Shoulder Flexibility

Shoulder Flexibility

NOTE: Use the top-left playlist button to view all videos in this tutorial.

Shoulder flexibility is a tricky beast to work with. There are several small muscles in the shoulder that can quickly become injured if not properly taken care of, and unlike many other areas of the body, it can be hard to tell if you’ve pushed yourself a little too far.

Mobilization of the shoulder is an important step in injury prevention, not to mention shoulder flexibility will help you ace several of your goal moves that require your arms behind your back, such as Iguana.

Now, keep in mind that these tutorials show one side for brevity; in practice, you should always balance it out and stretch both sides of your body!

Let’s dive right in!

Shoulder Flexibility Basics

Note: See the full tutorial series at the top of this article.

This video covers a few basic stretches to help mobilize your shoulder, providing a good stretch through the rotator cuff, triceps, and biceps. It is important to note here that you don’t want to feel intense soreness or pain here. Light stretching is key when it comes to the shoulder, so workout until you are warm and let it rest!

Overhead Stretch:

  • Starting with your right arm, bring your hand to the center of your back, behind your head.
  • Bring your left arm on top of your right elbow, giving the right an extra little push down the back.
    • Maintain a neutral position with your head and neck here. Don’t let your arms push your head forward!
  • Hold this for a few seconds.

Next Step:

  • Bring your top hand (left) around the bottom and reach up toward your right hand.
  • Touch your fingers and clasp hands if possible. If not, no worries! This involves a lot of shoulder rotation. Keep your hand where you are able and reach towards your hand instead.

 

Overhead Stretch with Forward Fold

It’s important to note here that, when you do your forward fold, you don’t want to simply sink down. To properly forward fold, begin at the hips and rotate your hips forward. Once you get to a point where you can’t rotate forward any more, you can begin rotating your upper body forward. Your forward fold will be much more comfortable and much deeper this way.

  • Rotate your hips forward, then your body to come to a full forward fold.
    • With this stretch specifically, you can bend your knees slightly to release some of the tension on your hamstrings. We’re not doing hamstring stretches yet!
  • Bring your hands behind your back and clasp your fingers together.
  • Bring your hands forward, over your head, as far forward as you can.
    • If you need a little more intensity in this stretch, you can clasp your palms together as well.
  • Remember to look at the wall, not at the floor!
    • To get some neck motion into this stretch, you can shake your head yes and no here.
  • Hold this position for several seconds.
  • To get out of the stretch, bend your knees, bring your hands back to your back, then stand up.

 

Shoulder Rolls

This is a fairly simple movement, but won’t give you any results if done half-heartedly. This should involve your entire shoulder, including the shoulder blade or scapula area of the back!

  • Move your shoulders forward, up, back, and then
    • Smooth out this motion and exaggerate as much as you can.
  • Do this 5-10 times.
  • Reverse the motion: down, back, up, then forward.
    • Again, smooth out this motion and exaggerate as much as possible, doing this 5-10 times.

 

Arm Across Chest

It’s important to note here that you never want to hold your arm at the elbow or wrist joint; always the forearm or above the elbow!

  • Starting with your right arm: keep your shoulders down, away from the ear, and bring your arm across your chest.
  • Bring your other arm around and hold it to your chest, really pressing in towards your body.
  • Remember to actively engage the pinned arm here and point those fingers to help it stretch all the way across your body.

Open Arms

There are two variations of this movement. The first, you are starting with your arms bent at a 90-degree angle at your side. The second, you can move up and down through your body. This is an excellent mobilization exercise that will also help strengthen the small rotator cuff muscles, working toward injury prevention.

  • Start with your arms bent at a 90-degree angle, out to the side of your body.
  • Keep your shoulders down, away from your ears.
  • Rotate your arms in, crossing over each other.
    • Each time you rotate your arms in, switch which hand is on top!
    • Each time you rotate your arms away press against your back with your shoulder blades.
  • Next, you can hold your arms out to the side.
  • Keep your shoulders down, away from your ear.
  • Rotate your arms in, crossing over each other.
    • Each time you rotate your arms in, switch which hand is on top!
    • Each time you rotate your arms away press against your back with your shoulder blades.

You can repeat this motion, moving your arms from your hips to above your head and back to get a full range of motion.

Around the Worlds

Note: See the full tutorial series at the top of this article.

This is an excellent stretch for shoulder mobility and will help you ace moves that require it, such as Iguana.

It’s important to give yourself enough room to stretch, especially if you are using a towel that can’t stretch out such as a resistance band will. You should not feel intense pulling or pain in your pectoral or shoulder. If you do, stop and give yourself more room! Start at a comfortable distance apart and work towards getting it smaller over time!

  • Using a resistance band or a towel in front of your hips, grab it at a comfortable distance apart.
    • This is usually about shoulder-width apart or wider.
  • Bring your arms up and over your head and back behind you. Pause a moment at your bum.
  • Repeat the motion to bring it in front of your hips
  • Repeat 10-20 times.

Shoulder Flexibility on the Pole

If you don’t have a pole at home, you can also do these moves on a wall. These are excellent stretches to do as a part of your cool down sequence, as well! These stretches can feel slight, so be mindful of over-stretching here.

 

Pectoral Stertch

  • Start with your arm at shoulder height out to the side.
    • Let your hand rest against the pole or wall.
  • Turn your body out, away from your arm until you feel a slight stretch in your pectoral (chest) and/or shoulder muscles.
  • Hold this for 5-10 seconds.

 

  • Reset your body and move your hand up at a 45-degree angle above you.
    • Let your hand rest against the pole or wall.
  • Turn your body out, away from your arm until you feel a slight stretch in your pectoral (chest) and/or shoulder muscles.
  • Hold this for 5-10 seconds.

Side Stretches

  • Bring your right arm up high on the pole and bring your left arm low for a side split grip/bracket grip.
    • Remember to point your bottom finger here to better align your wrist.
    • This stretch follows the “Push and Pull” Push with your top hand and pull with your bottom hand.
  • On your toes, step out to the side and cross your ankles.
  • Lean into the pole.
    • This should provide you with a nice side stretch that hits your outer obliques. If you need more stretch, step further to the side and lean into the pole more.

 

Pole Backbend

  • Stand with your back to the pole, letting it rest at the base of your bum.
  • Reach your hands up high, open-palm on each side of the pole.
  • Rotate at the hips and begin rolling up.
    • Imagine pushing your spine through your belly and chest until it reaches your neck, letting your body curve back in on itself and towards the pole.
    • It’s important to get an even stretch here! Dumping everything into one part of your back can result in tightness and potential injury.

What do you think? How has this helped your shoulder flexibility? Comment below!

By |2018-10-15T20:57:12+00:00October 7th, 2018|Flexibility and Conditioning, Video Tutorials|0 Comments

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