Shoulder mobility is essential for daily living and performing common tasks, such as reaching for items on a shelf or looking over your shoulder while driving.
Unfortunately, many people have poor shoulder mobility due to tight muscles and lack of flexibility. This can lead to pain and other problems, such as impingement syndrome – a condition in which the shoulder’s rotator cuff muscles and tendons become trapped or pinched.
There are several things you can do to improve your shoulder mobility. Here are five tips:
1. Perform Gentle Warm-Up Exercises.
Before participating in any physical activity – whether it’s going for a run or playing a sport – it’s important to warm up your muscles. This helps improve blood flow and prevent injury. For shoulder mobility, perform exercises such as arm circles and shoulder shrugs.
Over time, you can increase the intensity of your warm-up exercises. For example, you might add light dumbbells to arm circles or hold a stretch for longer periods of time.
2. Use a Foam Roller
A foam roller is a great tool for self-massage and improving flexibility. It can help loosen tight muscles and break up knots. When used on the shoulders, a foam roller can help release tension in the trapezius – a large muscle that extends from the base of the skull to the middle of the back.
To use a foam roller on your shoulders, place it perpendicular to your body at the base of your neck. Gently roll up and down, making sure to move slowly. You can also roll out the sides of your shoulders.
3. See a Specialist
If you have chronic pain or limited range of motion, it’s a good idea to see a physical therapist, chiropractor, or another healthcare provider who specializes in treating these conditions. They can perform manual therapies – such as joint mobilizations and soft tissue mobilization – to help improve your shoulder mobility.
4. Use Resistance Bands
Band work is great for both warming up and cooling down the shoulders. It’s also an effective way to improve range of motion.
For example, you can use a band to perform external rotations – a movement that helps stretch the muscles and tendons around the shoulder joint. To do this exercise, attach a band to a sturdy object, such as a door handle. Then, hold the band with your arm at a 90-degree angle. Then, slowly rotate your arm out to the side, maintaining the position of your elbow.
5. Stretch Daily
Stretching is an important part of keeping your muscles and tendons healthy. It helps improve range of motion and flexibility. For the shoulders, some stretches that you might want to try include the following:
Chest stretch: Place your hands behind your back and interlace your fingers. Gently pull your hands away from your body until you feel a stretch in your chest.
Shoulder stretch: Reach one arm across your body and place your hand on the opposite shoulder. Use your other hand to pull your arm closer to your body until you feel a stretch.
Upper back stretch: Clasp your hands together in front of you. Raise your arms overhead and arch your back until you feel a stretch in your upper back and shoulders.
Doing these stretches on a daily basis – or at least several times per week – can help improve your shoulder mobility.
You’re Well On Your Way to Mobile Shoulders
By following these tips, you can help improve your shoulder mobility and reduce your risk of pain or injury. Remember to warm up before participating in any physical activity and to stretch daily for best results.