Shoulder Range Of Motion Exercises

Here you get the best shoulder range of motion exercises and will also learn what to watch out for when doing them.

In this short article I will focus on what you should concentrate on when you are doing exercises to increase the range of motion of your shoulder.

Of course you can skip this article and jump right to the exercises. Still, I want to encourage you to remain a few minutes here and read my following lines as they will help you to get the most out of the exercises.


Nervous System Training

Physiological Principle

In A Nutshell

Nervous System Training

Shoulder range of motion/ROM exercises, like all ROM exercises, are actually a training for your nervous system. You move the given joint, in this case your shoulder, through its current full range of motion. While doing so, you want to use all the functions of your shoulder muscles and all possible movements of your shoulder, respectively.

This way, your nervous system will rearrange and optimize the interplay of all the involved muscles and thus increase the range of motion and flexibility of your shoulder.

Most of the times an impaired range of motion in your shoulder is due to excessive muscle tension, especially in the muscles at the front of your shoulder. Among other movements, they adduct your arm and rotate your shoulder inwards. Thus, if too tight, they contribute to a round shouldered position and impair its range of motion  - especially the extension and outward rotation-.

This is the reason why the shoulder range of motion exercises presented here are almost all „shoulder openers“ and why the work towards extension and outward rotation is so important. All the time when you do extensions and outward rotations, it is of major importance to slow down and feel where tension in your chest is created. This will allow your nervous system to detect and reduce it.

Physiological Principle

The underlying physiological principle is simple and is called „antagonistic inhibition“ . If you for example extend and rotate your shoulder outwards, the muscles that initiate the extension and outward rotation have to work while the muscles that do the opposite movements have to let go -. In the beginning they will not let go immediately and this is the tension you will feel in your chest and front of your shoulder while doing the movement.

But after some conscious repetitions of the given shoulder range of motion exercise, your body will let go of unnecessary tension and free your shoulder more and more. You than can be sure that you increased your current range of motion. In one of my articles I included a little exercise that only takes a minute and demonstrates this effect very well. You can check it out here.

In a Nutshell

Always try to move as effortless and smooth as possible and put your focus on slow and concentrated movements - especially during extensions and outward rotations -. This way you will not tighten up and maximize the benefits of your shoulder range of motion exercises.

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