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Few things will set your training back (to say nothing of the constant nagging pain) as badly as an injured shoulder. If the hips are the main driving force of virtually all lower body movements, then the same can be said of the shoulder girdle as far as the upper body is concerned. Finding a best stretching routine for maintaining shoulder health is essential, and the following routine is not only very effective, but it can also be completed in just a few minutes. As always with any stretching routine, be careful. You want to feel a good stretch and slight discomfort, but if you feel pain, STOP.

Wall Slides

Many of us spend a good portion of our day hunched over, sitting at a computer, or sitting in our cars in traffic. This can lead to a hunched-over posture, as well as neck, back, and shoulder pain. This exercise is great for helping to stabilize the scapular retractors and loosen up the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint.

First, sit against a wall with your legs out straight. Make sure your whole back is against the wall. Next, place your arms against the wall behind you, with your elbows bent so your upper arms are parallel to the floor, and your hands are pointing straight up. Now, keeping your arms in contact with the wall, slowly slide your arms up the wall until they’re pointing straight up, then slowly bring them back down to the starting position. You should feel the muscles in your upper back and shoulders working to stabilize your arms and keep them against the wall. You should be aiming for 3 sets of 10 reps.

Shoulder Rolls

This next stretch is fantastic for increasing flexibility and mobility in the shoulders, along with opening up the chest and stretching the arms. This one does require a very simple piece of equipment. A simple broomstick or short wooden dowel should suffice.

First, stand with feet about shoulder-width apart and hold the stick with your hands in a fairly wide grip. Slowly raise your arms up, keeping elbows locked, and keep moving your arms back as far as you can. Ideally, you want the arms to rotate around so the stick is against your lower back, but DON’T RUSH IT. If you can’t go that far back, go as far as you can.

As your shoulder flexibility increases, you’ll be able to rotate the arms all the way back. Eventually, you’ll narrow the grip on the stick to increase the difficulty. Once again, you should be aiming for 3 sets of 10 reps.

Be Consistent

As with most things, patience is key. Take your time, don’t rush it, and most importantly, be consistent with these stretches. At least three times a week is recommended, but before every workout would be even better. The importance of good shoulder health can’t be stressed enough, and with this routine, you will be well on your way!

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Posted by Virginia K. Stockstill

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