How to Stretch Shoulders

Doing simple stretches of the shoulders will alleviate tension, thereby, improving chronic pain in shoulders. Regularly doing these stretches can benefit you immensely. These exercises are very gentle and can be done even if you currently have severe shoulder pain.

How to Stretch Shoulders

Overhead Stretch

1. Stand straight with legs placed at shoulder width distance.

2. With palm facing down, interlock your fingers and slowly raise and stretch your arms over the head, palms towards the ceiling.

3. Hold in this position for about 20s.

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Front Crossover Stretch

1. Stand straight with legs placed at shoulder width distance.

2. Raise your left arm and keeping it parallel to the floor, bring it across your chest keeping it slightly bent.

3. Place your right hand on your left elbow, and pull the left arm further towards your chest.

4. Hold in this position for about 20s and perform 3 repetitions with each arm.

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Back Crossover Stretch

1. Stand straight with both arms hanging by your side.

2. Keeping elbows straight and palms facing the ground extend your arms on to your side and remain in this position for 5-10 seconds.

3. Take both of your outstretched arms over your head.

4. Bending slowly your left arm at the elbow drop your left hand behind your head and put your right hand on the left elbow and gently pull your left elbow further down. Hold in this position for 10-15 seconds.

5. Switch arms and do the same stretch with the other arm too. Do 2-3 repetitions with both the arms.

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Towel Stretch

1. Stand straight with legs placed at shoulder width distance.

2. Hold a towel in left hand.

3. Raise the left arm, elbow slightly bent, behind the head with the towel in hand. With the right arm reach the bottom of the towel and grab it.

4. To stretch the left shoulder, pull the towel with the left hand in the upward direction.

5. Hold in this position for about 20s.

6. Similarly to stretch the left shoulder, pull the towel with the right hand downward.

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You can watch this video for practicing the stretches.

Stretch Yoga

First Exercise

1. Sit erect comfortably and hold a long strap in your arms and straighten them.

2. While inhaling, bring your arms forward and up till they are vertical.

3. While exhaling, take them down behind your body.

4. Bring them up while inhaling and while exhaling, bring them to the starting position.

5. Repeat 5 times.

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Second Exercise

1. Shorten the length of the strap to make it approximately twenty-four to thirty inches apart and adjust the length according to your needs.

2. Raising both the arms, bring the right arm along the side of your ear, simultaneously rotate your left arm around and down behind your body as shown in the picture.

3. When you are taking your right arm upward, inhale, while when you are rotating your left arm backwards, exhale.

4. Hold in this position for several breaths.

5. Change sides and repeat in a similar manner.

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Precautions for Stretching Shoulders

The various precautions that should be taken while doing shoulder stretches are:

Before Stretch

Do adequate warm up before doing a stretch to avoid injury to the muscles.

During Stretch

Stretching has to be done slowly. It has to be done till the point of mild discomfort and should be stopped whenever sharp or shooting pain is experienced. Continue breathing normally while stretching.

After Stretch

In case you feel that you have suffered any injury during stretching or are having any sort of unusual pain, consult your physician regarding the same.

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