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10 Effective Stretches and Exercises to Relieve Shoulder Pain

    Between 18% and 26% of adults struggle with shoulder pain. You can start experiencing shoulder stiffness and pain when you first begin exercising, especially if your goal is to widen your shoulders.

    Stretching your shoulders is crucial to ensure that you are aiding your muscle recovery. 

    Incorporating shoulder stretches into your exercise routine is simple and easy to do.

    Stretching will alleviate the stiffness you can experience after a workout session or a bad night’s sleep.

    Effective Stretches and Exercises to Relieve Shoulder Pain

    We collated this list of effective stretches and exercises to relieve shoulder pain from recommendations from professionals. 

    However, if your shoulder discomfort is persistent and you are in extreme pain, you must see a professional who can assess whether your shoulder needs medical attention. 

    Check out our high-quality mats below if you are in a hurry to see products that can help you with these exercises.

    There are many stretching exercises you can incorporate into your routine to alleviate shoulder pain are: 

    • Neck Release
    • Chest Expansion 
    • Seated Twist 
    • Shoulder Rolls 
    • Cross-Body Arm Swings
    • Doorway Shoulder Stretch 
    • Childs Pose
    • Shoulder Circle 
    • Ragdoll Pose
    • Eagle Arm Stretch

    Shoulder stretches further benefits you as they increase your range of motion and help alleviate stiffness and pain. 

    Also, see Back and Shoulder Workouts and Calisthenics Shoulder Workouts.

     

    1. Neck Release 🙆‍♀️

    Neck Release

    The neck release is an easy stretch for beginners, and you can even do it while sitting at your desk.

    Slowly lower your chin to your chest and feel the stretch throughout your neck.

    From this position, gently roll your head to your left shoulder to stretch the right side of your neck and hold this position for one minute. 

    When done, roll your head to your right shoulder to stretch the left side of your neck and hold this stance for one minute.

    Repeat this three to five times on each side of your neck for effective results.

    Practice good posture and ensure your shoulders are back while doing this stretch.  

    Learn new exercises like this in our post 5 Collarbone Exercises for Defined Beauty Bone.

     

    2. Chest Expansion 😃

    Chest Expansion

    The chest expansion is an incredible stretch to increase mobility and flexibility within your shoulders.

    Stand straight, and hold an exercise band, towel, or resistance band behind your back in both of your hands.

    Gently lift your arms upwards while holding onto the band and opening up your chest.

    Focus on moving your shoulder blades together. Simultaneously, lift your chin towards the ceiling.

    It is essential that your posture is straight and your shoulders are back while doing this stretch. 

    Once your arms are as high as you can stretch them, hold this position for 30 seconds.

    Repeat this three to five times to have maximum results.

    See more in our post At Home Chest and Shoulders Workout.

     

    3. Seated Twist 🧎‍♀️

    Seated Torso Twist

    The seated twist is easy, and you can do it with limited mobility.

    It stretches both your neck and your shoulders.

    Sit straight on the floor or a chair, and ensure your feet align with your knees.

    Next, take your left hand across to the outside of your inner thigh, and hold it while twisting your upper body. 

    Hold this position for 30 seconds. 

    Alternate to the opposite side of your body when you are finished.

    You should feel this stretch throughout your neck and shoulders.

    You must keep your hips facing forward throughout the exercise. 

    You can easily incorporate the seated twist stretch into your day by taking a quick break at your desk and quickly stretching your neck and shoulders to alleviate discomfort.

     

    4. Shoulder Rolls 🏋️‍♂️

    Shoulder Rolls

    Begin shoulder rolls by standing upright, with your feet a hips-width apart.

    Allow your arms to be relaxed next to your body, and ensure a straight posture.

    While breathing in, slowly lift your shoulders to your ears and move your shoulders backward

    Focus on bringing your shoulder blades together throughout this movement.

    As you exhale, drop your shoulders backward to bring them back into the first position.

    Move your elbows backward while you are doing this stretch. 

    Repeat this stretch ten times to ensure you are adequately stretching your shoulders. 

     

    5. Cross-Body Arm Swings 😮

    Cross-body arms swings are an exceptional stretch to increase your shoulder flexibility and overall mobility.

    To begin, stand straight with your feet a hips-width apart.

    As you inhale, bring your arms up and out to your sides. Focus on bringing your shoulder blades together. 

    As you exhale, move your right arm under your left arm in a swinging motion.

    You should do this movement should relatively quickly while still controlled and focused.

    Alternate your arms as you move them under and over one another. 

    Ensure that your arms and posture are straight throughout this movement.

    You can repeat this stretch ten times on each arm. 

     

    6. Doorway Shoulder Stretch 😍

    Door Frame Chest Stretches

    Credits: Prevention

    The doorway shoulder stretch is effective as it helps to strengthen your shoulders and increase mobility.

    First, stand in a door frame and place your forearm and elbow on the frame at a 90-degree angle.

    Step forward with the opposite foot while placing your palm on the doorframe. 

    Engage your core by leaning forward and holding this position for 30 seconds.

    Alternate between your left and right sides, and repeat each side two to three times. 

     

    7. Child’s Pose 🧎‍♂️

    Child pose

    The child’s pose is a favored yoga position and is incredibly effective.

    You will need a towel, yoga mat, or a soft surface.

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    Kneel on your desired area, and touch your big toes together with your knees spread apart. 

    While sitting up straight, inhale and lift your arms over your head.

    Child’s Pose

    Ensure that your arms remain straight while you exhale, and lean forward with your arms outstretched in front of you. 

    Bring your forehead to the ground. Touch the floor with your palms, and bring your elbows to the ground. 

    Hold this position for 30 seconds, and then slowly raise yourself back, upbringing your body onto your heels and your arms back down towards the sides of your body.

    You should be able to feel this stretch in the back of your shoulders

    Repeat this exercise three times, or hold the position for as long as you want.

    The child’s pose will alleviate any tension and help to lower your stress levels

     

    8. Shoulder Circles 👌

    Shoulder circles are an excellent way to warm your shoulder muscles before an exercise, increase flexibility, and help alleviate stiffness and pain.

    You will need a chair or a stable object to hold onto. 

    Start by holding onto a chair with your left hand and standing straight.

    Let your right hand be relaxed next to your body, and begin circling it five times next to your body in each direction.

    After completing this with your right hand, alternate and do the left hand; hold onto the chair with your right hand. 

    Repeat this motion on your left hand five times in each direction.

    Repeat shoulder circles two or three times daily to help alleviate pain and increase your shoulder flexibility

     

    9. Ragdoll Pose 🤓

    Ragdoll Pose

    The ragdoll pose is a yoga pose that will help release tension in your shoulders.

    You first start by placing your feet a hip-width apart and standing straight.

    Slightly bend your knees, and bend forward. 

    Try to touch your toes while holding onto your elbows with the opposite hand.

    Allow your head to hang, with the top of your head facing towards the floor. This position will release tension in your neck and shoulders. 

    Keep in this pose for 60 seconds or as long as you can hold it. 

     

    10. Eagle Arm Stretch 🤸‍♀️

    Eagle Arm Stretch

    The eagle arm stretch is effective in increasing the flexibility within your shoulders.

    This stretch is inspired by the upper body yoga movement – the Eagle Pose.

    Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart, and ensure that your posture is straight. 

    While you are inhaling, slowly lift your arms to the side.

    As you exhale, slowly swing your arms towards your body while bringing your left arm over your right arm.

    Eagle Arm2

    Cradle your left arm in your right elbow, and bring your palms together if you can do this. 

    If you can’t bring your palms together, place the back of your hands against each other.

    While holding this pose, take four deep breaths in and out while focusing on your posture.

    Then, release this position and alternate the stretch with the other side of your body. 

     

    How Often Should You Stretch Your Shoulders 🤔

    How Often Should You Stretch Shoulders

    Stretching your shoulders every day can significantly increase your shoulder mobility and flexibility.

    Stretching is healthy and safe, and you only need a few minutes to increase your shoulder mobility effectively.

    You also do not need to go to the gym to stretch. 

    Incorporate these stretches into your routine at least three times weekly to see effective results.

    Stretching after each time you exercise will help aid your muscle growth and assist your recovery.

    In addition, you can and should stretch whenever you feel pain and tension in your shoulders. 

    Be careful not to push yourself past a point of mild discomfort, as this can cause damage to your muscles. You should feel the stretch, but it should not be severely uncomfortable or painful. 

    Flexible muscles reduce your risk of injury when exercising or playing sports as your body has a greater range of motion, and your muscles can withstand more pressure. Regular stretching is also crucial to developing stronger muscles. 

     

    Benefits of Stretching Your Shoulders 👂

    Woman Stretching Shoulder

    Regularly stretching your shoulders will ultimately help you prevent injury while exercising.

    Stretching helps to increase your shoulders mobility, range of motion and improves your shoulders flexibility. 

    It would be best if you stretched before a training session to warm up your shoulder joint, and in turn, this will allow you to lift heavier weights and train with a higher intensity. 

    In addition, stretching after a workout is beneficial as it will decrease the muscle stiffness you can experience the next day.

    Regular stretching will further help decrease your stress levels and alleviate tension in your neck and shoulders.

    Sore shoulders make it difficult to do basic tasks, and shoulder pain can be caused by bad posture or straining too hard at the gym. 

    It is crucial to practice good posture regularly to prevent sore shoulders.

    Man stretching Shoulder

    Be aware of where you are holding your stress, and relax your shoulders regularly.

    Actively think about releasing the tension from your upper body. Pull your shoulders back if you notice your posture is strained while working. 

    While exercising, your posture is crucial, as incorrect posture can lead to injuries.

    Regularly stretching your shoulders is important to prevent shoulder pain and discomfort. 

    An increased range of motion enables you to do various exercises and assist your sporting abilities.

    A wide range of motion will also help you complete basic day-to-day tasks easier, such as carrying groceries inside. 

     

    How Can You Incorporate Shoulder Stretches Into Your Routine? 🧐

    How Can You Incorporate Shoulder Stretches Into Your Routine

    Stretching your shoulders is easy and does not take a lot of time.

    It would be best if you stretched before you begin exercising and afterward.

    You can also stretch your shoulders during the day whenever you start to feel tension or if you feel a headache.  

    It would be best to stretch for a minimum of five minutes after exercise.

    This will decrease the likelihood of experiencing pain and discomfort in your shoulders the day after exercise. 

    Being consistent with your stretches will benefit you and your exercise program immensely.

    Find a time within your day that works well, and you can designate one of your rest days to spend time gently stretching. 

     

    Conclusion 😉

    shoulder stretching exercises you can do

    We hope you enjoyed this article on effective stretches and exercises to relieve shoulder pain.

    Stretching your shoulders will help you release the tension and aid your muscle recovery. 

    However, you should see a professional if your shoulders are excessively sore and if stretching them does not alleviate the pain. 

    Adults commonly struggle with shoulder tension and pain.

    Regular stretching will help you lower your stress levels and increase the flexibility and mobility of your shoulders.

    You can incorporate several easy stretches into your daily routine to alleviate discomfort within your shoulders. 

    Last update on 2022-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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    James Wright

    James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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