Shoulder Stretches and Mobility

Shoulder Stretches – This movement can be done with a rope, stick or sheet. you may not be able to go all the way back when you start and thats ok. Stay on the sweet side of the stretch. The front and back stretch is the basic move. Exploring the sides is a more advanced movement.

Shoulder Rolling

Very often the shoulder gets locked down in this armpit area. teres Major, teres minor, subscapularis, infraspinatus and serratus anterior often get really locked up. This movement should be done in conjunction with the above shoulder mobility stretch.

Long Chain Shoulder Mobility

Note: We are stretching the shoulder in relation to the rest of the body here. Think if the shoulder joint itself as just a waypoint on a longer journey.

Below, I’ll share a simple and effective shoulder mobility routine that’ll take just a few minutes out of your day, but will help you get your shoulders feeling and moving the way you want them to. But before you start putting these movements into action, it’s a good idea to understand why you’re having these issues and why it’s so important to get your shoulders moving well.

1. Quadruped Shoulder Circles

You’ve probably done standard shoulder circles before from a standing position. The benefit of doing these on your hands and knees is the floor gives you some feedback so you can adjust the pressure easily.

  • Start on your hands and knees with your knees just beneath your hips and your hands just beneath your shoulders.
  • Press into the ground and keep your elbows straight as you shrug your shoulders up toward your ears, back toward your hips, down away from your ears, and then forward toward your head, creating a nice circle.
  • Do these circles in both directions, and then you can try doing the circles with alternating shoulders.

Do 5 circles in each direction with both shoulders, then do 5 in each direction with one shoulder at a time.

2. L-Arm Stretch

This is one of my favorite stretches because it’s very effective at stretching the rotator cuff and the back of the shoulder. It can feel a bit awkward at first, but just play around with finding a position that feels relatively comfortable for you.

  • Start by lying on your stomach with one arm by your side. Stretch your other arm across your chest with your palm facing up and without letting your shoulder shrug up toward your ear too much.
  • Use your shoulder muscles to pull your chest down toward the floor, creating a nice stretch in the shoulder capsule.
  • Move in and out of the stretched position, and then hold the stretch.

Once you find a comfortable position, move in and out of the stretch 10 times, then hold for 30 seconds. Repeat this sequence a total of three times.

3. Prone Bent Arm Chest Stretch

Here’s a stretch that targets the chest and front of the shoulder. You’ll work on one side at a time with this one.

  • Start in a prone position (on your stomach) with one hand on the floor and your elbow bent.
  • Shift your weight toward your hand to feel a stretch in your chest.
  • Move in and out of the stretched position, and then hold the stretch.

Once you find a comfortable position, move in and out of the stretch 10 times, then hold for 30 seconds. Repeat this sequence a total of three times.

4. Tall Kneeling Arm Raises

This one engages the hips as well as the shoulders, and will really help with opening up your tight shoulder muscles.

  • Start in a kneeling position (also called “seiza”), sitting with your feet under your butt.
  • Lift your hips as you raise your arms straight up overhead.
  • At the top, you will be in a “tall kneeling” position with your arms straight up. Make sure to really open up the shoulders in that top position, but don’t arch the back.

Move in and out of the stretch 5 times and then hold for 15-30 seconds.