Easy Shoulder Warm Up

Alexandra Ellis

Did you know that the shoulders have the greatest range of motion of any joint in the body? Well, at least they should. Shoulders were designed to allow us a large range of movement to climb trees, throw objects, and carry our young. But for many of us, they only do a few movements throughout the day. After hours spent at a desk or behind the wheel of a car, the last thing your upper body is ready to do is hoist a weight overhead, dance, or swing back and forth during a run. “Use it, or lose it” is a true principle of the body, and as a result of the limited use of our shoulders on a daily basis, most of us tend to be lacking a full range of movement in the shoulder girdle.

Think about it – today, your arms probably lifted as high as the top of the steering wheel or your keyboard, and then back down again. It’s not often, unless required for your job, that your arms go all the way overhead into full shoulder flexion or behind you into extension. We also spend most of our time in internal rotation as we slouch at our desk and leave external shoulder rotation as mainly uncharted territory.

A proper warm-up is an integral part of any workout but what exactly are you warming up? Parts that don’t move tend to be stiff, so it is extra important to warm up all of your body’s tissues and joints before challenging them. The efficiency of your workout is dependent on all of your parts moving and functioning as they were intended to. No matter how ergonomic we make it, sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day is NOT normal for your body. Do you want to help yourself and your clients achieve PRs, get strength gains, and overcome injuries and surgeries that are limiting their workout?

Shoulder Flossing is a super simple and effective Yoga Tune Up® exercise that takes your shoulders through a controlled, full range of motion. It’s a great pre-workout warm-up and can also expose some spots in your range of motion you didn’t know were missing.

1.    Stand with your head, ribs, and hip stacked on top of your parallel feet.
2.    Hold on to a strap, belt, or towel, with your hands wider than shoulder width. 

3.    Keep your elbows straight as you take the strap overhead and behind you.

4.    Make sure that you do not allow your ribs to thrust forward as the strap passes overhead.

The goal is not just to move the strap, but also to do so while maintaining spinal stability (no rib thrusting!) and without bending the elbows. You may find that you have to separate your hands much further than shoulder width at the beginning.

Undo the stiffness and tension of the daily grind before your workout with Shoulder Flossing!


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