The next set of exercises focus on stretching the shoulders. These exercises are useful if you have decreased range of motion, pain, stiffness and lack of normal use of your shoulders that may arise from overuse, repetitive or awkward activities involving the shoulders. Be sure to check with your health care provider to ensure the stretches are appropriate for you and discontinue if there is increased or persistent symptoms. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds or for 5-10 breaths.
1. Parallel Arm Shoulder Stretch
Technique: Stand in an upright position, placing one arm across your body. Keep your arm parallel to the ground, pulling your elbow towards your opposite shoulder. Throughout the exercise, your arm should be straight and parallel to the ground.
2. Bent Arm Shoulder Stretch
Technique: In an upright position, with your arm across your body, bend your arm at 90 degrees, pulling your elbow towards your opposite shoulder. Keep your upper arm parallel to the ground while doing the exercise.
3. Wrap Around Shoulder Stretch
Technique: Stand upright and wrap your arms around your shoulders as if hugging yourself. Pull your shoulders back. Do not pull too quickly on your shoulders. Ease into the stretch by slowly pulling your shoulders back.
4. Cross Over Shoulder Stretch
Technique: Stand with your knees slightly bent. Cross your arms over each other and grab the back of your knees. Slowly rise upward until you feel tension in your upper back and shoulders. Your shoulders should be level to the ground and try to avoid twisting or turning to one side while doing the stretch.
5. Reaching-Up Shoulder Stretch
Technique: Keep your spine long, with your shoulder blades drawing down your back. Place one hand behind your back and reach up between your shoulder blades. You may notice your rotator muscles in the shoulder become tight while performing the stretch, so do so very slowly and with caution.