Shoulder Stretching Made Simple
Effective shoulder stretches do not require fancy equipment and do not require tons of time to see benefits. Sometimes we try and complicate our stretches by adding too many bands, mobility tools, and other equipment.
There is certainly nothing wrong with the use of these things, and when used correctly they can be very valuable pieces of equipment. However, the best stretch in world won’t do you any good if it’s not one that you can do regularly. When it comes to consistency, sometimes simple is better.
Why Are Shoulder Stretches Important?
The shoulder is designed to be the most mobile joint in the body, however it’s common for the clients we work with to be missing mobility at this joint. The shoulder is asked to perform a wide range of movements, including reaching overhead, behind the back, out to the side, and everything in between. While stretching isn’t always the answer when tightness is present, it is an effective strategy when used in addition to a good strengthening program.
Those that should use some caution when performing stretches for the shoulder include those with a history of hypermobile joints, dislocation, or previous surgery. If you are having shoulder pain, read another post we have written on exercises for shoulder pain. As always, these are general recommendations. If you’re looking to speak to a Doctor of Physical Therapy specifically about your problem,fill out our contact form here.
5 Shoulder Stretches You Can Do Anywhere
Thoracic Rotation with Arm Sweep
But how does stretching the back stretch my shoulders? You cannot address tightness or pain in the shoulders without first looking at the mid back. If you’re interested in reading more on why this area of the body is so important, check out this post with more information and more mobility exercises.
Shoulder Internal Rotation Bridge
The ability to reach behind your back without the shoulders rounding forward is essential for daily and workout activities. Try this movement to improve your internal rotation mobility of the shoulder.
Seated Shoulder Extension Mobility
Another common mobility limitation is with reaching straight back behind the body. Many people become limited in this motion, causing the shoulders to round forward and further stress the front side of the shoulder. Here is a quick fix for improving shoulder extension.
Prone Handcuff Mobility
Similar to the above internal rotation stretch, this one will incorporate some more active mobility and strength into this position. As challenging as this will feel for a lot of people, this is extremely important when it comes to creating long lasting improvements in mobility.
Child’s Pose Lat/Triceps Stretch
The key for this one is to keep the palm up towards the ceiling on the side that is reaching across the body. That will really target an area, the lats and triceps, that are commonly tight on many people when reaching overhead.
Give these a try let us know if you feel a difference. This is a simple routine that has worked with hundreds of clients that we have worked with both locally at our performance physical therapy clinic as well as with online training athletes that we do custom programming for.
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