Shoulder loosening

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These exer­cises are purely to help pre­vent your shoulders and neck from feel­ing very tight and stiff. They involve no strength­en­ing or strain on muscles, so they are safe and valu­able to do even if you have shoulder prob­lems that restrict your arm move­ment

What it’s good for “Oiling” your shoulder joints so that they feel less stiff, achy, creaky or tight. It also helps ease tight­ness into your neck. Everyday examples include:

  • help­ing to ease a stiff neck first thing in the morn­ing
  • help­ing to ease shoulder and neck tired­ness at night
  • help­ing to “un-​hunch” your shoulders if you’ve been sit­ting in an arm­chair or sofa for a long time
How often to do it Every day, espe­cially morn­ings
Equipment you’ll need A kit­chen chair

You don’t need to do all three exer­cises every day. Choose one or two ver­sions, or stick with those that seem most effect­ive for you.

Do 8 to 15 repeats of each exer­cise, depend­ing on how stiff your shoulders feel when you start.

♦ Sitting in front of a mir­ror can help you improve the move­ment: you can see how far your shoulders are going up, or whether one is lift­ing higher than the other

Sitting with shoulders up to ears1. Shoulder shrugs

  • Sit tall at the front of a kit­chen chair
  • Lift both shoulders up to your ears, then slide them back down again (don’t just drop them!)
  • Relax moment­ar­ily then repeat.

2. Shoulder rolls

  • Sit tall at the front of a kit­chen chair
  • Draw your shoulders slightly for­wards and up to your ears
  • At the highest point, circle them back­wards and down­wards again. The over­all effect is of mak­ing a back­wards circle
  • Keep the circle big and slow, try­ing always to get your shoulders back behind you as they go round and down again
  • Relax moment­ar­ily then repeat

♦ Get someone else in the house to check that you are rolling back­wards, not for­wards – it does mat­ter ! You should feel your shoulders open­ing and pulling each time, not hunch­ing up.

Sitting with elbows at sides making circles from front to back3. Elbow circles

  • Sit tall at the front of a kit­chen chair
  • Stick your elbows out to your sides, hands in front of your chest
  • Draw back­ward circles with both elbows, keep­ing your hands as still as pos­sible

♦ Imagine you have a blob of paint on your elbow point, and are draw­ing a circle on a sheet of paper at each side
♦ Get someone else in the house to check that you are circ­ling back­wards, not for­wards

It is also very use­ful to do a chest stretch after these exer­cises.

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