How To Get Rid Of Broad Shoulders?

Written By Michael Hall

Proud father of two beautiful daughters and a seasoned ISSA certified personal trainer with over 15 years of experience in the industry. 

Feeling self-conscious about broad shoulders can be discomforting. For men, broad shoulders are a show of masculinity. But for women, having broad shoulders can feel like standing out in a crowd. This self-awareness can cause insecurity for many people.

Whether you are someone looking to balance out your physique or simply wants to feel more comfortable in your clothing, we have come up with useful pieces of advice that can assist you in achieving your desired look. In this blog post, we’ll explore how to get rid of broad shoulders so you can feel more confident in your physique.

Anatomy of the Shoulder

Before diving into “broad shoulder solutions”, what exactly is the shoulder? The shoulder is a complex joint comprising three bones (humerus, scapula, and clavicle). The humerus is the long bone in the upper arm. It connects to the shoulder blade or scapula. The clavicle is commonly known as the collarbone. It connects the scapula to the sternum or breastbone.

The shoulder joint is unique in its range of motion and flexibility. This allows for several movements like lifting, pulling, and throwing. A network of ligaments, tendons, and muscles hold the shoulders together. Also, the rotator cuff muscles that stabilize the joint and allow for movement are a part of it.

The deltoid muscle is responsible for the shape and size of the shoulder. It covers the shoulder joint and has three parts: the anterior or front, medial or middle, and posterior or back. They lift the hand forward, sideways, and backward respectively.

Genetics affect the size and shape of the shoulder. However, regular strength training can also contribute to increased shoulder width. Now to a very pressing question.

What Causes Broad Shoulders?

Several factors can cause broad shoulders. Let’s study some of these factors.


Genetics can determine the size and shape of people’s bodies, including the shoulders. The width of clavicles, or collarbones, and in general your bone structure is largely determined by genetics. People with wider clavicles tend to have broader shoulders.

Additionally, genetics affects the distribution of body fat and muscle. This can impact the appearance of the shoulders.

Exercise Habits

Engaging in upper body strength training can also contribute to broad shoulders. Exercises targeting the deltoid muscles can build muscle mass in the shoulders. This makes the shoulders appear more defined and broader. Examples are weightlifting and push-ups.

These exercises are indeed beneficial for improving posture and upper body strength. However, they can also result in broader shoulders.

Hormonal Imbalances

Hormones also affect the development of broad shoulders. Testosterone affects the development of muscle mass and bone density. So women with higher levels of testosterone may develop broader shoulders as a result. Hormonal imbalances like PCOS can also affect the shoulder’s size and shape. 


Poor posture can also contribute to the appearance of broad shoulders. Slouching or hunching forward can cause the shoulders to round forward and appear broader.

With time, poor posture can also cause muscle imbalances and body tension. Areas like the neck, shoulders, and upper back are usually the most affected. This can further impact the appearance of the shoulders.


With age, the body undergoes natural changes that can affect shoulder size. One primary change is the loss of muscle mass and bone density. This can cause the shoulders to appear less defined and narrower. Women who experience a decline in estrogen levels after menopause are more prone to broad shoulders.


Injuries to the shoulders can also impact their size and shape. For example, a shoulder dislocation can weaken or damage the muscles in the shoulder. This can cause a change in the appearance of the shoulders.

Additionally, scoliosis (a condition where the spine curves to one side) can also cause the shoulders to appear uneven or broader on one side.

How to Get Rid of Broad Shoulders? Tips from Workout to Dressing Up

Getting rid of broad shoulders can be achieved. Here are ways to do so.

Stop Doing Lateral Raises

As someone who wants to get rid of broad shoulders, avoiding lateral raises is a must. Lateral raises build shoulder muscles and develop broader shoulders. This makes them not ideal when trying to reduce shoulder size.

Lateral raises focus on the lateral deltoid muscles, which affect the broad appearance of shoulders. Overdoing lateral raises can lead to an increase in the size of shoulder muscles. This would make the shoulders appear even broader.

Instead of lateral raises, try exercises that target the front and rear deltoids. Examples are shoulder presses, front raises, and reverse flies. These exercises will help to tone and shape the shoulder muscles without making them appear larger.

Additionally, focus on exercises that target other muscle groups. For instance, the chest, back, and arms. This will create a more balanced overall physique.

Reduce the Amount of Upper Body Pressing When Doing Workouts

It is important to pay attention to workout exercises. One way to reduce broad shoulders is to decrease the amount of upper body pressing exercises when working out.

Upper body exercises all work to build muscle in the shoulders, chest, and arms. This can cause a wider upper body. These exercises help to build strength and muscle. However, they can broaden the shoulders.

Instead, try out workouts that strengthen the back muscles. The result is improved posture and a toned appearance of the upper and lower body.

Upper body pressing exercises include pushups, bench press, and shoulder press.

Stop Doing Upright Rows and Shrug

Upright rows and shrugs can contribute to the broadness of your shoulders. Anyone looking to slim their shoulders down should avoid these exercises.

These are compound exercises that primarily target the shoulders, traps, and upper back. They can help to build strength and muscle in these areas. However, they can cause an increase in shoulder width. This is because the motion entails lifting the weights straight up toward the chin. So they can cause the shoulders to flare outwards, creating a wider appearance.

To achieve a more slender silhouette, it’s best to avoid these exercises altogether. Instead, focus on exercises that target the muscles of the chest and back.

Strengthening these areas can help to balance out the upper body and create a more proportional shape.

Avoid Training to Failure When Training the Upper Body

One key piece of advice is to avoid training to failure when working the upper body.

Training to failure refers to working the muscles until they can’t complete another rep with proper form. This type of training can build strength and muscle mass. However, it can also result in increased shoulder size. This is because training to fail causes muscle micro-tears, which need to repair and grow back stronger. If the muscles are consistently pushed to failure, they’ll end up larger.

To avoid this, aim to stop working out a few reps before failure. This will still challenge the muscles and help to build strength. However, there will be no risk of overdeveloping the shoulders.

Additionally, incorporate different exercises that target different muscles in the upper body. This will help ensure that one muscle group is not overworked, a major cause of broad shoulders.

Lose Fat to Reduce Shoulder Size

One effective way to reduce the size of broad shoulders is to lose body fat. When fat is lost, the overall size of the body is decreased including the shoulders. This can portray a balanced and proportionate shoulder appearance.

To lose fat, it is important to create a calorie deficit. It means eating fewer calories than the body needs to maintain its present weight. To do this, change diets and reduce calorie intake. This might include consuming more fruits and whole grains. Reducing the intake of processed and high-fat foods is also vital.

Cardiovascular exercises are also helpful for burning fat. Major examples are running, cycling, and swimming.

Do More Cardio

Incorporating more cardio into your fitness routine can reduce broad shoulders. Cardio exercises burn calories and reduce overall body fat, including in the shoulders. To see results, aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio weekly. 75 minutes weekly of high-intensity cardio is also effective.

Trying high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is helpful too. HIIT is short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by rest intervals. This type of training increases fat loss while preserving muscle mass.

To get started with cardio, choose an enjoyable activity. Consistency is also important for maximum results.

Workout to Widen Your Hips

Widening the hips can help create an hourglass figure and balance out broad shoulders. Doing some exercises can tone and strengthen the hips. This ultimately gives them a wider appearance.

These exercises include:


Squats tone the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. These are the muscles responsible for hip movement.


Lunges are another great exercise that targets the hips, glutes, and quads. They tone the hips, giving them a wider appearance.

Hip Raises

Hip raises are a great exercise to help tone the hips and glutes. Hip Raises Involve lying on the back. Then bend the knees and flatten the feet on the ground. Lift the hips off the ground. Next, squeeze the glutes at the top of the movement. Then lower back down to the starting position.

Side-lying Leg Lifts

Side-lying leg lifts target the hips and outer thighs, which can help create a wider appearance. Side-lying leg lift involves lying on the side with the legs straight. Lift the top leg. Then lower it back down. Repeat on the other side.

Dress to De-emphasize your shoulders

One of the easiest ways to deemphasize broad shoulders is to dress appropriately. The right clothing can balance out the upper body and draw attention away from the shoulders. Here are some tips on how to dress to deemphasize the shoulders:

Avoid Tops With Shoulder Pads

Shoulder pads can make the shoulders appear even broader. So, steer clear of blouses, jackets, and dresses with shoulder pads.

Choose the Right Neckline

The neckline of a top or dress can make a big difference in how the shoulders appear. Opt for V-neck or scoop-neck tops as they create the illusion of a narrower upper body. Stay away from off-the-shoulder tops, halter necks, and boat necks. These will make the shoulders look broader.

Wear Tops With Ruffles Or Frills

Adding some volume can help balance out the upper body. Clothes, especially tops with ruffles or frills around the neckline, are excellent for those with broad shoulders.

Go for A-line dresses

A-line dresses are perfect for those with broad shoulders. Usually, they create a balanced silhouette. They’re fitted at the top and flare out at the bottom. So they draw attention away from the upper body.

Choose the Right Jacket

Blazers and jackets with a slim fit are great for those with broad shoulders. Don’t wear jackets that stop at the hip. These can make your shoulders appear wider.

Wear Statement Accessories

Wearing statement accessories can draw attention away from the shoulders. For example, a chunky necklace or a scarf can add interest to an outfit. This will draw the eye down towards the torso.


Having broad shoulders can affect a person’s look. The good news is that their appearance can be diminished. One method is to perform exercises that target the chest and back muscles. Cardiovascular exercise and a balanced diet can also help reduce overall body fat and create a leaner physique.

Additionally, consider clothing styles that minimize the appearance of broad shoulders. For instance, V-neck tops and jackets with narrow lapels. Remember that reducing broad shoulders requires consistent effort and patience, but with time and dedication, you can achieve the look you desire.

Shoulder Slim Down FAQs

What Causes Broad Shoulders in Females?

Broad shoulders in females can be caused by: Genetics and hormonal imbalances. A higher level of muscle mass in the upper body is also a factor.

How to Get Rid of Broad Shoulders Female?

Carry out exercises that tone the lower body. Also, widening hips and dressing right are very helpful. In addition, focusing more on cardio and reducing body fat is effective.

Do Your Shoulders Get Smaller When You Lose Weight?

Weight loss can reduce the size of your shoulders if they are caused by fat. But if your shoulders are muscular, losing weight may not impact your size.