Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Shoulder Mobility and Strength

Written by Jonathan

Shoulder mobility is really important. Being able to improve and maintain your shoulder mobility means maintaining and improving your posture, it means you’ll be able to pick things up over your head, like putting dishes away or reaching boxes up on a high shelf and it usually means more pain free movement through your shoulders and neck. We put this post together to help take you from a frozen shoulder (lots of pain and little movement) to maintenance of full range of motion through your shoulder (improving strength, stabilization and maintaining mobility) and every phase in-between. Our recommendation is to start at the phase most relevant to you and work your way up. If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments box or send us a message using the contact us form.
Disclaimer – These are general shoulder exercises that have worked for client’s that we’ve worked with in the past. If you have any concerns you should work with a qualified, Kinesiologist, Physiotherapist, Chiropractor or Strength Coach in person to get the most custom exercises for you.

Frozen Shoulder – Phase 1

Passive Movement

If you have trouble or get pain moving your arm above your shoulder joint or just in general around then passive movement is a good place to start. Some people might call this frozen shoulder. Pain means you don’t move, you don’t move it gets worse and causes more pain. This causes a vicious downward cycle.

Shoulder Manipulation – Phase 2

Self-Massage and Static Stretching

Self-Massage on your shoulders with a lacrosse ball can really help improve the suppleness of your shoulder joint and can help speed up the effectiveness and therefore improve the speed of progress as you do your exercises. Spending some time doing the rolling can go a long way in helping your shoulder.

Actively Improving Your Range of Motion – Phase 3

Active Movement

These dynamic stretches help you further open up the shoulder joint and we recommend you do them directly after the rolling, rolling helps to warm them up and the stretches help to further loosen the muscles. Opening up the shoulder joint with stretches – How do you know which ones of these to do, use trial and error. The ones that are the most tight are the ones you need to do the most.

Strengthening the Shoulder – Phase 4

Scapular Stabilization Exercises

This is the strengthening phase of exercises, as you improve your shoulder mobility it will get easier and easier for you to do these exercises and the exercises will be much more effective than if you try to go directly to this phase when you still have other issues through your shoulders.

Maintaining Strength and Mobility of the Shoulder – Phase 5

Shoulder Strengthening and Mobility Exercises

As you do the mobility exercises for your shoulder and once you have full range of motion back in your shoulders you’re ready for full strengthening exercises, now before you do them it’s important to warm up first, so I recommend briefly doing the Shoulder stabilization exercises we talk about in phase 4 as part of the warm-up. 5 to 10 reps of each, then we are going to duplicate that movement pattern in these lifts.

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