Blog Weight Loss How to Get Rid of Broad Shoulders – We Decode the Dos and Don’ts of the Problem

How to Get Rid of Broad Shoulders – We Decode the Dos and Don’ts of the Problem

Although we actively encourage celebrating beauty in all shapes and sizes, we also understand why having broad shoulders can be a point of insecurity, particularly among women. No one wants an unshapely body and the thought of your shoulders ruining your frame can be daunting. This leads us to ask the most important question: How do you get rid of broad shoulders? 

The answer may not be simple but it is certainly achievable. Through a combination of targeted exercises, proper nutrition, and sufficient sleep, rest, and hydration, you can definitely reduce the size of your shoulders. In this article, we take you on a journey of what the shoulder muscles are made of, why they’re broad in the first place, and exactly how to get rid of your broad shoulders.  

What Makes Up Shoulder Muscles? 

Before we jump into a workout routine that targets the arms and shoulders, it’s important to understand which muscle we’re trying to exercise and why. Here’s a basic rundown of the human shoulder (2). 

  • The shoulder joint, also called the glenohumeral joint, provides one of the widest ranges of motion in the human body and resembles a ball and socket.
  • Shoulder muscles serve various functions such as moving the arm in different directions:
    • abduction
    • adduction
    • flexion 
    • extension
    • internal and external rotation
  • The scapula is the central bony structure where all shoulder muscles interact. 
  • The main stabilizing muscles, known as the rotator cuff muscles, include the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis, providing critical support to the shoulder joint.
  • In addition, muscles that form the shoulder girdle include the pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, deltoids, trapezius, and serratus anterior. 

When we’re looking at shoulder exercises, we’re aiming to hit all three heads of the deltoid muscle: front delt, middle delt, and rear deltoids. The best shoulder workouts must also ensure we properly activate the shoulders, create overload, and include explosive movement. It’s often recommended to pair your shoulder workout with bicep training as they’re complementary routines and help build and tone the upper body. (11)

If you struggle to even flirt with the idea of giving up your favorite foods or working out till your legs give way – BetterMe app is here to breathe a fresh perspective into the way you view the weight loss process! Check out the app and experience the fun side of fitness and dieting with BetterMe!

See also
Calories Burned Walking 2 Miles: A Key to Weight Loss?

Why Are My Shoulders So Broad?

It’s important to understand why your shoulders are broad in the first place. Some reasons for broad shoulders include: 

  • Genetics: Broad shoulders are usually a result of a long clavicle, i.e. the collarbone. This is a long, slender bone that runs horizontally across the front of the chest. It connects the sternum (breastbone) to the scapula (shoulder blade) on each side of the body. (3)
  • Fat: Another likely reason why your shoulders are in the broader category is due to the presence of fat. This can easily be worked on through a variety of exercises targeting this area. 

Now that we’ve understood the underlying reason for broad shoulders, let’s take a closer look at how to reduce them. 

how to get rid of broad shoulders  

How Do I Reduce My Broad Shoulders?

If you’re wondering how to get rid of broad shoulders, the answer lies in a combination of strategies. (1, 4) This includes: 

Focus on Exercise: The best way you can reduce your shoulder size is by incorporating exercises that target your shoulder muscles and the rest of your body such as the legs, back, and core. Working on your lower body is also considered a useful hack as it helps to balance out your overall physique. Exercises for this include squats, deadlifts, rows, and core exercises such as planks and Russian twists.

Cardiovascular Exercise: Engaging in regular cardiovascular exercises, such as running, cycling, or swimming, can also help reduce overall body fat and promote a leaner physique. As a consequence, this form of exercise helps minimize the appearance of broad shoulders.

Avoid Overdeveloping Shoulder Muscles: While it’s essential to maintain shoulder strength and mobility, you should also be mindful of overemphasizing exercises that specifically target the shoulder muscles, such as overhead presses or lateral raises as they tend to increase shoulder width.

Improve Posture: You should also work on improving your posture to avoid exacerbating the appearance of broad shoulders. Focus on stretches that strengthen the muscles of the upper back and improve alignment, including rows, reverse flies, and chest stretches.

Diet and Nutrition: No list on fitness strategies would be complete without mentioning a balanced diet. A balanced diet supports overall health and helps you reach your fitness goals faster and more sustainably. You should aim for a diet that is rich in lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while limiting processed foods and excessive calorie intake, which can contribute to excess body fat and muscle mass.

See also
Holistic Weight Loss Strategies That Guarantee Meaningful, Long-Term Weight Loss

Consider Clothing Styles: One certified illusionary way of masking your broad shoulders is to upgrade your personal style. Choose clothes that help create the illusion of a narrower upper body, such as V-neck shirts or dresses, tops with vertical stripes, and tailored jackets that emphasize the waist.  

How Can I Slim My Arms and Shoulders?

As mentioned above, there are several ways to slim your arms and shoulders. In addition to exercise routines, you should look at more holistic ways of achieving your goals. 

Strength Training: Integrate exercises that target the arms and shoulders while promoting muscle toning and fat loss. Include movements such as bicep curls, tricep dips, shoulder presses, and lateral raises. Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12  repetitions to promote optimal muscle tone (9).

Cardiovascular Exercise: There’s nothing like a good cardio sesh! Engage in regular cardio workouts, such as running, cycling, or swimming, to burn calories and reduce your overall body fat. Even wall Pilates arms exercises are a wholesome, effective workout to try. Cardiovascular exercise helps create a calorie deficit, which is essential for slimming down arms and shoulders.

Full-Body Workouts: Incorporate full-body strength training routines that engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Compound exercises such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, and push-ups target the arms and shoulders and also promote overall calorie burn and fat loss (8).

Focus on Nutrition: Nutrition plays a key role in achieving your fitness goals. Aim to consume whole, nutrient-dense foods such as lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats while minimizing processed foods, sugars, and excessive calorie intake. Ensure you’re consuming enough protein to support muscle repair and growth while promoting fat loss (6).

Hydration: Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can also help with overall progress. Proper hydration supports overall health, helps digestion, and can help reduce bloating and water retention, which contributes to a slimmer appearance (10).

Consistency: Stay consistent with your exercise routine and dietary habits to see lasting results. While spot reduction is tougher to achieve, gradual fat loss from overall weight loss efforts will eventually lead to slimming down arms and shoulders.

See also
How Many Calories Do Pull-ups Burn: A Detailed Guide

Read more: 10 Calisthenics for Shoulders Exercises: Enhance Your Strength and Mobility

How Do I Make My Arms Less Muscular?

To make your arms less muscular, the key is to perform a higher volume of exercises to promote muscle endurance rather than muscle hypertrophy (12, 5).

Some hacks for achieving less muscular arms are listed below: 

  • Focus on high-repetition, low-weight exercises that target the arms. This helps create muscle endurance over time. 
  • Incorporate bodyweight exercises, resistance band exercises, and light dumbbell exercises into your routine. 
  • Prioritize cardiovascular exercises such as running, cycling, or swimming to promote overall fat loss.
  •  Create and maintain an appropriate calorie deficit and consume enough protein to meet your individual needs.
  • Research has suggested that higher repetition ranges (12-20 reps) with lighter weights can help with muscle endurance and toning (13). 

how to get rid of broad shoulders  

What Exercise Causes Broad Shoulders?

Certain exercises can most certainly contribute to broad, muscular shoulders. To decrease your shoulder size, you must be mindful of not overexercising the spot through workouts such as shoulder presses, lateral raises, and upright rows. These primarily target the deltoids and can lead to increased shoulder width over time, particularly when performed with heavy weights and low repetitions. These exercises emphasize muscle hypertrophy rather than muscle toning and may result in a broader shoulder appearance.

In addition, exercises that involve significant upper-body muscle engagement, such as pull-ups and push-ups, can contribute to broader shoulders when performed consistently over time. It’s essential to balance your workout routine with exercises that target other muscle groups to avoid overdeveloping your shoulders.

It’s also important to note that shoulder workouts can help in fat reduction when performed consistently, but if you’re someone who naturally has broad shoulders due to genetics, you shouldn’t go down the path of excessively exercising the specific region as this can lead to an increased size. Balance your workouts with lower-body exercises to create a more shapely final appearance. 

Exercises to Reduce Broad Shoulders

In this section, we show you a roadmap of the exercises and stretches you should include in your workouts to reduce and tone shoulder muscles (6, 7). 

See also
Best Exercises To Get Rid Of Double Chin: Trim Your Troubles Away

1. Renegade Row

  • Start in a high plank position with a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Perform a row with one arm, keeping your elbow close to your body.
  • Lower the weight back down and repeat on the other side.
  • Aim for 3 sets of 10-12 reps on each side.

2. Tricep Circle

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in both hands overhead.
  • Keeping the elbows close to your head, lower the dumbbell behind your head in a circular motion.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat for 10-12 reps in each direction.
  • Complete 3 sets.

3. Shoulder External Rotation

  • Stand with a resistance band anchored at waist height.
  • Hold the band with one hand and stand with your side facing the anchor point.
  • Keeping your elbow at a 90-degree angle, rotate your arm outward against the resistance of the band.
  • Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for 10-12 reps.
  • Switch sides and complete 3 sets on each arm.

4. Bent Over Reverse Fly

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand and hinge at the hips to bend forward.
  • Keep a slight bend in your knees and maintain a flat back.
  • Raise your arms out to the sides, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  • Lower the weights back down with control and repeat for 12-15 reps.
  • Perform 3 sets.

5. Push-Up with Rotation

  • Start in a plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Lower into a push-up, then rotate your body to lift one arm toward the ceiling.
  • Return to the plank position and repeat on the other side.
  • Aim for 10-12 push-ups with rotation on each side for 3 sets.

6. Lat Pulldown

  • Sit at a lat pulldown machine with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width grip on the bar.
  • Pull the bar down toward your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  • Slowly release the bar back up to the starting position.
  • Perform 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.

7. Plank Shoulder Taps

  • Start in a plank position on your hands and toes.
  • Keeping your core engaged, lift one hand off the ground and tap the opposite shoulder.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat with the other hand.
  • Alternate sides for 10-12 reps per side, completing 3 sets in total.
See also
Cheap Meals For Weight Loss: Crush Those New Year Resolutions Without Blowing Your Budget

This guide combines exercises that target the back, shoulders, and core to promote overall muscle balance and help reduce the appearance of broad shoulders. Adjust the weight and repetitions based on your personal fitness level and goals, and make sure you maintain proper form throughout each exercise to prevent any injury. 

Whether you’re a workout beast or just a beginner making your first foray into the world of fitness and dieting – BetterMe has a lot to offer to both newbies and experts! Install the app andexperience the versatility first-hand d!

How to Get Rid of Broad Shoulders at Home

It’s important to understand that it’s entirely possible to achieve this without having to purchase a gym membership or fancy equipment. Some strategies you can utilize to do so include: 

  • Start by introducing bodyweight exercises that target the back, chest, and core. These exercises utilize your body weight as a form of resistance like in wall Pilates rather than using external weights such as dumbbells and other gym equipment. 
  • You can also use a resistance band to increase the degree of difficulty of the workout and help reduce arm size. 
  • Some of these exercises include bodyweight rows, push-ups, and resistance band pull-aparts.
  • Incorporate cardiovascular exercises such as jumping jacks or high knees as they help reduce the percentage of body fat.
  • Maintain a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle to support your fitness goals.
  • Regular exercise and healthy dietary habits are essential for achieving your desired body composition. 

Read more: How to Workout Shoulders: A Beginner’s Guide

how to get rid of broad shoulders  


  • Are broad shoulders attractive?

For many, having broad shoulders is an attractive feature. Several celebrities such as Halle Berry, Jennifer Garner, Cameron Diaz, and many more pride themselves on having broad shoulders. In recent years as the women’s empowerment movement has gained momentum, broad shoulders are no longer seen as “masculine” or “unpretty”. All shapes and sizes are now celebrated as beautiful and a beacon of diversity of the human form. 

  • Do your shoulders get smaller when you lose weight?

Yes, losing weight can lead to a reduction in shoulder size, particularly if the weight loss involves a decrease in overall body fat percentage. As body fat decreases, muscle definition becomes more prominent, potentially resulting in a slimmer appearance throughout the body, including the shoulders. However, individual results may vary based on factors such as genetics, exercise habits, and body composition.

  • Can you get rid of broad shoulders in a week?

Significant changes in shoulder width cannot typically be achieved in just one week. While temporary measures such as posture improvement and shoulder-focused workouts may slightly alter appearance, reducing broad shoulders requires long-term lifestyle changes, including a well-rounded exercise routine, proper nutrition, and consistent fitness habits. Sustainable changes take time, and achieving lasting results often requires a comprehensive approach over an extended period rather than going for quick fixes.

The Bottom Line 

If you’re wondering how you can get rid of broad shoulders, the answer is a combination of strategies that include the right kind of exercises, consistency, mindful eating, improved nutrition, hydration, and getting enough rest. It’s important to remember that while spot reduction is not possible to reduce your shoulder size, achieving a lean, toned shoulder is not impossible. In addition, exercising your lower body to develop a more shapely form is another way of getting there. 

In another article, we discuss how to slim muscular legs and examine whether micro workouts build muscle. Remember, beauty comes in all forms and shapes, and having broad shoulders should definitely not be a hindrance to your dreams. 


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. 3 Ways to Make Your Shoulders Smaller and Less Broad (2017,
  2. Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Shoulder Muscles (2023,
  3. Clavicular Length: The Assumption of Symmetry (2013,
  4. How To Reduce Broad Shoulders For Females (2022,
  5. Hypertrophy Training vs. Strength Training (2023,
  6. Protein for exercise and recovery (2009,
  7. The 13 Best Shoulder Exercises to Work Your Muscles From Every Angle (2021,
  8. The 15 Best Compound Exercises To Use In Total-Body Workouts (2021,
  9. The 25 Best Arm Exercises For Sculpting Your Shoulders, Biceps, And Triceps From Trainers (2023,
  10. The importance of hydration (2017,
  11. These Are the Muscle Groups You Should Be Training on the Same Day (2023,
  12. What is Muscular Endurance and Exercises to Improve it (2023,
  13. Which Rep Range You Should Choose for Your Fitness Goals (2022,
150 million people
have chosen BetterMe

Best app for exercise!

I lost weight, gained muscles. I’m very satisfied and grateful for this app! ❤️❤️

Day 5 seeing some real results with…

Jeff L.
Day 5 seeing some real results with weight loss and muscle tone.

The New ME at last! app is brilliant for logging in...

The app is brilliant for logging in dietary food / drink consumed throughout day . Reminders to exercise and set goals for loosing weight , consuming water to aid weight loss. I am so much fitter since starting with daily exercise and love the various different new exercises too.