INJURY MANAGEMENT

The Top 5      Shoulder Stretches You Can Do At Home

Mitchell Starkman, Physiotherapist, The Movement Centre

25 Feburary 2018

It’s time to talk about the top 5 shoulder stretches you can do at home! Raise your hand if you think you have tight shoulders? If you’re reading this we’re assuming you, or someone you know does, in fact, have tight and stiff shoulders. But why are my shoulders so stiff? Well, it can have a lot to do with your posture, the line of work you are in or even how you are training in the gym. We always recommend people start by correcting their desk and laptop setups to put yourself in the best position for success. So much so that we created The 5 Step Laptop Set-Up Guide to show you exactly how to get yourself set-up for seated success.

Now, it’s important to note that not all of us need more shoulder flexibility. That’s right. Even though you feel “tight”, that doesn’t mean that you are. The shoulder joint is one of the most mobile joints in the body and that means that we don’t want to be stretching it every which way if we don’t need to be. Generally speaking, if you are a super flexible person (ie. you can put your palms to the floor, you classify as “double-jointed” and your elbows/knees can hyperextend) you may need to focus more on strengthening or stretching some other areas of the body. If you’re unsure, then see a healthcare provider that you trust!

Now for all of you stiff folks, it’s time to get into the Top 5 Shoulder Stretches You Can Do At Home. This means you can get stronger, even if you’re on your couch, in your PJs, watching your favorite episode of Brooklyn 99 on Netflix (great show by the way!).

So let’s jump right into things. The biggest concern we often get from movers is that they don’t have the right equipment at home – well worry no more my friends! We’ve created a resource on the 3 pieces of exercise equipment you didn’t know you had in your home so you can get started right away.

# 1 – The Rule of 5

Our first exercise on the docket is all about getting your shoulders back into the right position. That’s right folks. Trying to correct that posture your mother has been telling you about for years. A rounded shoulder blade position places the shoulder joint in a vulnerable position and can set things up for a disaster. This exercise aims to bring everything together. When working through the other top 5 stretches for the shoulder, it’s important we learn to sustain these positions for the long term This is how we ensure long-term change. So what are you waiting for?

We’ve created a full write up post on The Rule of 5 Shoulder Strengthening Exercises if you need a full review.

Now if you’re having shoulder pain, make sure you check out our Ultimate Guide to Shoulder Impingement where we teach all you need to know about what the heck is going on with your shoulder and how to fix it.

# 2 Upper Back Foam Roll

This has to be one of the best and most often overlooked exercises to improve your shoulder mobility. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Mitch this is an exercise for my back, not my shoulder”, and, you’re partly right. This exercise is being applied to your upper back. However, it’s crucial to understand that your shoulder doesn’t work in isolation. Your shoulder plugs into your shoulder blade, which sits on your ribs, which plug into your spine. That means that if your spine is stiff, your ribs, shoulder blade, and shoulders will also be stiff! This is of the first things we tackle when it comes to issues like Shoulder Impingement or Long Head Biceps Tendonitis. So roll out and enjoy!

We’ve created a full write up post on this shoulder stretch if you need a full review.

 #3 The Pec Grinder

It is time to stretch our chest muscles ladies and gentleman! Now, I commonly see people hanging off the edge of door frames or pressing their noses into the corner of a room.  People will leverage their arm off the wall to attempt to stretch something in the front of the arm. The problem with this is that you are not just stretching your pecs here. You are literally hanging off a whole whack of muscles in the front of the shoulder. This includes the biceps (and we wonder why they get sore?) and the actual joint capsule itself. Needless to say, a non-specific stretch is no good at all.

So I propose the Pec Grinder. This is a way you can perform self-myofascial release on yourself while stretching your shoulder wonderfully. Enjoy.

 

We’ve created a full write up post on this shoulder stretch if you need a full review.

#4 The Genie

It’s now time to get the back side of that shoulder moving. We’re talking about your lats, the posterior deltoids, and some of the rotator cuff muscles. All of these guys can limit your shoulder in moving to its full potential! Releasing this muscle can get the shoulder to sit more comfortably in the socket. This means you get to move your shoulder up, down and around, feeling awesome! For anyone having discomfort in the back side of their shoulder, this one could be the magic pill for you!

 

We’ve created a full write up post on this shoulder stretch if you need a full review.

#5 The Trap Grinder

We’ve all had tight shoulders before after a long day of work, day in the gym, or a long car ride. It sucks. This, my friends, is a solution. The upper traps (those big meaty muscles that run from the top of your neck to the top of your shoulder blade) are some of the ones to blame for that tightness. As we focus on the work we are doing or sitting in a car, our heads can weigh a TON! With all that knowledge in that brain of yours comes great responsibility – to hold it up straight and tall so that your upper traps don’t  have to do all the work. But it happens, we get it – so we’ve got you covered with this amazing trap stretch.

We’ve created a full write up post on this shoulder stretch if you need a full review.

Now what if you are struggling with pain?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! If you are having issues or trouble with your shoulder, we recommend you check out the PhysioReady Shoulder Impingement Program. It’s an entirely online program dedicated to getting your shoulders pain free and feeling awesome.

You can also check out our Ultimate Guide to Shoulder Impingement where we teach all you need to know what the heck is going on with your shoulder and how to fix it!  

Authored by:

Mitch Starkman

Mitch Starkman

Physiotherapist and Founder

A Toronto-based Physiotherapist with a passion for sports, orthopedics, and human movement. Mitchell’s goal is to understand how the site of pain is impacted by the entire body – rather than pinpointing a specific disturbance. He is also the founder of www.TheMovementCentre.ca - a website geared toward giving people the tools they need to self-manage, treat and prevent their injuries.

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