
To each person, the definition of broad shoulders is subjective. The “estimations” largely depend on
- your gender
- your height
- your build
Typically, men strive to have broader shoulders, but I know a lot of women you’d like that just as much. The whole concept is highly individual.
Usually, the broadness of shoulders is estimated for each person based on their proportions – if they seem considerably wider than hips, they are broad for your stature. This is a body shape that is commonly known as an inverted triangle.
See this picture as an example. You are looking for the second body type:
What Cause Broad Shoulders?
The width of your shoulders is all about genetics. We are all born with different body shapes. Some of us have broader shoulders; others have wide hips. There are multiple variants of all shapes and forms. We get what we get and have to work with it. I encourage you to love the body shape you’ve been granted by nature but also feel free to be the master of your body and decide what you’d like it to look like on your own.
Unfortunately, you cannot exercise your shoulders, unlike growing them! The bone structure is determined by genetics. While you can increase the size of muscles by hypertrophy training, reducing the size of bones is impossible.
With that said, you can make a couple of lifestyle changes to make your shoulders appear smaller!
How Can I Reduce My Broad Shoulders?
Do Fewer Shoulder Exercises
First of all, let’s start with the most apparent tips of all – fewer shoulder exercises. If you are well into fitness, you probably don’t neglect upper body exercises. And you should not neglect them! Even if you don’t strive to widen your shoulders, strengthening your upper body is a must for a healthy physique and overall wellness.
You can continue chest, back, and arms days but avoid isolated shoulder exercises, especially with heavy weights.
Unfortunately, it won’t stop the toning up of back muscles completely as they work as secondary muscles in compound exercises, but you need a strong upper body to be functional in daily life!
As a rule, you should avoid the following exercises loaded with heavy weight:
- Dumbbell front and lateral raises
- Reverse fly
- Military press
- Dumbbell shoulder press
- Plank dumbbell shoulder raise
Control Your Weight
Although the skeleton build determines the broadness of your shoulders, excess fat around the area will make them look bigger as well.
Thus, the next logical step would be reducing your body fat percentage. Remember that you can’t spot-reduce body fat. Body recomposition touches all parts of your body.
A sure way to reduce body fat percentage is to adopt a healthier and more active lifestyle overall.
First of all, improve your diet! Eating healthy is the key to success with everything concerning your physique. Overall, you should be eating up to 200-300 calories a day less than you burn! This is a general tip for steady long-term weight loss. This TDEE calculator will be of help to you for this purpose.
Next, you need to increase your daily activity! Try to incorporate both cardio and resistance training to build a healthier, stronger body overall. But be mindful of shoulder exercises! DO them with light weights and not as your main focus!
This leads me to the most substantial tip in this article.
Focus your training on the lower body, specifically hips and booty! Growing muscles there will balance your form! Granted, it’ll take your months of rigorous training and patience, but the goal is achievable.
You’ll need to do lower body days about three times a week! Again, use loads of weights and target different areas of your hips, legs, and booty.
Some of the most effective compound exercises (as they burn more calories while training) are the following:
- hip thrusts
- Bulgarian splits
- goblet sumo squats
- Romanian deadlift
- resistance band side lunges
- step-ups with weights
- banded walks
- jump squat
- lying side clam
- banded fire hydrant extensions
- single-leg squats
- glute bridges
These exercises create a well-rounded base of exercises that target all the major muscle groups of a lower body. To learn in detail about getting bigger hips, read my previous article on How to Get Bigger Hips.
In general, you should aim for approximately 15 reps and 3 sets of each exercise, about five exercises per session. Also, use the rule of thirds – one-third of your reps have to be nowhere near failure, one-third just shy of failure, and one-third up to failure. This is a great routine suggested by the glutes guru himself, Bret Contreas. If you want to round up your hips, I suggest checking his videos.
Select Other Outfits
Quite frankly, this last tip is the easiest and fastest to achieve! You just need to make a few adjustments to your outfits! A few tweaks in your clothes can make a huge difference in how your shoulders look compared to the body overall! There are lots of designs that are meant to make hips seem broader and shoulders smaller.
I’m not a stylist, but the following few tips are recommended by professional.
- Avoid tops with lots of volume and details both on the chest and near shoulders. They bring attention to the area, thus making it seem even bigger.
- The best necklines for broad shoulders are scoop, one-shoulder, and V-neckline. Scoop and V bring attention to the middle of your body, and one-shoulder asymmetry “cuts” your shoulders, thus dividing the broad line.
- Avoid boat and off-the-shoulder necklines.
- Puff shoulders and ruffles are a no-no.
- Peplum shirts (when they are in style) are a great option as they bring volume to other areas.
- The best dresses are A-line and wrap that widen the hips to balance your shoulders.
- Generally, you should bring the focus to the bottom not only by shape but bold colors as well!
- No padded jackets! Your shoulder width is enough without the added volume.
I hope these few tips will help you to transform your silhouette to the desired form, and you’ll feel better and more confident.
You’ll Need Patience and Time
Among all the tips, changing your wardrobe is the fastest way. However, it still requires an additional budget and “trial and error.”
All other ways to achieve smaller shoulders take time and dedication. Both training and reducing your body fat percentage are long-time goals that don’t happen overnight. There will be times when you are ready to give up. But you’ll need to stay dedicated to the goal and picture in your mind your target. Diving into the world of fitness and nutritional health will help you with motivation and will provide even more effective tips on your physical wellbeing.
In conclusion, I’d like to highlight that narrowing your shoulders is a time-consuming process that generally targets other areas to bring more balance to your shape.
With that in mind, we should all remember to love our bodies beforehand, no matter the shape, weight, or anything else. If you love yourself, any physical changes will be taken with a healthy conscious, knowing that you are precious no matter your body shape. This is an incredibly touching subject when it comes t something set by genetics, such as broad shoulders.
In the end, I wish you luck in any fitness endeavors you might want to undertake.