6 shoulder stretches to relieve tight muscles

1. Crossover shoulder stretch

  • Stand up with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Maintain a slight bend in your knees and tuck in your pelvis.
  • Stretch your palms out and interlace your fingers.
  • Raise your left arm into the air and bend sideways from the waist, keeping your right hand on your hip.
  • Then raise your opposite arm, place your opposite hand on your hip and repeat.

2. Overhead shoulder stretch

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides.
  • With your palms facing down, lace your fingers together. If you can’t lace your fingers together, hold onto something for support.
  • Raise your arm straight above your head, palms facing up.
  • Hold the position for 20 seconds and repeat.

3. Shrugs

  • Stand in front of a mirror to assess your posture and make sure your shoulders move symmetrically.
  • Keep your arms at your sides and your weight in your hands.
  • Begin by raising your shoulders toward your ears. Throughout the lifting motion, keep your elbows straight.
  • Pause at the top of the movement and then rotate your shoulders backward.
  • As you move your shoulders back, imagine that you are trying to bring your shoulder blades (scapulae) together.
  • When your shoulders have gone all the way back, pause, squeeze your shoulder blades together, and then lower your shoulders to the starting position.

4. Wide child’s pose

  • Start on all fours at the center of a mat with your shoulders stacked over your hands and your hips over your knees, toes untucked.
  • Widen your knees and draw your toes together.
  • Lower your torso to the mat and draw your glutes toward your heels.
  • Extend your arms down the length of the mat, resting your head between your arms.
  • Draw your shoulder blades down and back to create space between your shoulders and ears.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds, breathing in and out through your nose the entire time.

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5. Inward rotation

  • Stand next to a doorknob with one end of an exercise rubber band hooked on it.
  • Hold the free end of the workout rubber band with your elbow at a 90-degree angle to the shoulder with the affected arm.
  • Hold the band against your midline for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 10-15 times.

6. Hip thruster with ball

  • Place a Pilates ball between your knees.
  • Slowly lower your butt to the point where it is nearly touching the ground.
  • Return to the starting position by pressing your chest upward and expanding your shoulders.
  • Complete 3 sets of 5 reps.

What causes frequent shoulder pain?

Causes of frequent shoulder pain may include

  • Overuse: Repetitive shoulder movements can cause stress on the shoulder muscles.
  • Sedentary lifestyle: If you spend most of the day slumped over a desk or computer, the muscles in your shoulder can easily get strained. As a result, shoulder muscles may become tense.
  • Stress: People tend to strain their shoulders unconsciously when they are stressed or anxious, which can contribute to shoulder stiffness.

Shoulders are made up of three bones: collarbone (clavicle), upper arm bone (humerus), and shoulder blade (scapula). These bones interact with tendons and muscles to provide you with a wide range of motion for your arms.

If left untreated, shoulder pain can lead to discomfort and other issues such as headaches and reduced range of motion.


By Karthik Kumar, MBBS for MedicineNet