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4 Simple Shoulder Mobility Movements

Now that you’ve improved your mobility with our last four posts (right? or get caught up here, here, here, and here), it’s time to move to the shoulders.  Restrictions in the shoulder may cause a host of issues, from simple inability to get into a desired position up to serious injury.

Restrictions in the shoulder may cause a host of issues, from simple inability to get into a desired position up to serious injury.

Here’s a simple routine you can do to restore shoulder mobility.  Some equipment is required.  Total time is 12-15:00/session:

1. Rotator Floss: lay on your back with a lacrosse or similar ball (about 1 1/2” diameter, firm) underneath the muscles that forms the back of your armpit. Move on the ball until you find something particularly tender.  Hold your body still, bring your forearm up to a 90 degree angle, then move your hand as far towards the floor as you can, then back up again, as far back as it will go.  Repeat until you feel the muscle loosen.  Move the ball to another spot, and repeat the process.  Repeat on the other side.   2:00+ per side.


2. Dolphin at the wall: “Dolphin” is a yoga pose normally done with the elbows on the floor and the hips high.  You can try that, but often it’s so difficult to hold that it’s difficult to get a mobility benefit.  To do it on the wall, interlace your fingers and place your elbows on the wall a little higher than your shoulders.  Lean into your elbows, look at the floor, and sink between your shoulder blades.  Hold for a minimum of 5 full in-and-out breathing cycles.


Related: How Can ROM Make You Fitter?

3. Arms Across: Pull both shoulders down and back.  Your arms should rotate outward (thumb moves away from your side) with that movement at the shoulder.  Then, place one hand on the opposite elbow, then pull the arm across your chest, placing your stretch-side hand on the opposite shoulder.  Ensure that your shoulders stay down.  Hold for a minimum of 5 full in-and-out breathing cycles.  Repeat on the other side.


4. Anterior Smash: Take your ball from the rotator floss, or a slightly larger one if you have it, and lay face-down on the floor.  Take one arm, rotate it inward from the shoulder (thumb comes toward your side), then bend your elbow so your arm is across your low back.  Place the ball under your collarbone and move around to find tender areas.  You can also do this standing, pushing your ball into the wall near a door, so your body can move over the ball.  2:00+ per side.


Perform all or part of this routine as often as you can, and improvement will come quickly!  Basically, if it crosses your mind, pause and knock out a mobility exercise.  Even if you can only get it in ‘here and there’, that’s better than nothing, and will help you make progress, or at least feel a bit better before continuing with your day.

John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer