Since I started working from home, I have struggled with regular shoulder pain for the first time in my life. Hunching over my laptop is likely to blame. Now, I'm always looking for quick new ways to take a break during the work day to stretch out my shoulders.
In an answer to my prayers, Australian personal trainer and exercise physiologist Amanda Bisk recently took to Instagram to demonstrate three simple stretches to help alleviate shoulder pain. She also breaks down the common sources of achy shoulders, explaining that "many cases of shoulder pain (but not all) can be caused by imbalances in the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint and the shoulder blade."
The stretches in Bisk's sequence are intended to target the Pec Minor, a muscle that she says gets tights from hunched posture, and the Infraspinatus, a part of your Rotator Cuff that can cause a "dull ache."
Remember, stretching isn't always the solution for shoulder pain. So if you have any concerns, check in with a physical therapist or your doctor about your discomfort.
If you want to try Bisk's stretches for yourself, you can follow along with the video. Bisk recommends holding each position for 10 long, deep breaths and repeating the sequence twice. She suggests doing these stretches twice a week or, if you have particularly tight shoulders, before or after every workout.
Be sure to listen to your body and stop if you experience any pain.
"Fingers point forward, walk your hands back a few steps. Roll your shoulders back and down + press your chest up to the sky. To increase the stretch, bend your elbows but try to keep your chest lifted. To increase again, aim to squeeze elbows together."
"Bend elbows into 'cactus arms', bend one knee and reach that foot back to twist. Rest your head on the ground + use your hand to push into the ground to increase stretch."
"This is my favourite! Looks weird, but works so well! Knuckles should be at sides of rib cage, use your knees to apply pressure and deepen stretch. Bring chin to chest + round upper back to increase stretch."
You can modify the Rotator Cuff stretch with one arm if you are especially tight in the shoulders.
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