All day we type, text and hunch over—at a price to our shoulders. If yours are feeling achy there are plenty of stretches that you can do to ease the pain, but the three moves below will help you improve overall shoulder mobility to not only loosen your shoulders, but correct imbalances caused by bad posture. All you need is your body, a kettlebell and a resistance band.
The key to remedying shoulder discomfort is putting the time into your treatment. These exercises will not improve the aches you feel unless you do them regularly. From top to finish, this routine will take you just four minutes. Try to do it in the morning and at night on a daily basis to find lasting relief.
Photograph by Angela turner
Exercise 1: Egyptians
Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips. Reach your arms out by your sides to shoulder height, palms facing down. Lean your torso to one side and turn that palm up (external shoulder rotation) at the same time as you also turn the back palm up (internal shoulder rotation). Return to center, then switch sides. The side-to-side action will pivot your shoulders inward and outward. Repeat for one minute at a pace of one repetition per two seconds.
Exercise 2: Halos
The kettlebell is an ideal tool for this move because the majority of its mass is outside your grip, which gives your shoulders greater range of motion for the movement. If you don’t have a kettlebell, you can also do this move with a dumbbell or just by clenching your hands together. To start, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and hold a medium-weight kettlebell at the center of your chest by the side handles with the bottom of the bell facing up. Clench your glutes tight and brace through your abs to protect your back as you move through this exercise. Now slowly loop the bell behind your head and neck, then around the other side. Loop the next Halo in the other direction. Repeat for two minutes at a pace of one repetition per 10 seconds.
Photograph by Angela Turner
Exercise 3: Band Pull-Aparts
This exercise is beneficial because it helps train the shoulders to move in the opposite direction than they move when you slouch. Bonus: Band Pull-Aparts sculpt your upper back! To start, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Tightly grip the ends of a medium resistance band (one in each hand) and hold them straight ahead and in line with each of your shoulders—even in this starting position, you should feel some tension between your hands. Draw your arms out to the sides and stretch the band with elbows slightly bent. Hold momentarily, then resist the pull and take three times as long to slowly bring the band back to starting position. Take one second on the pull out, and three seconds on the return. Repeat for one minute, or about 15 repetitions.
First published: 2 Jan 2019