6 Shoulder Exercises to Improve Mobility

Whether you spend time hunched over a desk and feel some tightness in your shoulders or simply want to improve the strength in your shoulders, there are shoulder mobility exercises that could help.

Often a part of the body we don’t necessarily think about strengthening, our shoulders carry out many tasks, so let’s take a look at some of our favourite exercises to improve shoulder mobility and function.

Flexibility or Mobility?

These terms are often used interchangeably, but their meanings are very different.

Flexibility covers a muscle’s ability to lengthen.

Mobility is the ability of a joint to move through its full range of motion.  We’re looking to improve mobility in the shoulder joint to improve its function.

Shoulder Mobility Exercises

Before any exercise, it’s important to warm up the joint.  Standing arm swings are a great way to increase blood flow to the area to get it ready for work.  Stand with your arms by your sides and swing your arms forward as far as they will go.  Keep your shoulders pulled down.  Return your arms to the start position and repeat.  Warm up for around a minute.

  • Pass Throughs

Grab your (dry) mop or a broom.  With your feet hip width apart, hold the broom/mop horizontally in front of you.  It will sit around your hip crease.  Ensure your hands are wider than shoulder width so you have a wider than usual grip.  Slowly raise the broomstick/mop above your head, keeping your arms straight.  If you find your arms are starting to bend, return to the starting position and move your grip wider.  You want to raise the broomstick/mop over your head and return to the start position for a full rep.  Repeat 10 times.

  • T Spine Rotation

Set yourself up on all fours, with the knees under hips and hands under shoulders.  Place one hand on the upper back, or if you can’t quite reach your upper back, bring the hand to your ear.  You will create a sort of chicken wing with your arm.  Bring your bent elbow, down to meet your other hand across your body and then bring your elbow back up and rotate your spine so your elbow is pointing towards the ceiling.  Bring your elbow back down to meet your other hand, and repeat.  Repeat 10 times on each side.

  • Shoulder Taps

You can do these two ways.  The first is standing, the second is a little more challenging.

Standing – bring your hands to touch your shoulders and then raise your hands overhead, as if you’re reaching for the sky.  Return your hands to touch your shoulders.  Repeat 20 times.

Challenge – set yourself up in a plank position, bring one hand to touch your opposite shoulder and then repeat with your other hand.  Keep your hips flat and as still as possible; try not to shift them as you alternate your taps.  This is great for improving core strength too!

  • Rows

For this one you’ll need a resistance band.

Secure the band to a study object above shoulder height.  Knee down on one knee and grab the band with the opposite hand.  Pull the band towards your body but keep your chest up.  Think about holding a penny between your shoulder blades as you pull to ensure you are engaging those muscles.  Repeat 10 times on each side.

Shoulder Mobility Stretches

If you feel you would like to add some shoulder stretches into your routine, then these can be included after a workout.

  • Cross- Arm Stretch

Stand upright and bring one arm across your body, using your other arm, gently pull the arm by the elbow to stretch.  Hold for up to 30 seconds.  Repeat on the other side.

  • Doorway Stretch

Standing in a doorway, place you forearm on the door frame, with your palm touching the frame.  Step through the door frame to feel a stretch across your chest. Hold for up to 30 seconds.  Repeat on the other side.

If you would like to build strength and stability in your shoulder joints, check out our Pilates class with Sam. 

Sam has chosen specific exercises which will help alleviate pain and increasing the range of movement in this area will also help release any tension you may be holding on to.

Each class lasts approximately 30 minutes, and Sam recommends doing each class at least 3-4 times per week before moving on to the next one to maximise your results.

Pilates Conditions – Shoulder Impingement (£4.99 p/m)