The human shoulder is one of the more bio-mechanically complex joints since it has the greatest range of motion in the body. Though there are numerous muscles, tendons, nerves, ligaments and blood vessels surrounding the shoulder, which provide flexibility and support, it also makes the area susceptible to injury. Practicing shoulder stretches on a daily basis, particularly before and after strenuous exercise involving the upper body, may help eliminate the risk of muscle strain and other injuries.
Shoulder stretches are also extremely effective for alleviating pain. Some easy shoulder stretches for pain include arm circles, arm crossovers, arm extensions, and the hanging shoulder stretch. Before starting any new exercise routine always consult with your doctor. This is especially if you suffer from severe shoulder pain as sometimes working out this area can cause more injury and aggravate pain.
Various Kinds of Shoulder Stretches
1. Standing Shoulder Stretch
Stand or sit straight and bring your right arm across your chest. Hold this arm at the elbow with your left arm and relax your shoulders, keep your elbow straight but not locked, and hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat on the left side. Do not bounce and overstretch with this pose.
2. Rotation Shoulder Stretches
Lie on your back with your legs straight out in front and a pillow under your head. Place your arms at right angles to your sides and bend them at the elbow so that they now point at the ceiling. Roll your arms backwards from the elbow pointing at your head till your feel the stretch on your shoulders. Now raise your arms forward all while still bent at the elbow to point at your hips. Alternate in this way and keep your shoulder flat on the floor through the entire exercise.
3. Anterior Shoulder Stretch
Stand up straight and clasp your hands behind your lower back. Lift your arms away from your body, keeping palms together and elbows straight. If you find this difficult to do, you can use a small rolled up towel or band as well. Keeping your back straight, lift your arms as far back as you feel comfortable.
4. Internal Rotation Stretch
Lie on your back with your arm at a ninety-degree angle at your elbow. Get a partner to rotate your shoulder and push your fist gently down towards the floor. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
5. External Rotation Stretch
Lie on your back with your arm at a ninety-degree angle at your elbow. Get a partner to rotate your shoulder and push your fist gently back towards the floor. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Shoulder Stretches Precaution
As with any other types of stretches, shoulder stretch precautions are the same –
- Warming up adequately before stretching to make your muscles loose and pliable and get the maximum benefits from the stretches
- Stretching should be slow
- Stretching only to the point of mild discomfort
- Do not hold your breath while stretching as this can cause more tension in the muscles
- Deep breathing through your nose promotes circulation and reduces the build of lactic acid in the muscles
- In case you have suffered from any sort of injury or are experiencing shoulder pain, please consult with a doctor before starting any stretching routine.