Shoulder pain is a common issue among all people. In fact, millions of folks go to the doctor every year with complaints of it. But, shoulder pain can be even more common among active individuals, especially those who lift weights or participate in high-impact activities like CrossFit.
If you’re struggling with shoulder pain, or just want to keep shoulder injuries at bay, it’s important to make shoulder mobility exercises a regular part of your routine.
Listed below are three mobility exercises that will help you loosen up your shoulder joint before working out and avoid putting too much stress on it while training.
Common Causes of Shoulder Pain
There are a number of reasons why you might be experiencing shoulder pain. Some of the most common injuries that lead to shoulder pain include:
Inflammation of or tears in the rotator cuff tendons, which support and hold the shoulder in place
Inflammation of the bursa, sacs that allow the joint to move smoothly
Tears in the labrum, the cartilage that surrounds the shoulder socket
Shoulder impingement, which occurs when the muscles or tendons get pinched between the bones
Osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease that occurs when the cartilage of the shoulder wears down
Top Three Mobility Exercises to Minimize Shoulder Pain
The following exercises are great rehabilitation tools that you can utilize if you’re dealing with any of the conditions mentioned above. They can also help you keep your shoulders mobile so that you don’t have to deal with injuries later on.
1. Isolated Cat-Cow Stretch
Start by kneeling down on all fours. Then, lower your hips down so you’re sitting on your heels. Your torso and thighs should form a 45-degree angle. Make sure your shoulders are still directly on top of your wrists.
Start with the “cat” portion of the exercise. Inhale, then, as you exhale, tuck your chin in and lift your spine up toward the ceiling. Contract your abdominal muscles to create a nice curve in your spine.
Then, move on to the “cow” portion. Inhale and lift your chin. Press your sternum and abdominals down toward the floor while you contract your back muscles and create an arch in the opposite direction.
2. Floor Slides
This exercise helps you figure out where there is tension in your shoulders so that you know which areas you need to loosen up.
To do floor slides correctly, lie flat on your back and pull your abs in so there’s no space between your lower back and floor. Bend your knees and lift your feet up so your legs from 90-degree angles.
Lift your arms up over your head so they’re in a “Y” position. Keep the arms flat on the floor and bend your elbows, pulling them down toward your sides. Squeeze your lats (the muscles under your arms on the sides of your body) and press your shoulder blades down your back.
3. Prone Chest Stretch
If your chest muscles are tight, they can pull your shoulders forward. This is bad for your posture and increases your risk of injury.
To stretch out your chest, start by lying flat on your stomach in a prone position. Place one hand flat on the floor with your elbow bent and pointing up toward the ceiling.
Lean to the side and press into your hand until you start to feel a stretch in your chest. Hold the stretch for a few seconds, then switch sides.
Additional Shoulder Pain Treatments
By making these exercises a part of your routine, you’ll have an easier time warming up and can reduce your injury risk. If your shoulder is already hurting, there are some other steps you can take to reduce your pain, including the following:
Wear a shoulder brace for extra support during your workouts
Get plenty of sleep to help your muscles and other tissues heal
Alternate between ice and heat application to minimize pain and swelling
Stay active so you can limit stiffness and maintain the mobility that you do have
Whether your shoulders are already stiff or hurting or if they feel good and you want to keep them that way, these tips and exercises will help.