The Single Best Shoulder Stretch

The Single Best Shoulder Stretch

Mitchell Starkman, Physiotherapist, Desk Jockey Physio

25 March 2018
Raise your hand if you think you have tight shoulders! If you’re reading this we’re assuming you, or someone you know, does in fact have tight and stiff shoulders. But why are my shoulders so stiff? Well it can have a lot to do with your posture, the line of work you are in, or even how you are training at the gym. We always recommend people start by correcting their desk and laptop setups to put yourself in the best position for success. So much so that we’ve created The 5 Step Laptop Set Up Guide to show you exactly how to get yourself set up for seated success.

Now, it’s important to note that not all of us need more shoulder flexibility. That’s right. Even though you feel “tight” that doesn’t mean that you are. The shoulder joint is one of the most mobile joints in the body and that means that we don’t want to be stretching it every which way if we don’t need to be. Generally speaking, if you are a super flexible person (ie. you can put your palms to the floor, you classify as “double jointed”, and your elbows/knees can hyperextend) you may need to focus more on strengthening or stretching some other areas of the body. If you are unsure, then see a healthcare provider that you trust.

Now for all of you stiff folks, we’ve prepared a more in-depth article on the Top 5 Shoulder Stretches You Can Do At Home just for you. This post though, is about saving time and getting the biggest bang for your buck.

So what exercise will give you the best shoulder stretch for minimal amounts of added effort?

The Pec Grinder

It is time to stretch our chest muscles ladies and gentleman! Now, I commonly see people hanging off the edge of door frames or pressing their noses into the corner of a room.  People will leverage their arms off a wall in attempt to stretch something in the front of their shoulder. The problem with this is that you are not just stretching your pec muscles here. You are literally hanging off of a whole whack of your muscles which are in the front of the shoulder. This includes the biceps (and we wonder why they get sore?) and the actual joint capsule itself. Needless to say, a non-specific stretch is no good at all.

This isn’t to say that other stretches aren’t helpful. This is to say that if you only have time to do one stretch then this would be the one to focus on.

So I propose The Pec Grinder. This stretch allows you to perform a self muscle release on yourself while stretching your shoulder wonderfully. Enjoy.

We’ve created a full write up post on this shoulder stretch if you need a full review.
What if you’re struggling with pain?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! If you are having issues or trouble with your shoulder, we recommend you check out the PhysioReady Shoulder Impingement Program. It’s an entire online program dedicated to getting your shoulders pain free and feeling awesome.

You can also check out our Ultimate Guide to Shoulder Impingement where we teach all d to know about what the heck is going on with your shoulder and show you how to fix it!  Or if you’re looking to stretch out those shoulders of yours, check out our Top 5 Shoulder Stretches Exercises To Do At Home. We also created a post on the Top 5 Shoulder Strength Exercises To Do At Home if you’re looking to beef up your shoulders.

Authored by:

Mitch Starkman

Mitch Starkman

Physiotherapist and Founder

A Toronto-based Physiotherapist with a passion for sports, orthopedics, and human movement. Mitchell’s goal is to understand how the site of pain is impacted by the entire body – rather than pinpointing a specific disturbance. He is also the founder of - a website geared toward giving people the tools they need to self-manage, treat and prevent their injuries.

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