In today’s post, we’ll be looking to increase the mobility, flexibility of our shoulders. This will help with pain relief, limiting range of motion, stiffness, and other discomforts.
Most of the content will be in the form of videos for your viewing pleasure. Try to follow the exercises or stretches for the prescribed sets and reps.
If you feel pain during the exercises STOP what you’re doing and put the shoulder in a more comfortable state. As always ask the advice of your doctor before attempting any exercise program.
How do you maintain healthy joints?
If you do your research, one thing becomes abundantly clear: the only way to keep your joints healthy is to be constantly moving them. The more you move, the more your joints receive nutrients from the blood, the more the cartilage maintains its composure and its integrity.
So I recommend what I call a Morning Routine. The goal is to move every joint as fully as possible. But today, we’re just going to work on the shoulder joint.
Controlled Articular Rotation
Put your thumb facing forward and tense up the rest of your body. All of the motion should be coming out of your shoulder for this movement. Slowly raise your arm all the way up.
When it gets difficult to go any further (this should be when your bicep is near your ear), reach up, turn your hand around, and bring your arm down while trying to stay in the same movement line.
After a couple of repetitions, reverse the direction for the same amount of reps.
If your shoulder is healthy, you should be able to stand next to a wall and clear the entire wall without having to step out. If you have to step out, that means you should be doing this movement more frequently.
If you have access to a band the next couple of videos will show you how to incorporate into your mobility work. Tom Hansen from MensHealth.com shows us a stretch that will help anytime you feel any pain in your shoulders or neck.
Ease Your Neck and Shoulder Pain in Less Than 10 Minutes
If you regularly get neck or shoulder pain—or even burning sensations down your arm—try this stretch from Men’s Health Fitness Director B.J. Gaddour.
It’s designed to relieve the “neuro-tension” in your neck and traps and help mobilize your shoulder joint. And besides that, it just feels awesome.
This stretch is especially good on any day when you’re doing pulling exercises like deadlifts, pullups, Olympic lifts, or an intense upper body workout.
Do You Have Rounded Or Tight Shoulders?
When I meet with a new client for the first time, the shoulders are easily the most common area that people complain of tension or mobility issues with.
While this is often the result of imbalances lower down that went unnoticed (esp. the hips and ankles), once the problem is there is still needs to be addressed.
Your shoulders play a role in just about every exercise you do (including holding the weight for many lower body exercises), so you can’t hide from shoulder problems without severely impacting your workouts!
Check out the video below to learn how to assess and correct some common shoulder dysfunctions:
Let’s wrap this article with a few stretches you can do to improve flexibility and mobility. Dr. Brian Schwabe illustrates 6 stretches you can do today. A foam roller will be needed for these exercises.
Fortunately, there are many ways to mobilize the chest and shoulders. Below are six ways you can start to loosen up and fix your tight shoulders.
As with beginning any exercise program, always consult your doctor first.
When your pectoralis minor muscle gets tight, it pulls your shoulders into a forward rounded position. This deep chest muscle attaches to the shoulder blades and is one of the most common areas to get tight.
Pec Ball Rollout
Find the clavicle bone that runs across the top of your chest. Now place the lacrosse ball underneath the outer part of that clavicle bone on the chest muscles.
Push the ball into your upper chest with moderate pressure against a wall. Search for the spot that is a little tender and hold for up to one minute. Hold for 1-2 minutes.
Chest Foam Roller Stretch
Lie down the center of the foam roller. Tighten your core muscles so your low back stays flat. Bring your arms out to the side at a 45-degree angle and let gravity bring your arms down. Hold for 1-2 minutes.
The latissimus dorsi is a long muscle that connects from the back of your pelvis to the back of your upper arm. When it gets tight, it pulls your shoulder into an internally rotated position.
Lat Foam Roller
Lie on your side with the foam roller right beneath your shoulder. You may need to roll forward or backwards to feel it. This can be a very tender area when tight. Hold for 1-2 minutes.
The upper traps are a common spot that gets tight from stress and poor posture.
Upper Trap Ball Rollout
Place the lacrosse ball at the top of your shoulders. Push against the wall with your body. Hold for 1-2 minutes.
The thoracic spine is the middle part of your spine. This area commonly gets stiff and in a state of flexion, causing the shoulders to round forward.
Lie over the foam roller at the middle of your back. Be sure to keep your hips down and not arch your lower back during this exercise.
Pretend this is a reverse sit-up and extend backwards until you feel your middle back begin to extend. This will be a small movement. Perform 20-30 reps.
The hip flexor commonly gets tight from sitting. This can cause your pelvis to tilt forward and cause your upper back to round.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Get into a half kneeling position. Tighten your core muscles to avoid arching your low back. Lean forward at your hips and you will feel a stretch across the front of your hip.
To increase the intensity, tighten your glute muscle during the stretch. The back leg is the hip you are stretching. Hold for 1-2 minutes.
Each of these mobility exercises will help you begin to loosen up your tight chest and shoulders.
These exercises and stretches will help loosen those tight shoulders and increase your range of motion, mobility and help relieve pain in the process.