Shoulder Circles

Shoulder circles are great to restore a normal muscle tension in your shoulders. Thus they contribute to long lasting shoulder pain relief.


What To Watch Out For

Movement Description

I found this exercise very impressing as it shows you how good or bad you are able to control the muscles of your shoulder. Often I am astonished by how hard it is to perform small AND smooth shoulder movements.

What To Watch Out For

Before you start, I want to point out a few things to you. These points will help you to make the shoulder circles very effective.

  • I recommend to do some preliminary tennis ball massage on the muscles around your shoulder. This will be the perfect preparation as you will become more aware of your shoulder. Thus you will be able to concentrate better on the small movements of the shoulder circles.

  • Move very slow and try to make every move as smooth as possible. This way you really show your nervous system where there is too much tension.

  • Stay relaxed if you have trouble to move smoothly. That is very important! Always remember: You are only as good as you are right now. There is no should or could. Eliminate such thoughts as they will just slow down your learning curve. Accept things as they are. Give them attributes but accept them. Your movement may feel horrible, but it is important to just be OK with that. Anyway, with time and practice, you and thus the movements will become better.

  • Breathe and relax. This may sound funny to you, but you will realize that one tightens up pretty quick as soon as concentrating on new movements. If you realize that you are getting tight and tensed, take a deep breath and release the tension in your eyes and your tongue.

Movement Description

Basically you start to move your shoulder 10 – 20 times - depending on your patience ;) - in  four different directions. Right afterwards you will put those movements together to perform the shoulder circles.

Pre-exercise: The Four Directions

Sit down somewhere. It really does not matter too much where. What is important though, is that your shoulder and your arm hang loose.

Now lift your shoulder by the smallest amount possible and then move it back in the starting position.

Remember to move SLOW. It is absolutely OK if one move will take you 3-4 seconds. Slowly increase the amplitude of this movement until you reach your pain free limit, then decrease it again.

Do the same thing with the remaining three directions. Move your shoulder with increasing, then decreasing amplitudes 10 – 20 times downwards, backwards and last but not least forwards. And always keep in mind to move as smooth as possible.

When you are done with this, take a deep breath, rest for a minute and feel your shoulder. Do not move it, just feel and ask yourself HOW your shoulder feels now. Also feel free to rest and feel longer.

This rest is really important not because those movements are physically demanding, but because your nervous systems needs a brake.

The Shoulder Circles

Now, put the four movement directions together and perform small circles. Begin with the smallest movements possible, increase the amplitude until you reach your pain free maximum, then decrease it again.

During the circles, imagine there is a laser beam coming out of your shoulder and hitting the wall to your side. With that beam you can visualize your circles on the wall. Try to make them as perfect as it is possible for you right now. You will be amazed about how well that works.

When you are done with 10 – 20 circles, take a rest again. Then perform the shoulder circles in the other direction. Afterwards, take a rest, feel and then be proud that you took time to work on your shoulder.

› Shoulder Circles