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Improving Your Shoulder Mobility



We've all been there – hunched over desks, scrolling through phones, or pushing through tough workouts – and suddenly, our shoulders feel tighter than a new pair of lifting gloves. In fact, according to Harvard Health, up to 70 percent of people will experience shoulder pain at some point in their lives. We have some game-changing tips to increase your shoulder mobility and keep those joints happy.

We've all been there – hunched over desks, scrolling through phones, or pushing through tough workouts – and suddenly, our shoulders feel tighter than a new pair of lifting gloves. In fact, according to Harvard Health, up to 70 percent of people will experience shoulder pain at some point in their lives. We have some game-changing tips to increase your shoulder mobility and keep those joints happy.


Understanding Shoulder Mobility

First things first, let's talk about shoulder mobility. It's not just about doing the chicken dance at your cousin's wedding (although this is a must-do). Shoulder mobility refers to the range of motion in your shoulder joint. Good mobility means you can move your arms freely in all directions without pain or restriction.

Why is this important? Other than making everyday tasks easier (reaching for that top shelf, lifting your suitcase overhead, picking up your kids or scratching that impossible-to-reach spot on your back), good shoulder mobility is crucial for proper form in exercises, reducing injury risk and improving overall upper body strength. Your bench press will thank you!

The Culprits Behind Tight Shoulders

So how does this happen in the first place? Here are some of the usual suspects causing your shoulders to be tight:


  1. Poor posture (working at a desk all day, for example).

  2. Overuse or repetitive motions

  3. Lack of movement variety

  4. Muscle imbalances

  5. Previous injuries

Recognizing these factors is the first step in your shoulder mobility journey. Next, let's dive in to how to loosen up your tight shoulders.

Shoulder Mobility Exercises

These exercises are simple, effective and can be done almost anywhere. Remember, consistency is key!


  1. Wall Slides: Stand with your back against a wall, arms in a "W" position. Slowly slide your arms up the wall, then back down. It's like you're doing the world's slowest cheerleader move.

  2. Arm Circles: Start small and gradually increase the size of the circles. Forward and backward.

  3. Shoulder Dislocations: Using a resistance band or a broomstick, bring the band/stick from in front of your body to behind, keeping your arms straight.

  4. Thread the Needle: Get on all fours, then "thread" one arm under your body, rotating your upper back. Kind of like you are trying to sneak under a fence, but in slow motion.

  5. Doorway Stretch: Stand in a doorway with your arms on either side, elbows bent at 90 degrees. Lean forward to feel the stretch in your chest and front of your shoulders.

Aim to do these exercises daily, even if it's just for 5 - 10 minutes. Your shoulders will thank you!

The Power of Proper Warm-Up

Never skimp out on your warm-up. A proper warm-up isn't just about preventing injury (though that's a big plus). It's about preparing your body for the awesome workout you're about to crush.

For shoulder mobility, try this quick warm-up routine:

  1. Arm swings (forward and backward)

  2. Shoulder shrugs

  3. Arm circles (small to large)

  4. Shoulder blade squeezes

  5. Light band pull-aparts

Spend about 5 minutes on this before diving into your main workout. Your shoulders will perform better, and you'll reduce your risk of injury.

When Tight Becomes Trouble: Recognizing Shoulder Injuries Alright, let's get serious for a moment. While tight shoulders are common, it's crucial to know when you might be dealing with something more serious. If you experience any of the following, it's time to put on the brakes and seek professional help:

  1. Sharp, severe pain during movement

  2. Persistent pain that doesn't improve with rest

  3. Visible swelling or deformity

  4. Inability to carry objects or use your arm

  5. Pain that keeps you up at night

If you suspect a shoulder injury, never try to push through the pain. Stop the activity or exercise right away and contact your doctor.

What to Do If You Suspect a Shoulder Injury

  1. Stop what you're doing immediately. No "just one more rep."

  2. Apply ice to reduce swelling and pain.

  3. Rest the affected arm and avoid movements that cause pain.

  4. Schedule an appointment with a healthcare professional ASAP.

  5. Follow their advice to the letter.

Seeking help does not mean your fitness journey is over. It just means you're taking a detour to come back stronger.


Shoulder Mobility Power

Improving shoulder mobility is a journey, not a destination. It takes time, consistency and patience. Just know this - the payoff is worth it. Imagine reaching overhead without wincing, throwing a ball without fear, or finally mastering that handstand you've been dreaming about.


Remember, everyone's body is different. What works for your gym buddy might not work for you. Listen to your body, be consistent with your mobility work, and don't be afraid to seek help when you need it. Trainers Spot has certified and experienced trainers who can help you with your journey. Contact us here to get connected with one of our partner trainers.

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