Shoulder stretches are an essential component of any workout routine. They can help to prevent injury, improve mobility, and reduce pain and stiffness in the shoulders. In this article, we will discuss some effective shoulder stretches that you can incorporate into your daily routine to keep your shoulders in shape.
- Shoulder Roll
The shoulder roll is a simple yet effective stretch that can help to loosen up the shoulders and improve range of motion. To perform this stretch, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides. Slowly roll your shoulders forward, up, and back in a circular motion, making sure to keep your arms relaxed. Repeat this motion for several reps before switching directions.
- Chest Stretch
The chest stretch is an excellent stretch for targeting the muscles in the chest and shoulders. To perform this stretch, stand facing a wall or doorway, with your arms outstretched to either side. Place your hands on the wall or doorway, and then gently lean forward, stretching your chest and shoulders. Hold for a few seconds before releasing and repeating.
- Cross-Arm Stretch
The cross-arm stretch is a simple stretch that can help to improve flexibility in the shoulders. To perform this stretch, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and then cross your right arm over your left arm at chest level. Clasp your hands together and then gently pull your arms away from your chest, feeling the stretch in your shoulders. Hold for a few seconds before releasing and repeating on the other side.
- Shoulder Blade Squeeze
The shoulder blade squeeze is an excellent stretch for targeting the muscles in the upper back and shoulders. To perform this stretch, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and then clasp your hands together behind your back. Gently lift your arms up, feeling the stretch in your shoulders and upper back. Hold for a few seconds before releasing and repeating.
- Arm Circles
Arm circles are a great way to warm up the shoulders before a workout or to stretch them out after a long day at work. To perform this stretch, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms outstretched to either side. Slowly make small circles with your arms, gradually increasing the size of the circles. Repeat this motion for several reps before switching directions.
In conclusion, incorporating these simple yet effective shoulder will help to keep the shoulder in good shape and without getting injured.
4 stretches to keep your shoulders in shape
Keeping your shoulder muscles flexible will help prevent injury.
The shoulder is the body’s most complicated joint. It’s where the ends of the collarbone, upper arm bone, and shoulder blade meet. And it’s prone to arthritis (a wearing away of the cartilage between the bones), as well as tears or tendinitis (inflammation) in the rotator cuff — the group of tendons that helps you raise and rotate your arm. Shoulder pain can keep you from being able to raise your arms to get dressed, or reach up to a cupboard or out to a door.
But an easy way to stave off shoulder problems is to regularly stretch the muscles that support the joints. “The muscles need to be long and flexible to stay healthy. You’re more vulnerable to injury when your shoulder muscles are tight and restricted,” explains Clare Safran-Norton, clinical supervisor of rehabilitation services at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
How stretching helps
Muscles are a little like cotton fabrics. They may shrink up slightly, but if you pull on the fibers, you can stretch out the fabric again.
Stretching your muscles fixes the shortening that occurs with disuse and extends muscles to their full length. The more you stretch the muscles, the longer and more flexible they’ll become. That will help increase your range of motion, ward off pain, reduce the risk for injury, and improve your posture.
Types of stretches
The best way to stretch muscles is with long, static (motionless) stretches that last 30 seconds to two minutes. But don’t jump right to this step.
Warm up the muscles first to get blood and oxygen to them and make them more pliable. You can do this with exercise (take a brisk walk, pumping your arms, or go for a swim). Or you can try a few minutes of dynamic stretching — repeatedly moving a joint through its available range of motion, without holding a position. Just roll your shoulders backward and forward a few times or make windmill motions with your arms (but not too vigorously).
Safran-Norton says that stretches should be gentle and pain-free. “If there’s pain, you may be injuring your muscles,” she notes.
She also warns never to bounce your stretched muscles, which can cause injury and keep you from a productive stretch. “Bouncing sets off a protective mechanism called the stretch reflex. The muscle will recoil so you won’t overstretch it. But as a result, you’ll never get to a true stretch,” she says. “A true stretch is sustained, with no bouncing.”
Try the shoulder stretches we’ve laid out here. All you need is a doorway or wall.
Safran-Norton recommends stretching your shoulders three to seven times per week. “If you’re really stiff, stretch daily. If you’re already flexible, it’s fine to stretch every other day,” she says. But avoid stretching for too long or too vigorously: back off quickly if you start to feel pain.