The shoulder is the human body’s most flexible joint. This joint’s anatomical structure allows it to have an incredible amount of freedom or range of motion. The ability to move the shoulder joint in a variety of directions is critical for full functionality in sports. Increased shoulder joint mobility may come at the expense of joint stability. As a result, shoulder problems can affect anyone. Shoulder injuries are common in active young people, particularly children and athletes. Many people develop shoulder pain after the age of 25 as a result of the wear and tear of daily activities. Individuals who reach middle age and frequently use their shoulders in their specific occupation are especially vulnerable to problems. Weekend athletes and do-it-yourself painters are two other groups prone to shoulder problems.
To get ready for the workout:
Place your feet parallel and hip-width apart on a level surface. Allow your body weight to rest on the arches of your feet and stay balanced from front to back and side to side. Elongate through your waist and slightly elevate your chest, as in the seated posture. Allow your shoulders to relax and your arms to rest softly at your sides. Lengthen through the crown of your head and the back of your neck. Then, with ease, soften any stiffness in your body and maintain your alignment.
Take a moment to pay attention to your breathing. Allow the rib cage and abdomen to soften and the breath to flow smoothly and evenly. Maintain a conscious awareness of your breathing throughout the exercises and as you rest between poses.
Return to this simple standing posture after each of the exercises in the following sequence and rest for a moment, paying attention to how you feel in your body. Each time, take note of whether or not the exercises have changed how you feel. Unless otherwise specified, repeat each exercise three times or to your maximum capacity while avoiding strain.
Shrugs of the Shoulders
Maintain a straight and still posture with your head. Slowly raise your left shoulder toward your left ear as you inhale, contracting the muscles along your shoulder and neck. Hold for a brief moment, then abruptly release the shoulder, allowing it to return to its starting position. Repeat with the right shoulder, finishing three times on each side. Finally, raise both shoulders as high as possible and hold for a few seconds. Then exhale and gradually lower your shoulders, softening the shoulder muscles completely. Repeat with the other shoulder twice more.
Rotations with Arms Relaxed
Stand with your arms at your sides, hanging loosely. Exhale while keeping your right shoulder still and slowly rotating your left shoulder forward. Inhale and draw the shoulder up toward your left ear, then exhale and bring the shoulder back as if you were attempting to touch the shoulder blade to the spine. Exhale and return the shoulder to its starting position before drawing it forward again. Continue circling three times, inhaling as you lift and draw your shoulder back and exhaling as you lower and draw your shoulder forward. Then switch directions and repeat three times more.
Continue with right shoulder rotations while keeping the left shoulder relaxed and still. Finally, rotate both shoulders three times in each direction, synchronizing your movements with your breath.
Swings of the arms vertically
Make a light fist with both hands, palms facing your body. Swing your arms forward and back while keeping your shoulders and arms relaxed. Swing the arms lightly at first, just feeling the movement at the shoulder joint.
Then start involving your shoulders as well. Feel your chest expand as you swing your arms back, and your shoulder blades spread apart as you swing your arms forward. Bend your elbows on alternate swings to gain momentum. Continue for at least 30 seconds. This movement is not in sync with the breath.
Swings of the Arms Horizontally
Raise your arms to shoulder height, parallel to the floor, palms facing down. Swing your arms forward and back, crossing one arm over the other, while keeping your arms straight. Maintain soft shoulders by relaxing any resistance in the pectoral muscles at the front of the shoulders as well as the upper back muscles.
Your shoulders are drawn toward one another in front of your chest as your arms swing forward, and your back expands, separating your shoulder blades.
Your chest expands as your arms swing back, drawing your shoulder blades closer together. Repeat in a smooth, continuous motion, alternating which arm is on top each time. Continue for at least 30 seconds. This movement is not in sync with the breath.
Rotations Using Extensive Arms
Raise your arms in front of you, palms facing up, to shoulder level. Maintaining a relaxed posture, draw your shoulders forward and up, first extending your arms forward and then slowly raising them above your shoulders, palms facing back. Continue to rotate your shoulders back and forth, bending your elbows, reaching your arms back, and bringing your fingertips to your shoulders as you do so.
Allow the front elbows to drop until they are about parallel to the floor. Reverse the movement by raising the elbows, straightening the arms, and reaching the shoulders back and up.
Once the arms are straightened above, try changing the hand position once you are comfortable with the movement. Begin with your palms facing each other or facing down. Each hand placement will have a different effect on the shoulder’s ball-and-socket joint. Each variation can be repeated up to three times.
Chest Expansion Device
Maintain a straight posture. Raise and stretch the arms straight out to the sides, palms facing forward, at shoulder level. Exhale and swing your arms forward, stretching your shoulders forward, expanding your back, and bringing your palms together, fingers lightly touching. Bend your elbows and bring your palms to your chest while inhaling.
Extend the chest, palms, and elbows out to the sides, without lowering the arms. Exhale and straighten your arms in front of you again, stretching your shoulders forward and expanding your back. Finally, inhale and swing the arms open, expanding the chest and drawing the shoulders back.
Repeat the entire movement sequence three times or more, coordinating each movement with your breath.
Wings on the Shoulders
With your elbows facing forward, bend your arms and bring your fingertips to the tops of your shoulders. Extend your back and separate your shoulder blades by pressing your elbows together. Begin to make a circle with your elbows as if they were wings.
Draw them up in front, then circle back, lowering the elbows and drawing the shoulder blades together. Finally, return to the starting position by drawing the elbows forward. 3 times in each direction, make a circle.
Circles on the arms
Raise your arms to shoulder height, parallel to the floor, palms facing down. Circle your arms while keeping your shoulders relaxed and your arms straight, beginning with small movements and gradually increasing in size until the circles are as large as possible.
Now reverse the direction, continuing with the large circles and gradually shrinking their size until the arms are motionless again. Then, bring your arms to your sides and relax.
Raise your arms out in front of you until they are parallel to the ground. The palms should be down, fingers and thumbs together. Bend your wrists and raise your fingertips toward the ceiling while keeping your arms and fingers straight. Return your hands to the starting position slowly. Then, flex your wrists and stretch your hands down, fingers pointing toward the floor. Return your hands to the starting position slowly.
Repeat 3 times in each direction. Slowly bend your wrists sideways to the right, pointing your fingers while keeping your palms parallel to the floor, starting from the original starting position. Return your hands to the starting position slowly. Point your fingers to the left while keeping your palms parallel to the floor. Bring the hands back to the starting position slowly. Perform three repetitions on each side.
Circles with your hands
Here are four wrist circling variations to increase flexibility and strength in your wrist joints.
- Begin by raising your arms in front of you. Bend your wrists and stretch your hands up, fingers pointing toward the ceiling. Now, a circle with both hands in a smooth and fluid motion, completing three full circles, first clockwise and then counterclockwise. As you circle, keep your wrists fully extended and avoid lowering your arms to the floor.
- Following that, rotate the left hand counterclockwise while circling the right hand clockwise. After three rotations, switch directions and repeat three times more.
- Now, spread your fingers as wide as possible and circle three times in each direction.
- Finally, repeat in both directions with the fingers bent into tight “claws” and the fingertips tucked and placed just at the base of the fingers themselves.
These simple movements require little effort and are extremely beneficial to the shoulder muscles, improving circulation, developing coordination, and expanding the range of motion.
The Content is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any questions about a medical condition, always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider.