Stand with your back flat against a wall (tuck your butt/tailbone underneath you to flatten lower back gap). This can limit your ability to fully raise your arms above your head. How Much Sugar Should You Eat? Your hand position can vary, but I prefer to perform this in the high row position, with full external rotation of my hand (to bias the rotator cuff). Clinically Oriented Anatomy (5th ed.). Start by laying down on a foam rolling from head to tailbone. An alternative is to push the arm outwards. Furthermore, some of the muscles that are part of the shoulder overlap with the back and neck. Instructions: Pull your arm across your body while also pulling your shoulder blade back. Sá, M. A., Neto, G. R., Costa, P. B., Gomes, T. M., Bentes, C. M., Brown, A. F., et al. Fitness Professional’s Handbook (5th ed.). You can perform this with arms straight (trapezius bias) or bent (rotator cuff bias). Full movement (and especially retraction of your shoulder blade) is vital to creating a full wind-up, which helps to unleash and transfer all of the power from your body into your arm. Almost all of the rotator cuff muscles help with the rotation of the arm, except for the supraspinatus. The muscles described in the chest stretches section also play a major role in shoulder stretches, so feel free to look at those stretches as well. Stand and place your upper arm across your chest and your hand over the opposite shoulder. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and use your other hand to push your arm in towards you, until you feel a stretch in the back of your shoulder. People that lift weights a lot, or do a lot of pulling movements (for example, rock climbers), tend to have strong and possibly tight latissimus dorsi muscles. (2015, Mar 29). Have any lingering questions on how to get more flexible in your shoulders? Try to lift one arm up at a time off the floor and hold for 5 seconds. “Pull the shoulder blades forward to produce stress on the shoulder.” For this shoulder flexibility stretch, you can relax the arm being stretched and continue to focus on moving the shoulder blade outwards. It is important to be gentle with your joint when performing these shoulder stretches. Keep your chin tucked, back straight, and shoulders back. The lower trapezius is critical to proper scapula stabilization and should be emphasized whenever possible! That’s about 24 full revolutions in just 1 second. This structure allows for an incredible amount of motion, from reaching all the way above your head to behind your back. Nieman, D. C. (2011). A well-designed, proper warm-up can help you achieve (and maintain) optimal flexibility. The shoulder joint has the ability to move in a large range of motion and relies on the rotator cuff muscles to keep it stable. Raise the stretching arm up and reach behind you—the elbow should be next to your head—and contact the elbow with your other arm to induce more motion. Apply gentle pressure to your forearm until a gentle stretch is felt in your shoulder. Instructions: Perform modified child’s pose with your palms face up. Reach both arms up forward to 90 degrees. A post shared by Aerialist Vanessa Barthelmes (@jadorevanessa) on Jul 3, 2020 at 2:19pm PDT. A well-designed, proper warm-up can help you achieve (and maintain) optimal flexibility. Remember – if you don’t use it, you lose it. When your shoulders roll forward, you increase the tension along the rotator cuff, which can lead to chronic tightness. Do 3 x 30 seconds. This makes it all the more important to use good form & technique during every exercise, and to workout with a neutral spine (link). Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Shoulder muscles can be placed into three groups: The four muscles involved in the rotator cuff muscles are called this because they form a musculocutaneous cuff around the glenohumeral (GH) joint. However, it’s just as important to maintain the flexibility of the muscles and joints that support the glenohumeral joint – mainly your scapula (shoulder blade) and your upper trunk. By pulling the towel over your shoulder with the unaffected arm, lift your arm behind your back as high as you can. For this exercise I like to do the “one-and-a-half” method where I do the full pulling motion with the rotation (emphasize full body coordination and movement), and then follow it with a half rep and hold (emphasize scapula positioning). Another stretch taken from the yoga world; the Cow Face Pose is a great shoulder flexibility exercise, and a useful shoulder mobility test. This shoulder flexibility stretch has a few variations. Reach out below! 3 x 30 sec. You’ll probably notice that you’re not able to throw as far as you normally could. Bonus: Perform an active lower trapezius strengthening exercise in this position. Sherwood, L., & Kell, R. (2010). Comments are closed 30 days from the publication date. If your upper back is stiff, or if your scapula can’t move, you’ll limit your total shoulder mobility. You should NOT feel this in the front of your shoulder joint, but instead along your chest muscles. It’s this mobility that enables us to perform powerful athletic motions in multiple directions. Don't worry if you can't touch your hands just yet, you'll get there with a little perseverance. With one arm, reach underneath the other onto the roller, palm up, and roll the arm and shoulder through. Your feet slightly away from the wall and your arms straight at shoulder level with palms facing upward. As such, the shoulder has the greatest range-of-motion of all the joints in the body. Slowly lift the arms overhead, being sure not to lift the low back up off the ground. Proper shoulder range is critical not only to creating powerful athletic movements, but also to help prevent common injuries such as impingement. Assisting the shoulder flexibility stretch with the arm across the chest you can use the other arm to pull the arm being stretched inwards. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and use your other hand to push your arm in towards you, until you feel a stretch in the back of your shoulder. Breathe deeply and hold the stretch 3 x 30 seconds. Stand and place your upper arm across your chest and your hand over the opposite shoulder. A person with healthy shoulders is able to reach straight overhead without pain, and without having to arch their back or flare their ribs. Engage your lower core muscles to keep the lower back in neutral. When most people think of shoulder flexibility, they typically focus solely on the glenohumeral joint (the ball-and-socket joint where your arm bone connects to your shoulder bone). “Put your hands on a doorway and lean in to stretch the pectoral muscles,” Runge says. © 2020 BuiltLean LLC | All rights reserved. This retracted shoulder position creates a pre-stretch on your front-body muscles (your anterior deltoid, pecs, and abs in particular), just like the pulling of a bow-string. As mentioned earlier, the shoulder is comprised of more than just the glenohumeral joint. The affected arm should not be doing any of the movement. While all the moves on this list will help loosen your shoulders, relieve tension, and increase flexibility, this should be your first stop. Instructions: Only go through the full motion if it’s pain-free. The posterior rotator cuff can get tight with excessive use and poor posture. If your shoulder range-of-motion is limited, your ability to transfer forces across your body also becomes hindered. Not to be underestimated, poor posture (link) plays a huge role in limiting your shoulder mobility. Bring your arms to 90°, and let gravity pull them towards the floor. For instance, try throwing a ball as far as you can without moving or turning your trunk. How To: Kneeling or standing bring your right hand behind your back so that the top of the hand meets the back and the palm is facing away. Focus On Shoulder Flexibility To Increase Power. Lie on your back on either the floor or a foam roller, knees bent and head supported, arms by your side, palms up. Toronto, ON: Nelson Education. Start in a four point position with hands directly under the shoulders and the knees under the hips. Here are three great stretches to increase the flexibility of these muscles and improve your shoulder range-of-motion: Instructions: They key is to feel it in the back of the shoulder. 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