Try it: Stand with feet hips-width apart. Upon exhale, soften knees and fold your torso forward, letting your head go toward the ground. Straighten your arms directly above your shoulders, behind your back and clasp your hands together. Stay there for five to ten deep breaths. “Be careful not to push your hands too far forward,” advises Larson Levey. “Also feel free to bend one knee and then the other, getting deeper into the shoulder.”
3. Wall Angels
To help open up the anterior side of the body, Equinox Tier X Coach Matt Delaney suggests doing this shoulder stretching exercise called wall angels (think: snow angels with your back against the wall and your arms like a cactus). “This is a mobility drill that will help shoulders function optimally,” he says.
Try it: Lean your entire back against the wall with your feet slightly in front of you. With arms bent at a 90-degree angle, make contact with the wall with your elbows first, and then work to bring the tops of your hands against the wall at eye level stopping wherever it feels comfortable. From there, begin to raise your arms above your head as you maintain all points of contact with the wall and slowly return back to the starting position. Do two to three sets of eight to ten reps. “As you become more comfortable with the movement, work to bring your forearms and tops of hands flush against the wall,” says Delaney.
4. Seated shoulder release
“For people who sit at a computer all day, the head, neck, chest and shoulders are rounded and tight for way too long,” says Probert. This stretch, she says, opens up the front of the shoulders and neck to help counteract that forward flexion.
Try it: Sit in a chair and lean back. Place one of your hands on the center of your chest with your thumb and index finger touching your left and right collar bones, resting your palm flat. Place the other hand over the first one for support. Press your hands into your chest gently, then maintaining that pressure, start to pull your hands down until you feel tension. Stop there and hold. You can gently tilt your head back and to each side to focus the stretch on one shoulder or side of the neck. “The connective tissue we’re addressing in this release will begin to change only after you’ve held the tissue for a long enough amount of time,” says Probert.
5. Standing Overhead Wall Stretch
When your arms stay by your sides all day, your range of motion is, unfortunately, very limited. Open it up with this simple shoulder exercise from Delaney: all you need is a wall.
Try it: Stand facing the wall with your feet about six inches away. Place the pinky side of your hands on the wall overhead, with your arms straight, and slowly let the chest fall through your arms toward the wall. Hold the end range, taking a couple of diaphragmatic breaths before returning to the starting position. “You should be conscious of engaging your core musculature by pulling your belly button into your spine as you let your chest sink in towards the wall,” says Delaney.