It’s Time to Stretch Your Shoulders

I had trouble sitting down to write this post because as the reports of COVID-19 sweep over me, I’m thinking: who has time to stretch their shoulders ? But then again, maybe this is where we most need to stretch our shoulders a little. Are you hunched over at your desk? I AM.

So let’s take a deep breath and do this together:

  • roll your shoulders back and forth
  • Extend one arm across your body and do alateral shoulder stretch . Repeat on the other side.
  • Raise one elbow towards the sky and gently extend that arm with the other hand. The arm of your bent arm will reach towards your back. Do both sides.

A little better already? Let’s do a little more.

Cow face pose

Cow Face Pose is a yoga name for stretching where one arm is pulled down the back and the other up. (There is a similar thing you do with your legs, but forget about it for now — we’ll focus on the shoulders for now.) If you can’t put your hands together, this seems like a difficult or possibly impossible position.

But there is a trick: use a towel, yoga strap, or whatever you have on hand and just hold onto it. Move your arms towards each other, gradually stretching. I like to just hold a strap or towel in my upper hand and grab it behind my back with my lower hand, but if you want to do it a little more meaningfully,here is a yoga instructor video outlining a more specific protocol.

External rotation

The lateral stretch we did a minute ago pulls your shoulder inward towards your body, but what about stretching in the other direction? You can stretch your arms out as you might when you wake up and yawn, or you can dothis by stretching with a broomstick.

As shown in the video, you will use the stick as a lever to open the shoulder from the outside. I know this as a stretching for weightlifters because it helps keep the barbell on your shoulders , but it’s great no matter who you are. Try it!

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