11 Shoulder Mobility Stretches To Try If You Live That Desk Life

For pain-free joints.

Shoulder mobility stretches to get rid of shoulder pain and stiffness.


Shoulder pain and reduced range of motion are both signs you should do shoulder mobility stretches ASAP, says movement specialist Michael Jones, MS. This will help build supportive muscle around the joint and improve flexibility so it’s easier to go about your day.


Seated Shoulder Circles

Jones recommends this move, which will act like oil for your joints.

- Sit in a chair.

- Shrug shoulders up, roll them forward and down.

- Pull shoulders back up, roll them back to open chest.

- Keep going for 2 sets of 10.


Downward Dog

Hillary O’Connor, PT, DPT likes this yoga pose to release tension in the shoulders.

- Start in downward dog.

- Move feet closer to hands.

- Keep a slight bend in knees.

- Inhale.

- Use hands to push torso away from the ground toward knees.

- Hold for 4 breaths.

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Shoulder CARs

Movement specialist Sarah Randall suggests CARs.

- Step feet hip-width apart, arms down.

- Externally rotate one arm, palm faces away.

- Bring arm across body, lift high.

- Internally rotate shoulder so thumb is towards face.

- Lower arm.

- Do 2 to 3 per side.



Randall also likes this move.

- Lie with forehead down on floor, hands behind head.

- Squeeze shoulder blades together.

- Reach arms forward.

- Rotate thumbs down.

- Circle arms back behind you.

- Rest hands on back.

- Circle arms back to start.

- Do two 60-second sets.


Flexion Pattern

Randall suggests this stretch for shoulder mobility.

- Lie forehead down, arms out like goal posts.

- Make fists, keep elbows down.

- Lift wrists off floor as high as possible.

- Lift elbows.

- Reach forward.

- Set elbows down, then wrists.

- 2 sets, 15 reps.


Assisted Shoulder Circles

From Ronald Peacock, Jr., PT, DPT:

- Hold resistance band at your hips, thumbs face each other.

- Keep arms straight.

- Lift arms overhead.

- Slowly lower arms behind you until hands are at hips.

- Rotate back to start position.

- Repeat 15 to 20 times.


Lat Movement

Stretching the lats can improve shoulder mobility, says CrossFit trainer and physical therapist Melissa Reed.

- Grab overhead band with left hand.

- Bend knees, twist right hand to left knee.

- Feel stretch on left side.

- Hold for 30 seconds.

- Repeat on both sides.


Parallel Arm Stretch

StretchLab’s Austin Martinez, CSCS recommends this move for tight pecs and deltoids.

- Extend arm behind you, parallel to ground.

- Hold onto a wall or pole.

- Turn your shoulders and body away from your outstretched arm.

- Hold 20 to 30 seconds per side.


Reverse Shoulder Stretch

Martinez says this static stretch loosens up the anterior deltoids to improve mobility.

- Stand upright.

- Clasp your hands together behind your back.

- Slowly lift your hands upward.

- Hold 20 to 30 seconds per side.


Bent Arm Shoulder Stretch

Martinez also recommends this move to stretch the traps, lats, deltoids, and rhomboids.

- Place one arm across body.

- Bend arm at 90 degrees with your hand pointing up.

- Use your other arm to pull your elbow towards your opposite shoulder.

- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.


Elbow Out Rotator Stretch

From Martinez:

- Stand with your hand behind the middle of back and elbow pointing out.

- Reach over with other hand.

- Gently pull elbow forward.

- Hold 20 to 30 seconds per side.

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