New Shoulder Mobility Exercise (my current fave)

Do this daily to improve shoulder mobility and health

By Coach E

If you’re looking for one shoulder mobility exercise to do – whether it’s to use in your warmup, cool-down or as part of your workout to improve your mobility, then you’d be hard pressed to find a better one than this, as it provides the following benefits:

  • It works your shoulders through end ranges of every range including flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, internal and external rotation
  • Because of the above point, it puts stress on connective tissues stimulating them to become stronger (use it or lose it)
  • And another benefit related to the first – it gets blood flow to all of the muscles and into the connective tissues, which is a pre-requisite to optimal tissue health via cellular turnover
  • It also helps you become aware of associated and compensatory movements (i.e. compensating with lumbar hyperextension to get the arms more overhead)
  • And it’s as challenging as you want to make it, so you can scale it up or down depending on how you feel

Before we do it up, a little tangent…

I know it’s not nice – and I try to be a nice person – but whenever I see older people shuffling around, hunched over and moving in obvious agony, I think to myself, “I vow to never be like that.”

I’m not judging them because I have no idea about their life or what they went through, but I use it as a reminder to myself to do what I know to do to prevent this grim future and to share that info with the world, because I truly believe helping people move freely and without pain makes the world a better place.

And unfortunately (or perhaps, fortunately), I’m giving myself this reminder daily and more often than not – multiple times a day.

There are so many auxiliary benefits to a single human living an active life i.e. decreased stress, better health…… I’m not going to dive into it as I’m sure you know what they are as well as I.

But one preconceived notion many people have is this:

Becoming stiff, sore, immobile and fragile is just the natural result of getting older.

This is just a notion. Nothing more.

Here’s the reality:

We can’t do anything about things like time or our genes.

All we can do is have a goal, learn as much as we can then take the actions we think are the ones that will have us reach that goal, pay attention to the results and adjust as necessary.

Yes, some people have more luck than others.

In Grade 3, I won a Sony Walkman in a school raffle that was announced over the P.A. system. That was one lucky day indeed!

So yes, there is such a thing as luck – despite what many self-proclaimed self-help gurus will tell you – since none of us chose our genes.

But the difference between those who consistently experience positive “luck” is in the quality and quantity of intentional actions taken over time.

Crush a bag of chips and a 2L Coke everyday and a person – sooner or later – is bound to be perceived as a very unlucky person if we’re looking at health.

But replace that with a salad, steak and brisk walk and that person’s health luck is likely going to be perceived as much better at 60, 70 and beyond, irrespective of genes.

Since movement longevity has become my top priority, taking the first place spot once held by maximum performance (strength, power, conditioning etc), I’ve changed from 2-3 days/week of heavy pressing to 1-2 days/week of heavy to moderate pressing and included drills like today’s on a daily basis.

I value blood flow which brings along with it oxygen and other nutrients all joint tissues need to be healthy over being able to bench 225 for 1 vs. 5 reps.

But can you have both maximum performance and maximum health?

I’m not going to say no, but then the consideration becomes time and energy and when I’ve got a business to run and 2 young kids to run with, I’ve come to grips to the fact that I can’t “have it all”. 

So with that, here’s the shoulder mobility exercise I’m loving right the most right now.

Note: this technique also plays an important role in correcting your posture. Check out this article to learn more about why the most popular thoracic spine exercises don’t work and why you should incorporate this technique instead.

Coach E’s Current Favourite Shoulder Mobility Exercise:

The Extended Shoulder Circle to Crossover

If you’re going to warmup or cool-down with it, hit it for a set at a slow-moderate pace for 2-4 reps in each direction.

If you want to use it to train your mobility, go for 2-3 sets of 2-4 reps at a very slow pace, pausing briefly at sticking points to ensure you’re activating in the right direction and keeping your body in alignment.

Do it up and improve your future luck in the game of movement longevity and if you want more, signup for the Daily Routine below, which is from Phase 1 of Shoulder Control.

About the Author

Eric Wong (aka Coach E) is the founder of Precision Movement and has a degree in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo. He's been a coach since 2005 and spent his early career training combat athletes including multiple UFC fighters and professional boxers. He now dedicates himself to helping active people eliminate pain and improve mobility. He lives in Toronto (Go Leafs Go!) with his wife and two kids and drinks black coffee at work and IPAs at play. Click here to learn more about Eric.