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Whether it’s calisthenics or other exercise, it is so important that you do everything you can to prevent injuries. With many of our calisthenic movements, we must lift or hold our bodies in unusual positions, including declined and upside-down. Such movements are great for building our shoulders, but they also increase the risk of causing shoulder injury or pain. That is why I include several shoulder stretching exercises in EVERY workout – not just upper-body workouts, but even lower-body, cardio, and rest days. Check out these awesome shoulder stretching exercises to prevent injury and stay on the upside-down!
Shoulder Stretching Exercises For Warm-Ups (Pre-Workout)
Shoulder Dislocates x10
If you cannot reach all the way back, just go as far back as you can go. Try to go back a little bit further each time. This is amazing for shoulder flexion and can support your progress on advanced shoulder exercises, like the handstand! You can use a towel, t-shirt, broomstick, or anything that is long enough for you to achieve this shoulder stretching exercise comfortably.
Scapula Pull-Ups x10 (AKA Arching Active Pull-Ups)
Beginners should simply hang from the bar and pull the shoulder blades together. As you get stronger, you should also lift your chest upward toward the bar. Hold the lifted position for one second before lowering your body back down. This will help you build strength for pull-ups and front levers while increasing your shoulders’ flexibility. It also improves your grip strength.
Reverse Plank Bridge x3
This shoulder stretching exercise still gives me trouble (AUGH! That form!), but it is great for the entire body – especially the shoulders. There are essentially two positions that you should hold for two seconds each: arms stretched behind you with knees bent, and arms supporting you in full reverse plank bridge position.
Wall Shoulder Slides x10
Place your body flat against the wall, including your lower back. Reach up as high as your arms will allow. Don’t worry if you can’t reach too high – just try to go a little higher every time.
Support Hold Dips x10
Just like the scapula pull-ups, hold your lifted position for one second. Beginners do not have to do the full dip–instead, you can just hold the pushed-up scapula position. If you don’t have dip bars, you can do this shoulder stretching exercise on the floor with your legs outstretched with palms flat on the floor!
Shoulder Stretching Exercises – During and After Workout
Shoulder Posture Stretch (Name Needs Work!)
Pull your shoulder blades together, lift your chin, push your chest forward. Hold for 15-20 seconds.
Rotator Cuff A
Don’t overstretch on this one. Your elbow should be firmly anchored against the wall. Just do enough to feel a comfortable stretch for 15-20 seconds.
Rotator Cuff B
Don’t overdo it! Keep your palm flat against the wall. This will also stretch your chest, and can be great for people who sit at desks for long periods of time. 15-20 seconds.
Make sure you do both directions! If you prefer, you can do one arm at a time. 10 reps in each direction. I tend to do this shoulder stretching exercise in between sets, rather than doing at the end of the workout.
Side Thoracic Rotation
Knees should be bent 90-degrees. Hold the outstretched position for at least one full second. 8-10 reps per arm.
Don’t Neglect Your Shoulders
Not only do these shoulder stretching exercises prevent injury and increase flexibility, they also help improve your posture and build strength for those advanced calisthenics moves that take so much work. Shoulder stretch exercises should be implemented into every workout, no matter what muscle you’re focusing on.
Interested in other stretches? Check out my guides to hand-wrist-forearm stretches and hip stretches!
What shoulder stretching exercises do you enjoy doing? Leave a comment below!
2 thoughts on “Shoulder Stretching Exercises – Prevent Injury!”
Hello. Good day. I have learnt a lot for this article. We know that working out is good but sometimes we always forget to get some part of our body touched by the exercise. So when we get on at it we end up getting injured because we didn’t stretch out those part of our body. With this, I will be able to work more on my exercise level in other not to get hurt whenever am working out. Thanks a lot. Hoping to see more.
That is true. Stretching is not usually as exciting as the workouts themselves, but it is always important. The shoulders are a big muscle group, so if they are not stretched regularly there is a much bigger risk of injury. Thanks for reading!