Shoulder exercises are not just for rehabilitation from an injury. In a society were we spend much of our day either hunched over a computer or phone, taking some time to improve shoulder strength and mobility will help prevent more serious injuries in the future.
While performing any of the following exercises, if you experience any pain stop immediately.
Banded Prisoner Stretch
This is a stretch that integrates some scapular retraction mobilization, which improves posture by helping to open the chest and reset the shoulders..
Attach a band to a stable overhead bar or beam that can support some weight.
Loop the band around the shoulder being stretched. This will help open up your shoulders and allow for a deeper stretch.
Place your arms behind your back. The higher you place your arms, the more challenging the stretch.
Step forward with the opposite leg so that you have one leg in front of the other.
Make sure there is enough tension on the band to help gently pull your shoulder back.
Hold for 45-60 secs or until you feel a release, then repeat on other side.
Doorway Lat Stretch
Here is an easy stretch to do at home. Since it targets the shoulder and lat muscles, it is a great option to help relieve shoulder pain and tightness in your upper back from a long day in front of a computer.
Hold onto a door frame with your right hand.
Shift your hips back and angle them towards the right (the side being stretched).
Keep a straight back to create a seamless line from the shoulders to hips.
Gradually begin to bow inwards towards the left (away from the side being stretched).
You should feel a gentle pull down from your right shoulder into your side.
Make sure to pull your shoulder down and away from your neck.
Hold for 45-60 secs or until you feel a release, then repeat on the other side.
Prone Swimmers Hover
This exercise focuses on building postural strength, shoulder range of motion and helps to improve overall shoulder health. To get the most out of this exercise, it is best to perform a few shoulder mobility exercises first.
Start by lying flat on your stomach with your arms resting on your lower back. You can place a foam block or folded towel under your forehead for comfort.
Without arching your low back, roll your shoulders back towards the ceiling and down towards your feet as you lift your arms.
Slowly extend your arms first into an A shape, then into a T shape as you rotate your palms towards the ground and finally into a V shape with heads behind the head.
Finish by gently resting your hands on the back of your head.
Repeat the same movement pattern in reverse order back to the starting position with your arms behind your back.
As always, this should be a slow and controlled movement. Don’t be fooled, this exercise is not easy! Start with 2-4 sets of 2- 5 reps.