If you’ve got shoulder pain this short routine may be helpful for you. It’s a pretty low-demand routine, so it won’t work for everyone, but it’s a good start for a lot of people. If any of these exacerbate your pain, then this is NOT for you. These should be pretty gentle exercises that give you a chance to explore your body’s abilities without pushing to accomplish the sets and reps. Take it easy, give it a try, and pay close attention to what you feel happen with your body.
Start with Static Back for 5-10 minutes. This lets your shoulders and upper back relax (extra upper back curvature = less shoulder range of motion) and takes some of the torque out of your hips. Basically, you’re letting your body fully relax into a more symmetrical balanced position.
Lie on your back with your legs up over a chair/couch. Your hips and knees should be bent to 90 degrees. Put your arms out at 45 degrees from your body and with your palms up. Try to relax your upper body and notice if your low back is flat evenly from left to right. Allow your whole back to flatten down to the floor and your shoulders to relax down as well. Use no effort to flatten your back. Just breathe, relax, and let the muscles of your back relax down. Notice if your shoulders feel like they are flat on the floor and symmetrical.
Static Back Reverse Presses
The next exercise is Static Back Reverse Presses. From the neutral position you’re already in, you’re going to do this for 3 sets of 10.
Bring your arms to 90 degrees from your body. Bend your elbows and point your fingers up toward the ceiling (your palms will be facing the direction of the chair/couch). You can now let your hands relax into whatever position is comfortable. Now pull your shoulder blades together and down (towards your butt). Though your elbows will press into the floor when you do this, you do not want to make any extra effort to do so. Focus on bringing the shoulder blades together and down, NOT on pushing your elbows into the floor. Relax and repeat.
Static Back Arm Glides
Put your arms out to the side and bend your elbows to create a 90 degree angle with the back of your hands on the floor. Glide both of your arms and hands along the floor so that your hands meet above your head. Return them to the beginning position and repeat for three sets of 10. If you find this difficult, it indicates you’ve probably got some functional tightness in the pectoral muscles (pec minor and major if you can’t get your hands to touch without your elbows coming up) and possibly also in the lats (your hands and wrists lift off the floor or can’t even get down to the floor).
If you find that doing these three exercises begins to improve the function of your shoulder(s), then you’re headed down the right path. If this feels like it hurts you more, then you’re going to have to take a different tack toward restoring your shoulder mobility.
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