adidas / December 2022

How To Increase Shoulder Mobility

Take care of your most mobile joints with these 10 essential shoulder mobility exercises for better flexibility and strength.

Your shoulders play a significant role in about every upper body movement you make. Your shoulders are the most mobile joint in your body—they can move in several planes of motion and perform multiple functions, but they are also prone to instability. Shoulder mobility stretches and exercises are a phenomenal way to strengthen and improve your shoulder mobility. 

Shoulder Mobility Exercises

Performing shoulder mobility exercises can help build strength in your shoulders and alleviate any stiffness or restriction you may feel in this area. Weak shoulder mobility can be caused by poor posture, previous injury, or improper exercise form. You can improve your shoulder mobility by adding dynamic stretching, strength building, and static stretching into your fitness routine. Team up with adidas and implement your top picks of the mobility exercises below into your next workout.

01: Anterior Shoulder Trigger Point

  1. Start in a kneeling position with a foam block in front of you and your trigger point ball in your hand.
  2. Place the trigger point ball on the block and then lie on top of it vertically, so it’s pressing against your front shoulder. Your arms should be extended out in front of you.
  3. Push your body forward and backward so the ball can massage the affected area.
  4. Repeat this movement on your other shoulder.
Suggested Reps: 2–3 sets of 20–30 seconds.

02: Side Lying Sleeper Stretch

  1. Lie on your side with your shoulder stacked underneath you. Feel free to use a pillow or foam roller under your head for support.
  2. Position your right arm out in front of you at a 90-degree angle at the shoulder. Bend your right elbow 90 degrees, so your forearm is perpendicular to the floor.
  3. Use your left hand to push your forearm down toward the floor. Press as far down as you comfortably can.
  4. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
Suggested Reps: 2–3 sets of 3 reps for 2 seconds each.

03: Thread The Needle

  1. Start on all fours in a tabletop position.
  2. Raise your left hand to the ceiling and send your gaze with it.
  3. Follow this hand down as you thread it beneath your right arm, resting the left side of your head on the ground.
  4. Sink into the stretch by keeping your hips high while allowing your chest to come close to the ground. You should feel this stretch through the back of your left shoulder.
  5. Keep some pressure on your supporting hand to avoid crunching your neck.
  6. Hold for as long as you’d like, and then switch sides.
Suggested Reps: 2–3 sets of 3–5 reps per side.

04: Floor Slides

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, your feet flat, and your hands on the floor next to your head.
  2. With your palms facing up and your elbows bent at approximately 90 degrees, draw your shoulder blades down and back. Inhale.
  3. Exhale and slowly slide your forearms along the floor until your arms are extended straight overhead.
  4. Inhale and slowly slide your forearms along the floor to return to the starting position.
  5. Release and repeat.
Suggested Reps: 2–3 sets of 6–8 reps.

05: Blackburns

  1. Lie on your stomach with your legs and arms extended.
  2. Raise your arms up, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  3. Lift your arms higher than your glutes and then bring them backwards.
  4. Be sure you’re rotating your palms to face upwards as they reach your glutes.
  5. Hold and then gently bring your arms forward.
  6. Release and repeat.
Suggested Reps: 2–3 sets of 8–10 reps.

06: Bent Overhead Stretch

  1. Standing about an arm’s length away, hold onto a solid surface such as a wall or chair.
  2. With your knees slightly bent, hinge at the hips to bend forward with your back parallel.
  3. Allow your ears to drop next to your biceps.
  4. Hold for several breaths.
  5. Release and then repeat.
Suggested Reps: 2–3 sets of 20–30 second holds.

07: Shoulder Rolls

  1. Stand tall with your chin slightly tucked. Imagine that a string at the top of your head is pulling you straight up.
  2. Shrug your shoulders up toward your ears, then up and back. Keep your arms relaxed and at your sides. All motion will be in your shoulder blades.
  3. Repeat this movement a few times and then switch to forward rolls.
Suggested Reps: 2–3 sets of 10 reps forward and backward.

08: Bent Over Front Shoulder and Chest Stretch

  1. Interlace your fingers behind your back and send your knuckles towards the sky as you hinge at your hips.
  2. Keep a slight bend at your knees and tuck your chin towards your chest.
  3. Try to draw your palms close together while straightening your arms.
  4. Hold for several breaths.
  5. Bring your arms down and then repeat.
Suggested Reps: 2–3 sets of 5 reps for 2 seconds each.

09: Reverse Fly

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Engage your core and bend forward at the waist. Keep your back straight.
  3. Raise your arms away from your body. Focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  4. Stop when you get to shoulder height. Hold for a beat.
  5. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.
Suggested Reps: 2–3 sets of 8–10 reps.

10: Overhead Shoulder Press

  1. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart with light weights in each hand.
  2. Bend your elbows 90 degrees and press the weights toward the sky.
  3. Slowly lower down with control to the starting position.
  4. Take a beat and repeat this movement.

Low-Impact Modification: Lift one arm at a time.
Suggested Reps: 2–3 sets of 8–10 reps.

Increase Your Shoulder Mobility

Shoulder mobility exercises are a preventative measure to keep your shoulders healthy and strong. Work on increasing your shoulder mobility by performing these exercises two to three times a week. Only add the moves that feel good to your workout routine. Over time, you’ll notice your increased shoulder mobility improving your athletic performance and everyday life—and those are benefits anyone can enjoy.
adidas / December 2022