Having proper shoulder mobility is a foundational piece of good human movement and effective exercise programs. If we are training the upper body to pull and push in multiple planes through a full range of motion, great shoulder mobility is a necessity.
When shoulder mobility becomes or is an issue we most commonly find ourselves with less than desirable spinal positions and open rib cages working to make up for our tight shoulders. For many people it is not a matter of if, but rather when they will injure a shoulder. Fortunately, you can overcome shoulder pain and inflexibility fairly easily if you address it properly.
Below are some methods to work on and maintain good shoulder mobility. If you’re currently dealing with shoulder impairments, they will improve symptoms; if you are not, they will help you maintain optimal shoulder health and function, as well as help prevent future injury.
- Banded Shoulder Distraction. Place a green band on a bar about 2” above head, face into rack and hold the band supported on the back of the wrist, move into a lunge and allow the band to pull your arm up and forward, with your palm up to the sky, and making sure to drive your chest towards your knee.
- Lacrosse Ball Sub-scapula Release. Lay with a lacrosse ball along the edge of the shoulder blade proximal to the spine, take your straight arm thumb down to the opposite hip, move diagonal across body to an overhead position thumb into ground, perform 5 reps slowly, adjust ball up edge of scapula, return to the starting position and repeat in 3 different positions.
- Lacrosse Ball Posterior Capsule Release. Lay on your back with a lacrosse ball on the back of shoulder and roll over onto the ball -- working it into the back of the shoulder.
- Partner Internal Rotation Stretch. Lay on your back with bent knees and the soles of your feet on the ground. Move into a hip bridge, focus on having your hips high and your femur in line with your torso angle. Place the back of the hands on the lower back and have a partner hold down your shoulders as you slowly lower hip to the ground, repeat a few times. (If you do not have a partner do not worry, a modification is shown in the video below.)
- Kneeling Shoulder Stretch. On your knees facing a 24’’+/- box, approximately 3 feet away, place your palms on box and drive your chest down toward the ground, bracing your abdomen and relaxing with straight arms.
- Reach, Roll, Lift. Lay in a prone position face down, make a fist and place thumb on your forehead, with the opposite arm reach and pull arm overhead out of retraction crawling with fingertips, when you can’t go any farther turn thumb up and lift your arm for 1 sec., repeat a few times on each arm.