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Shoulder mobility

Hi Friends of Oompf, it’s Alvan here. Today we will be talking about shoulder mobility.

Shoulder mobility defines the range of movement the shoulder is able to move through before being restricted. Tight shoulders can result from something as simple as sitting hunched over a computer for extended periods of time or it could result from a more deep seated issue. Whichever the case, it is always important to find out the cause of the pain or tightness as soon as possible and deal with it before it escalates.

Shoulder mobility is important as it helps to support the joint and decreases risk of injury. We also need flexibility in the shoulder to maintain a pain-free range of motion.
Certain mobility issues that develop in the shoulder can result from instability and overuse of the joint. The most common types of shoulder mobility issues are impingement, rotator cuff tears or inflammation, and frozen shoulder.

How do I improve my shoulder mobility?

The first step is identifying the issue. Do your shoulders hurt when doing certain movements such as raising your hands overhead? If so, it is advised to stop whatever shoulder exercises you are doing and first consult a physiotherapist to determine the cause of pain. Remember, do not compromise on your safety just to get that workout in.

If you feel general tightness with no pain, your shoulders may just be stiff or weak. For the shoulder joints to stay mobile and healthy, they rely almost entirely on the proper function of the scapula. You may want to then try exercises that will improve scapula strength. These exercises should be done with body weight or light weights/resistance and can be done as a warm up before your main routine.

Dynamic T and I:

Lay face down with arms out to sides like the letter “T.” While drawing the belly in and maintaining a neutral spine, lift arms up to sides while maintaining a “T” position by engaging muscles between shoulder blades. Gently lower arms until they are down by your side, creating the letter “I.” Return to “T” and repeat this movement. Do not arch lower back or lift head up. (Perform 2 sets of 10.)

Bilateral External Rotation:

Stand tall with shoulders down and back drawing the belly in towards the spine. With elbows at 90-degrees and resistance band in hands, gently open arms out to sides against resistance. Don’t let shoulders tilt forward — keep them down and back. This strengthens the rotator cuff muscles. (Repeat 2 sets of 10 repetitions.)

Modified Plank With Protraction:

Begin in a modified plank position resting on forearms. While maintaining a neutral spine (draw the belly up towards spine for transverse abdominus muscle engagement), activate serratus anterior by pushing through forearms, allowing shoulder blades to separate farther apart. Return to starting position. (Perform 10 reps holding 3 seconds each time you push arms away.)

Besides performing these exercises, it is also important to remember to stretch not only after a workout but also when you’ve find yourself being sedentary for too long. Make it a practice to also do some light stretching each morning after getting out of bed.

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