Shoulders are the most mobile joints in our body.  Sports such as swimming and playing tennis and activities such as driving, or reaching for something are all made possible by our shoulder’s impressive range of motion. Technically described as a ball and socket joint, shoulders can move freely in all three planes of motion: Frontal, Sagittal and Transverse.

Although a positive thing for the variety of activity it allows, all that mobility also makes our shoulders prone to develop issues such as dislocation, tears, fractures, impingement and bursitis.  These issues can be further increased by bad postural habits (i.e. hunching over a keyboard or mobile phone), too much sitting around, and repetitive movement patterns.

The above movements/habits can also lead to imbalances and weakness which will, in turn, lead to a reduction in the shoulders’ range of motion. This will occur when a shoulder becomes rounded with a Kyphotic posture through muscles becoming tight (Pectorals) or becoming weak and elongated (Rotator Cuff).

The following routine is a combination of dynamic stretches to improve shoulder strength and flexibility.  It will help to ‘wake up’ underactive muscles and to help lengthen muscles that have become tight through poor posture or habits.

Do one set of 10 slow and controlled repetitions for every exercise. Make sure to work through a full range of motion and hold the fully stretched position for a couple of seconds. Do not over stretch as that could damage the soft tissue surrounding the joint.

1. Forward elevation

Stand with both arms straight by your side with palms facing your body. Reach one arm forward as far as possible without arching your spine (keep your abs and core muscles braced). Without rotating your torso, counterbalance the movement by reaching the other arm back as far as possible.


2. External rotation in neutral

Stand with your back and shoulders against a wall. Keeping your upper arm in contact with your torso and elbows bent to 90 degrees in front of you, pull your arms out to the side by squeezing your shoulder blades together and trying to get your wrists to touch the wall.  Keep elbows at 90 degrees. 


3. Snow Angel

Lie on your back with arms straight and palms facing the ceiling. Flatten your lower spine by tilting your pelvis backwards. Slide your arms on the floor from down by your side to above your head. You should only move your arms as far as you can without arching your lower back.


4. Shell Stretch

Starting on your hands and knees, slide your hands forward so your chest moves towards the floor – your arms should remain straight.  Keep your hips over your knees and breathe out as you stretch forward. Hold it for 10 seconds in this position before going back to the start position.


5. Side lying chest opener

Lie on your side with your hips at roughly 90 degrees from your body.  Have your arms directly out in front of you with your palms facing in together.  Keeping your bottom arm on the floor, lift your top arm over your body and try to put it on the floor on the other side - allow your head and torso to follow the movement of your arm.