So, let us paint this picture. You’ve spent countless hours honing your physique in the gym. Your muscles are tight, chest, delts, lats, pumped, but no one can see it properly. Why, because you have developed a common postural deviation called Upper Cross Syndrome.
Upper Cross Syndrome is characterized by tight pectorals, upper traps, and sternocleidomastoid muscles, in concert with weak lower traps, rhomboids, and cervical flexors. Most of this is caused by our obsession with the muscles of the front of the body (show muscles), lack of back muscular training, improper form, and most importantly our chair born society.
Some common mistakes which can make this happen or worsen the situation are holding on while walking or running on the treadmill, failure to adduct ( bring together) the shoulder blades while doing back workouts (rows, pulldowns, etc), and failure to maintain proper posture during chest exercises.
But all is not lost, there are things you can do to correct the situation. First have your posture analyzed by a Trainer or Fitness Professional who knows what to look for from the front, back and side views of your body. Basically from the side the ear, shoulder, hip, knee and ankle should all be in line with each other. From the front the hands should face the body and not be turned in.
When doing all back exercises the spine should be in a neutral or slightly arched position and the scapula should adduct during the movement. On chest movements the same postural orientation should be maintained, but the scapula should stay in a adducted position during the movement. When your form starts to deviate during the exercise, it’s time to stop and rest for the next set. Also, stretching out the chest and lats are a must. The basic rule of thumb is that the tight muscles need to be stretched and the weak muscles need to be strengthened.
This is a very simplified answer to a complex situation, but is a good start to get you started on fixing the problem. Always seek help from a qualified Fitness Professional to help lead you down the right path.