We all suffer from a bit of stiffness now and then. Our body can take a beating with everything we do in a day. It’s no wonder we feel tired and lack mobility in some of our joints. Our shoulders often feel the most stiff, usually do to being hunched over a desk or a computer, or doing every day tasks like carrying groceries from the car. It’s always a good idea to exercise regularly to maintain our mobility to continue handling our everyday tasks.
Here are 5 of our favorite exercises to improve shoulder mobility:
1. Shoulder Rolls - Sit or stand in an upright position. Relax your shoulders. Roll your shoulders back 10 times. Rest for 10 seconds. Roll forward 10 times. Repeat 3 times or as needed.
2. Snow Angels - Lay on the floor with your arms at your side, palms facing up. Keep your arms straight and slowly move them as you would if you were making a snow angel. Always maintain contact between the floor, the back of your hands, and your arms and keep your shoulders down and away from your ears. Repeat this movement 10 times. Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat 3 times or as needed.
3. Up & Overs - Standing up, hold a resistance band between both hands, palms facing down with your arms straight out in front of you. If you don’t have a resistance band, you can use any number of household items like a jumprope or a towel. Reach your arms up and over your head and back behind your body, as if you’re making a large arc over your head while keeping your shoulders down and arms as straight as you can. Widen your grip if this exercise is too difficult. You should feel a deep stretch in your chest muscles. Repeat this movement 10 times. Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat 3 times or as needed.
4. Resistance Band Pull Apart - Stand in an upright position. Reach your arms out, parallel to the floor. Hold a resistance band between both hands, palms facing down. If you don’t have a resistance band, try with a t-shirt (especially one you don’t mind stretching out a little) or a beach towel. With straight arms, stretch the band out to the side until you’ve created a T shape with your body squeezing between your shoulder blades. Return to the starting position and repeat 10 times. Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat 3 times or as needed.
5. Scapula Push-Ups - Set yourself in a plank position with your chest directly over your fingers and your hands directly under your shoulders. Depending on your fitness level, you can stay here in true push up position or modify by dropping to your knees. With your arms straight, allow your chest to drop towards the ground then reach your upper back towards the ceiling. You’ll feel your scapula (or shoulder blades) moving towards and away from the center of your back as you push. It is a small movement, but very helpful in mobilizing important muscles, ligaments, and tendons through the shoulder girdle into the upper back. Try performing 10 repetitions. Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times.
If you’ve been struggling with pain or a lack of mobility in your upper back and shoulders, give these exercises a try. These small but mighty movements will help you stretch and strengthen the small muscles that hold your shoulder girdle in place.