Unlock tight and painful shoulders with this guided routine – the best shoulder mobility exercises for strong and healthy shoulders. Protect your joints, increase range of motion, and reduce tightness and stiffness with this daily mobility routine. Each shoulder exercise includes beginner and advanced progressions.
Tight, rounded shoulders are extremely common – especially if you sit at a desk all day.
Good shoulder mobility can make your everyday movements easier, such as reaching for the top shelf or zipping a dress. Improving shoulder mobility can also directly improve your performance in strength training and HIIT workouts.
For example, limited shoulder mobility makes it difficult to pull the shoulders back and down during barbell back squats. This can increase pressure on the lower back, leading to back pain.
Taking the shoulder joint through its full range of motion with intention and control is an effective way to protect and maintain healthy shoulder joints and support pain-free movement.
Add these shoulder mobility exercises to your weekly routine to increase range of motion, improve posture, and boost athletic performance.
Muscle imbalances, poor posture, previous injuries and a sedentary lifestyle can all contribute to more limited shoulder mobility. Additionally, medical issues such as a shoulder impingement, rotator cuff tears, or frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) can cause shoulder pain and lack of mobility.
Most people benefit from adding mobility routines to their workout schedules between two and three times a week. If your shoulders are particularly tight and painful, you can add shoulder mobility drills to your daily routine. I also suggest adding arm and shoulder strength training to your weekly routine 1-2 times a week.
“Bulletproof shoulders” is a term used to describe shoulders that are strong, stable, and resistant to injuries. Having bulletproof shoulders means having a high level of shoulder mobility, strength, and stability. This reduces the risk of rotator cuff and shoulder-related injuries, such as strains, sprains, and dislocations. The best way to prevent injury and “bulletproof” the shoulders is a combination of strengthening shoulder exercises and shoulder mobility exercises.
Improve mobility, reduce risk of injury, and get better range of motion during workouts with these daily shoulder mobility exercises.
I suggest incorporating mobility workouts like this one to your home workout plan 1-2 times per week to protect and maintain healthy joints and muscles.
Optional light dumbbell, broomstick or PVC stick or towel.
Follow along with these guided Shoulder Mobility Exercises on YouTube, led by certified personal trainer, Lindsey Bomgren.
Your Workout Looks Like This:
Note: I’ll cue this in the video, but it’s important to actively keep your body from tensing up as you hold each pose. Focus on breathing into each mobility exercise, and think about “releasing” the tension in each muscle group to avoid clenching up.
Targets: Deltoids (all three heads of the shoulder muscles) and rotator cuff muscles, lower back and upper back.
Targets: Upper back and middle back (thoracic spine), shoulders and pectoral muscles.
This shoulder mobility exercise opens tight shoulders, upper back and chest muscles, making it a perfect stretch for anyone who spends their day hunched over a computer.
Modification: Increase the intensity by finding a more narrow grip on your broom, towel or yoga strap. Decrease the intensity by reducing range of motion, stopping the movement when your arms are straight overhead.
Targets: Serratus anterior muscle, rotator cuff muscles, pectoralis major, and pectoralis minor.
Scapular protractions pull the shoulder blades laterally away from each other, increasing shoulder mobility and improving scapular stability.
Modification: Perform this exercise from a quadruped position if holding a plank is too intense.
Targets: Rotator cuff, trapezius (traps), and latissimus dorsi (lats).
Modification: Perform this move from a standing position if lying on your back is uncomfortable.
Targets: Deltoids (all three heads of the shoulder muscles), rotator cuff muscles, lower back and upper back.
If you sit at a desk all day and feel your shoulders rounding, this stretch is for you. A complete shoulder mobility exercise to increase range of motion and stability in the shoulder joint.
Modification: If lying on your belly isn’t comfortable, perform this exercise from a standing position, feet shoulder-width apart.
Targets: Shoulders (deltoids) and rotator cuff muscles.
Shoulder stabilization exercises like this one are great for improving shoulder health and strengthening the muscles that stabilize the shoulder joint, specifically the rotator cuff muscles.
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