Shoulder mobility is important in weight lifting as it helps minimize injury risks, maximize your lifting performance, and enhance your posture. Before you begin any workout or exercise routine, making sure your shoulder is limber, and mobile is a good idea.
Improving shoulder mobility allows you to perform various exercises safely and effectively, whereas an immobile shoulder joint would cause injury during certain movements.
Some exercises and stretches can help improve your shoulder mobility. This blog post will discuss 7 crucial exercises and stretches for improving shoulder mobility. Read on to learn more!
How to Test Your Shoulder Mobility?
There are several ways to test your shoulder mobility. You may need a partner to confirm test results or use your smartphone to record the test. The first way is to see how far you can reach overhead. This is called the “Supine Shoulder Flexion Test”. Lie on the ground with your elbows extended, let your arms fall comfortably overhead. You are going to look for three main things:
- That your arms are fully extended. No bends in your elbows.
- That your index fingers can touch the floor.
- That you are symmetrical on both sides.
Another way to test your shoulder mobility is to see how far you can abduct your shoulders. This is called the “Shoulder Abduction Test”. Stand tall, with your elbows locked out, bring your biceps to your head/ears. You are going to look for three main things:
- Observed from back and both right and left sides that there is symmetry.
- Be sure that the elbows are extended fully.
- That the biceps touch ears/head.
- Any visible space between shoulder and ears from the back.
- That the arms cover your ears from both sides.
These are just some of the shoulder tests you can do. Some others involve shoulder internal and external rotation tests. If you can do this without pain, and you are symmetrical on both sides, then this is a sign that you have good shoulder mobility.
Why is Shoulder Mobility Important?
Most people don't think about their shoulder mobility until they experience pain or an injury. However, having good shoulder mobility is important for overall health and well-being. Here are some reasons why:
- Shoulder mobility helps keep muscles and joints healthy. A full range of motion in your shoulders helps keep the muscles and ligaments strong and healthy. It can reduce your risk of injuries, pain, and inflammation.
- Shoulder mobility significantly impacts improving posture. Good posture helps reduce strain on the spine and other joints and can help prevent neck, shoulder, and back pain.
- Shoulder mobility can help improve athletic performance. When your shoulders can move freely, it can help you perform better in sports and other physical activities. Additionally, good shoulder mobility can help reduce the risk of injuries.
- A full range of motion in your shoulders can help release tension and relax the body. It can lead to lower stress levels and overall calmness and well-being.
There are many benefits to having good shoulder mobility. If you want to improve your shoulder mobility, you can do a few simple exercises at home or the gym.
7 Best Exercises to Improve Shoulder Mobility
Let’s look at the seven best exercises and stretches that will improve your shoulder mobility over time.
1. Shoulder Pass-Through
Shoulder pass-through exercise is a simple way to improve your shoulder mobility. The exercise involves passing a pull-up band, pvc pipe or wooden dowel or other long (similar) object overhead and behind your back, while keeping your arms straight. It helps stretch and strengthen the muscles and tendons around your shoulders. Perform 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps each.
As you get stronger, you can decrease the distance at which your hands are separated or increase the number of repetitions.
2. The Lateral Raise & the Overhead Press
The overhead press and "Lateral raise" are two exercises that can help strengthen the rotator cuff muscles and improve shoulder mobility.
To Do the Lateral Raise:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a weight in each hand
- Raise your arms to the sides until they are parallel to the floor
- Hold for a few seconds, then slowly lower the weights back to the starting position
To Do the Overhead Press:
- Start by standing tall with your feet shoulder-width apart
- Hold a weight in each hand and press them overhead
- Keep your core engaged throughout the exercise and your back straight
- Hold for a few seconds, then slowly lower the weights back to the starting position
3. Sleeper Stretch
The Sleeper Stretch is a great way to increase shoulder mobility and flexibility with minimal effort. Try incorporating it into your daily routine to see the best results. To do the Sleeper Stretch:
- Start by lying on your side with your bottom arm extended out in front of you
- Bend your bottom arm elbow to 90 degrees, apply pressure (with your opposite hand) to your arm towards the floor.
- Keep your shoulder pinned and don't allow it to rise off the ground.
- Press your arm down until you feel a good stretch.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds, then return to the starting position
- Repeat 2-3 times
4. Doorway Stretch
Doorway stretches are a great and easy way to improve shoulder mobility and reduce stiffness and pain. You can do doorway stretches anywhere; all you need is a doorway. To do this stretch:
- Stand in a doorway with your arms at 90-degree angles, palms facing forward
- Your elbows should be at shoulder height, and your palms should be facing forward
- Slowly lean forward until you feel a stretch in your chest and shoulders
- Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, then walk back to the starting position
5. Cross-Arm Stretch
One of the best stretches you can do to improve shoulder mobility is a cross-arm stretch. This simple yet effective move helps lengthen the muscles and tissues around the shoulder joint, providing a greater range of motion. To perform the exercise:
- Stand with your arms at your sides and raise one arm across your body
- Using your opposite hand, grab your raised arm just above the elbow and gently pull it closer to your chest
- You should feel a gentle stretch in the muscles and tissues around your shoulder
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds before repeating it on the other side
- For best results, perform it slowly and with control, and try doing it several times a day
6. Standing Arm Swing
Doing this exercise will help to loosen up your shoulder joints and improve your range of motion, reducing your risk of injury and improving your overall fitness. To perform standing arm swing:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides
- Swing your arms back and forth, keeping your elbows straight
- You can also add a little weight to the exercise by holding a dumbbell in each hand.
- As you swing your arms, keep your shoulders relaxed, and your core engaged
7. Reverse Fly
The reverse fly is an excellent exercise to improve shoulder mobility. The movement helps stretch your shoulder and prevent injuries while strengthening your shoulders.
- Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent
- Then, keeping your core engaged, hinge at the hips and raise your arms to the sides
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you raise your arms
- Pause at the top of the motion, then lower them back to the starting position
- You may perform the reverse fly for 3 sets of 10 reps each, two to three times a week.
1. What causes a lack of shoulder mobility?
There are many possible causes of lack of shoulder mobility, including poor posture, tight muscles, and joint restrictions.
One of the most common causes is tight muscles in the neck and shoulders. It can be caused by using the wrong muscles to lift weights, bad posture, or sitting for long periods. Other causes of lack of shoulder mobility include joint restrictions, which can be caused by arthritis or other conditions, and poor flexibility.
2. Why is shoulder mobility important?
Shoulder mobility is important because it allows you to move your arms in a wide range of motion, which is necessary for activities such as reaching, lifting, and throwing. Good shoulder mobility also helps reduce the risk of injury.
If you have poor shoulder mobility, you may find it difficult to do certain activities or exercises. You may also experience pain and discomfort in your shoulders.
3. What does good shoulder mobility mean?
Good shoulder mobility means moving your arms in a wide range of motion without experiencing pain or discomfort. It also means having good flexibility and range of motion in the shoulder joints.
4. How do you fix poor shoulder mobility?
There are many possible ways to fix poor shoulder mobility, including stretches and exercises. However, the best way to improve shoulder mobility is by stretching exercises that loosen up the muscles and tissues around the shoulder.
Another way to improve shoulder mobility is by improving your posture. Bad posture can cause tight muscles and joint restrictions, leading to poor shoulder mobility. Finally, if you have poor flexibility, you may need to improve your range of motion. You can do it by doing static stretching or dynamic stretching exercises.
The Bottom Line
You can significantly improve shoulder mobility by incorporating simple stretches into your routine. The best thing is that you can do these while injured, as they combine passive and active stretches, and they will help restore overall mobility faster. You should feel an improvement in range within two weeks of performing them consistently.