mobility and flexibility: shoulder edition

Shoulder mobility is crucial not only for athletes but for everyday men like ourselves. We sit at desks, carry heavy bags, and workout our traps and deltoids like it's our job. Your shoulders have some of your greatest range of motion in your body, but without proper care, that motion can decrease quickly. To avoid a worst-case scenario, we've put together a few easy shoulder mobility exercises to boost your flexibility and help you avoid injury. 

Let's start with the crab hold. Doing a crab hold will help with shoulder mobility, specifically with shoulder extension. Not only that, but this is a "two birds with one stone" exercise. You’ll also add benefit to your core and hips.

Crab Hold (front)

Crab Hold (side)

Coaching Cues:

  • Start with hands behind you and feet planted flat.

  • When you extend up, make sure it’s pain-free. If not, adjust the height you go up.

  • Shoot your hips up as you think of “pushing” the floor away from you.

Rep/Set Prescription:

  • 2-3 sets of 5 (10-second holds)

 

SHOULDER MOBILITY + STRENGTH

Any sort of rotation at a joint is extremely beneficial. Rotation is how the joint communicates with the brain and gives it feedback. The current range of motion, strength, control, and overall function. This is the feedback that it feeds the brain. The better the rotation, the better the feedback, the better the movement.

Axial Shoulder Rotation

Coaching Cues:

  • This can be done in a tall kneeling position, half kneeling, sitting, or standing.

  • Put your arm straight out to the side and make a fist.

  • Develop tension from your fist to your shoulder.

  • When you rotate think of your bicep rotating down towards the floor then back up to the ceiling.

Rep/Set Prescription:

  • 2-3 sets of 10 rotations

 

Shoulder CARs

Rotating your shoulder DAILY is almost as important as brushing your teeth daily. Why? Because the range of motion that you lose less on a daily basis, you’re more likely to move less when you get older. How do you tell your shoulder that you still need all the range of motion? Simple. Giant circles!

 Coaching Cues:

  • Start kneeling tall or standing and create tension in your whole body other than your shoulder moving.

  • Make a fist with the shoulder you’re going to move.

  • Keep the elbow straight and start to extend your arm behind you.

  • Now you’ll unwind your shoulder rotating your bicep up towards the ceiling and placing your fist right over your head.

  • Once it’s there you’ll bring it in front of you and then reverse that motion.

Rep/Set Prescription:

  • 2-3 sets 3 rotations per shoulder

 

Tall Kneeling Swimmers

Strength at your end range of motion is hard to gain. Most of us are weaker at the end range unless you train it! With this exercise, you’re training your shoulder at their end range of motion.

Coaching Cues:

  • Start in a tall kneeling position with your abs tight and rib cage down.

  • Place your hands behind your head (like you’re being arrested!)

  • Pinch your shoulder blades together and drive your elbows behind you without flaring your rib cage.

  • Slowly take your hands off your head and straighten your elbows.

  • Now return to your head.

Rep/Set Prescription:

  • 2-3 sets 10 repetitions 


SHOULDER STABILITY

Push-up Toe Taps 

Strengthening and stabilizing the shoulder can be important for current shoulder injuries or reducing the risk of other shoulder injuries happening. Try this drill to add strength and stability to your shoulder(s).

Coaching Cues:

  • Start in a push-up position. If you can’t do this from the floor you can elevate your hands on a bench.

  • Push your butt in the air and touch your right hand to your left foot, or come close to touching it.

  • Repeat and switch hands.

Rep/Set Prescription:

  • 2-3 sets 5 touches per arm

For more recovery, health and movement inspiration, follow Jason on Instagram: @repthereds

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