Stretching your shoulders can feel good, especially for those of us who spend long hours hunched over a computer. It can also prepare you for walking with good posture -- shoulders back and relaxed, chest open.
Anterior Shoulder Stretch
This behind-your-back shoulder stretch will stretch the front of the shoulder and the chest (the anterior deltoid and the pectoralis minor muscles).
- Begin standing up straight with shoulders relaxed and back.
- Clasp your hands behind your lower back. If you have difficulty doing this, hold on to a towel or walking pole positioned horizontally behind your back (see the golfer's version).
- Lift your clasped hands, keeping your elbows straight, back out away from your body. Keep an upright posture.
- Stop lifting at the point you no longer feel comfortable; don't stretch to the point of pain.
- Stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
Short Video: Shoulder Stretches: This video shows two variations of the anterior shoulder stretch.
Follow-up exercise: Arm circles to take your shoulders through their full range of motion.
More Shoulder Stretches
Anterior and Posterior Shoulder Stretches: Description and drawings of these two stretches.
Seated Stretches for the Shoulders, Back and Neck: Three stretches you can do while seated.