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This article is shared with permission from our friends at PaleoHacks.

Suffering from chronic shoulder pain and tightness? You’re not alone.

According to a recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), chronic shoulder pain makes up 9% of the total amount of American adults reporting pain (1).

While there can be many different reasons for shoulder pain, a main cause in our modern day society is that 86% of American workers sit at a desk all day (2). This doesn’t include time spent driving, eating, looking down at your cell phone, or watching TV at night. If you are one of the lucky few to not have to sit at a desk all day, there is still a high chance that you find yourself doing at least a few of these things each day.

Unfortunately, all of these things don’t just add up to tight and rounded shoulders – they also lead to neck pain, back pain, tight hips, and weak glutes.

You can start by checking your shoulder mobility. Then, use these 10 stretches for shoulder mobility to help open up your shoulders, increase your range of motion, and work your way to better alignment and pain-free living.

Cow Face Arms

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This stretch opens up the front of the shoulders, triceps, and lats.

  1. Begin by kneeling on the floor, sitting your hips back onto your heels. Hold a towel in your right hand. Reach your right arm straight up, bend your elbow to let your right hand and the towel fall behind your head.
  2. Take your left arm behind your back, bending your elbow to reach your left hand up your back. Grab hold of the other side of the towel with your left hand and use the towel to walk your hands towards one another. If your hands come all the way to touch, you can let go of the towel and interlace your fingers. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch sides.

Criss-Cross Arms

This stretch helps to release the rear delts and the rhomboids.

  1. Start by lying down on your belly. Cross your arms underneath you so that they are right below your chest. Depending your how tight your rear delts are, you may be able to let your forehead rest on the floor.
  2. Take deep breaths into your rear delts and your rhomboids as you hold for 30-60 seconds. Switch sides by crossing the opposite arm on top.

Prone Cactus Arms (A)

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This stretch releases the front of the shoulder and the chest.

  1. To begin, lie down on your belly. Take your right arm straight out to the side and bend the elbow to a 90-degree angle with your palm face down.
  2. Bend your left elbow and place the hand by your left shoulder. Press through your left hand to roll your body over your right shoulder. Bend your left knee and place your left foot on the floor behind your right leg, with your knee pointing up towards the ceiling.
  3. Hold for 30-60 seconds, then slowly roll back to your belly and switch sides.

Prone Cactus Arms (B)

This stretch gives a release to the front of the shoulder.

  1. Begin by lying down on your belly. Take your right arm straight out to the side, with your palm facing up and your thumb pointing towards your feet. Bend your right arm to a 90-degree angle so that you have an upside-down cactus arm.
  2. Bend your left elbow and place the hand by your left shoulder. Press through your left hand to roll your body over your right shoulder. Bend your left knee and place the foot on the floor behind your right leg, with your knee pointing up.
  3. Hold for 30-60 seconds, then slowly roll back to your belly and switch sides.

Kneeling Half Moon

This stretch releases the top of the shoulder and the lats.

  1. Start by kneeling on the floor, sitting your hips back on your heels. Reach your arms straight up over your head and cross your right wrist in front of your left wrist. Twist your palms inward to face one another. Your thumbs should be in front. Then, bring your palms to touch.
  2. Inhale to sit up tall and reach up through your fingertips. Keeping your palms together, exhale to reach your hands over to the right, keeping your left sitting bone pressing into your left heel. You should feel a stretch through your left shoulder, lat, and intercostal muscles. Breathe deeply and hold for 30 seconds.
  3. Inhale to come back to center. Exhale to reach your hands over to the left, doing the same thing for 30 seconds.
  4. Inhale to come back to center. Release your hands down by your sides to shake out your arms. Then repeat all the steps with your left wrist crossed in front of your right wrist.

Bound Forward Fold

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This stretch opens up the front and the top of the shoulder and the neck, low back, and hamstrings.

  1. Begin by standing with your feet out wide. Your toes should point forward so that your feet are parallel. Holding a towel, take your hands behind your back and hold one end of the towel in each hand.
  2. Bend your knees generously and take an exhale to hinge at your hips and fold your chest down towards the ground. Keep hold of the towel and let your hands fall over your head as much as they can. If you want a deeper stretch, bring your hands closer together on the towel.

Low Lunge with Triceps Stretch

This stretch releases the top of the shoulder and triceps as well as the hip flexors.

  1. To begin, find a low lunge position with your right leg forward. Make sure that your right knee is stacked over your ankle and untuck your back toes.
  2. Engage your belly and reach your arms straight up above your head. Bend your left elbow and reach your left hand behind your head. Bend your right elbow and place your right hand on top of your left elbow. Apply gentle pressure to feel a stretch in your left triceps. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch sides by bringing the left leg to a low lunge and bringing your right hand down your back.

Puppy Stretch

This stretch release the front, top, and back of the shoulders, the triceps, and the lats.

  1. Start on the floor on your hands and knees in a tabletop position.
  2. Keep your knees stacked over your hips as you walk your hands out in front of you until you can bring your forehead to rest on the ground. Continue to walk your hands out until your arms are straight and you feel a stretch through your shoulders, triceps, and lats. Hold for 30-60 seconds.
  3. To come out of it, walk your hands back underneath your shoulders and press back up to a tabletop position.

Wall Downdog

This stretch releases the front and top of the shoulders and the chest.

  1. Begin standing up, facing a wall, with your feet hip-width distance. Make sure you are a few feet away from the wall.
  2. Place your hands on the wall and walk your hands down the wall until they are in line with your hips. This should create an L-shape with your body, so adjust your feet as needed.
  3. Keep pressing your hands against the wall and drop your chest towards the floor to feel a stretch through your chest and shoulders. Hold for 30-60 seconds.

Wall Side Press

This stretch releases the top of the shoulder and the lats.

  1. Start by kneeling down about a foot away from a wall. Turn your body so that your right shoulder is next to the wall, and place your left foot in front of your body in a low lunge position.
  2. Straighten your right arm above your head and place your right hand on the wall. Lean into your right hand and press the right side of your body towards the wall to feel a stretch through your right shoulder and lat. Hold for 30-60 seconds and then switch sides.

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