Shoulder pain is fairly common in adults. In fact, it is estimated that 18-26% of adults experience shoulder pain or tightness. If you are one of the adults who suffer from shoulder pain you know how frustrating it can be. You may not be able to work out in the gym or even perform simple daily tasks. It’s critical to practice the best exercises for shoulder pain relief.
The good thing is that you can be proactive in caring for your current shoulder pain and help maintain overall shoulder health for the long haul. The best exercises for shoulder pain and overall shoulder health will lengthen and strengthen your shoulder muscles as well as improve flexibility in the joint. Consider these five exercises to ease your shoulder pain and improve your active lifestyle.
Posterior Capsule Stretch
- While standing, bring your arm directly across your body.
- Place the hand of the unaffected side on the wrist of the affected arm.
- Slowly push the arm into your chest and across your body while making sure the arm stays straight. Hold for 30 seconds and at an intensity that is mildly uncomfortable.
- After 30 seconds and upon release, gently return the movement back to the starting position.
The posterior capsule of the shoulder, or the rotator cuff, is made up of the Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, and the Subscapularis muscles. The rotator cuff helps hold the head of the humerus in the socket of the scapula and aids in abducting, adducting, and medially rotating the arm.
Straight Arm Lat Pulldown
- Stand at an adjustable cable machine.
- Grab the lat pulldown bar with an overhand grip and about shoulder width apart.
- Keep knees slightly bent and shoulder-width apart.
- Exhale and pull the bar down to your thighs.
- Keep arms straight and elbows locked.
- Pause, and return to starting position while inhaling.
The Straight Arm Lat Pulldown engages the Latissimus Dorsi, Posterior Deltoid, Teres Major, and Triceps. The Latissimus Dorsi is the largest muscle in the upper body and extends from the lower back to the middle of your spine and then out to the shoulder, where it attaches. This exercise is beneficial for increasing stability in the shoulder and back as well as control during deadlifts or lifting objects from the floor.
- Find an open doorway or corner of a room.
- Bend your right elbow 90 degrees so your upper arm is parallel to the floor. Hold at shoulder height.
- Place your right forearm against the corner of the wall with your left side open to the room.
- Gently press into the right forearm as you lean your left side into the open space of the room or doorway. You will feel the stretch in your right pectoral muscle.
- Hold for 15 to 20 seconds.
- Repeat on the left side.
The purpose of the Pec Stretch is to lengthen the chest muscles (Pectoralis Major and Pectoralis Minor) so that healthier positioning is natural and comfortable. A common contributor to neck and rotator cuff injury is what’s called round-shouldered posture. Round–shouldered posture feels natural when the pectoral muscles are tight.
Farmer Carry Exercise
- Get weights that will challenge you but not necessarily the heaviest weight you can lift off the ground. Use dumbbells or kettlebells.
- With weights in both hands, walk 150 feet (around 30 meters). Do not put the weights down while you walk.
- Make sure you pull your shoulders back and grip the weights firmly and slightly away from the body.
- If you do feel your grip slipping, put the weights down for a moment to rest. Pick the weights back up and continue your walk.
- Try to keep putting the weights down to a minimum.
The Farmer Carry Exercise works your forearms and grip, abdominals to stay vertical, back and trapezius to keep upper body upright, and legs as you walk while supporting your body weight. The Farmer Carry is one of the more practical exercises as it improves a real-life movement.
External Rotation with Band
- Attach a band to a fixed object.
- Stand to the side of the object and grab the end with the hand furthest away from the band.
- Keep your elbow at a 90-degree angle and rest your elbow on the side of your body
- Move your hand directly across your body and towards the outside of your shoulder all the while keeping your elbow still.
- Pause when you can’t go any further.
- Return to starting position.
- Repeat on the other side.
External Rotation helps strengthen and increase stability in the rotator cuff. It is beneficial because it isolates the small muscles of the shoulder and strengthens them without recruiting the larger muscles.
Be sure to download our FREE ebook, 7 Ways To Ease Neck and Shoulder Pain, for even more information.