Joint Mobility and Strength Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 4

Shoulder Mobility and Strength

20 min - Practice


This class is designed for long term shoulder health. We will increase range of motion in the shoulders, and then build strength using our body weight in various low positions. Your wrists, abs, chest, and back will also get a workout, and you will feel expanded and strong.
What You'll Need: Mat, Block (2)


Read Full Transcript

Welcome to shoulder mobility and strength. You're going to grab two blocks to start off and it's mostly to just make you feel comfortable. So you need something to put your head on and something to brace between your legs. We're going to get down to the floor, starting with our internal rotation with our shoulders. So put the block between your knees, make sure your knees are about 90 degrees from your hips and your spine is pretty straight here.

So you're going to put your head down on that block or whatever you decided to use. And for 15 seconds, we're just going to find our stretch here. So however far you can go, this elbow, by the way, is directly in front of the shoulder 90 degrees. So here we are. Hold it here for just five, four, three, two, one.

Now place the other hand on top. This is where it's going to get a little fun. You're going to resist this hand. So this bottom hand is going to press into this top hand. This top hand is super heavy.

You're going to press in starting in three, two, one, press as hard as you can and don't let this other arm move at all. Think about it like a brick wall and you're kind of ramping up. So you're going to go for another five, four, three, two, one. Now you're going to reverse it, so you're going to pull away from that hand as much as you can for another six or seven seconds. Hold it there.

Keep pulling. Three, two, one, release, relax. This is now your new internal rotation. This is kind of your new range of motion. So in the next round, we're going to start here.

You're going to bring your hand down. You're going to take a deep breath, stretch a little bit, and we're going to start our resistance. So push down on that hand, push up, resisting that hand, and we're going to go for 10. I'm not going to count down the whole way, but keep ramping up from four to five to six as high as you can, as much resistance as you can for another three, two, one. Reverse it.

Pull it away. Make it as light as you can on this top hand. Keep pulling away for three, two, one, release, relax. Good. Now take a second to reset.

This is going to be your biggest range of motion. Make sure that your legs are squeezing this block. Your spine is totally in alignment, and you're bracing your core. Bring your attention back to your core. Let's try it one final time to see how far we can get it, and every time you do this, you might get a little bit more range of motion.

That's the whole point. So bring your hand down to the new range of motion. Take a deep breath, brace your core. Let's begin. Squeeze the legs, stay here, and start to ramp up.

Keep pushing into your hand. You're ramping up the tension here. The time is increasing. Your tension is increasing for another five, four, three, two, one. You're at your max.

Now you're going to pull away from that hand. You're going to keep pulling away for another five, four, three, two, and one. Go ahead and release, relax. Let's switch to the other side. We can just roll over.

I'm going to move my blocks to this side. Again, placing our knees right in alignment with our hips, bringing your head down on that block, squeezing the block between our legs, finding the 90 degrees from your shoulder to your elbow, setting yourself up in a place where it's comfortable and you have the most access to this shoulder range of motion. So you're going to stretch for the first 15. Keep pulling down, releasing, pulling down, releasing, making sure everything is set up correctly. Find the tension in your core.

All right, let's begin. Put your hand on top. You're going to push against that hand, creating the tension. I'm not moving anywhere, but I'm creating lots of strength here. This is called an isometric movement.

Keep pushing for another five, four, three, two, one, pull away, and it might not be as much range of motion on this side as it was on the other, and that's okay. You're going to pull for another five, four, three, two, one, bring that hand down on top. Take a deep breath, stretch here for just a second. All right, let's begin. Press against that hand, keep pressing against that hand, and I want you to think of it like a dial, like you're turning up the heat or the pressure or the tension, whatever way you want to think about it.

Do it for another five, four, three, two, and one. Drop it down a little bit further. This is going to be your max. Stay here, relax. We've got a little bit more time.

Now when you're about to begin, start with your legs, start with your core, build the tension in the rest of your body first, then add the hand, and now we're going to dial it up. Press against that hand, keep pressing, turn up the heat for another six, tighten up that core, use your breath, three, two, one, pull away. We're almost there, this is the final bit here. I like having my hand out here just so I know how far I went. Go ahead and release, okay?

Let's come to our prone position, so you're going to move your blocks in front of you and come onto your belly. Push this block out as far as you can. Now the range of motion can differ today than it can in a couple of days or in even a month if you continue to do this, so be gentle on yourself. You're going to move to a place where you have full extension and reach from your feet to your hands, and you're going to press your butt and your chest and your forehead into the floor. Once you're here, you're going to brace with the other hand, so the other hand is palm is flat on the floor, your toes are pressing into the ground, you're going to lift just with your shoulder and move to the other side of your block or maybe even a marker.

If it's too high, there's a good reason why this block is a couple of different levels, so find a level that works for you, find a range that works for you, and from here you're going to create that tension, pull the shoulder blades away from your ears, and you're going to lift off and go to the other side, and then bring it back. We're going to repeat this for three or four more times, whatever feels good, whenever you start to feel like you're losing the tension, you're going to stop, reset, try again. Let's do three more, and this is really a great way to increase range of motion in any range of your shoulder, like if you are reaching up in front of you or to the side, you can keep moving the block and play with your range of motion as far as you would like to, because your range of motion is going to differ than mine. We're going to try the other hand. Put this hand flat on the floor, the one that you're not using, reach as far as you can with the arm that you are, remember that each shoulder is going to have a different range of motion.

Start with your tension in your core, in your pelvis, press your feet into the floor, put your hand palms into the floor, pull the shoulder blades away from your ears, brace, and here we go. Lift off, place to the other side of whatever object it is that you're using, pick it back up, exhale your air, brace your core, lift, and place down. Let's do three more, up and over, play with the range of motion if you'd like, change the positioning of the block if you'd like, this is kind of a place where you get to play and explore your body. Okay, now we're going to go to all fours and strengthen what we just expanded. Let's start with our shoulders over our wrists and our hips over our knees.

First thing you're going to do is learn how to push the floor away. I'm going to refer to this position as beast. So knees are hip distance wide, everything is in alignment like we've talked about. You're going to push the ground away and tuck your toes, and from here I'm going to move through pulling my shoulders up towards my ears and then back towards each other, down towards my hips, and into the floor. So what you'll notice, continue doing that, is that you're kind of making a circle up towards your ears, towards each other, down towards the floor, and push the ground away.

Up, back, hips, floor. Can you do it backwards? Hips towards each other, shoulders to ears, and into the floor. Play with that circle, and once you get a little bit more comfortable, notice that I'm not bending my elbows at all, I'm going to keep moving through the circles, one shoulder or both shoulders at the same time. If you want to practice with one, isolating one is more difficult, but hey, we're here for challenges, right?

Shoulders to ears, back towards each other, towards your hips, push the ground away. Okay, now let's move to our crab position. Here's what's going to happen. You're going to first check the mobility of your wrist. Sometimes we want to go this way, that's not going to work.

Either facing each side of the room, or facing behind you, ideally behind you. This is going to open up your chest, and then you're going to place your feet out right in front of you. Your butt should be kind of in the middle of your feet and your hands. So here, you're going to press your palms into the floor. Palms of the floor starts to activate my armpits and my triceps.

I'm going to open up my chest, I'm going to press my palms into the floor, and I'm going to lift my body off the ground. Notice that I'm not bending my elbows at any point. Then I'm going to drop back down again. So again, push your palms into the floor, lift your body up off the floor. I'm not lifting into a bridge, I'm lifting just a little bit, and I'm really using my triceps and my lats to press into the floor and lift my body up.

Let's try three more. Press, lift, hold for five, four, three, two, one, lower down. Pay attention to your core this time. Bring the rib cage down, the pelvis under, press into the floor, lift again. As hard as you can into the floor, really get those triceps activated and lift through the neck and chest.

You're holding for another three, two, one, drop down low. We're going to do one more. This time you're going to make it your best one and your longest one. Use your fingertips, use your chest, open up the shoulders, press into the floor, lift, hold it there. Now bring your chin in a little bit towards the back of your neck, and we're going to hold for five, four, three, two, two, one, release, good.

Now we're going to go back to our beast position, meet me there. Bring those knees underneath your hips, your shoulders over your wrist. If your wrists are starting to feel sore, maybe give them a little stretch. So push the ground away, bring your fingertips towards the floor a couple of times, just to wiggle it out a little bit. At any point you need to take a break to give your wrists a break, please do so.

Now that we're here, we're going to find the tension in our core. This one's a little bit harder because we're going to actually lift limbs off the floor again. Tuck the toes, push the ground away, find that push into the floor. Now you're going to brace, tuck, rib cage in, pelvis in, push the ground away, lift your knees. Lift an inch off the floor, you're going to press and hold for five, four, three, two, one, drop the knees, relax, maybe do some turns, maybe do a little bit of this, where you're pulling your wrist over.

Let's try it again. Hands on the floor, shoulders over your wrist, shoulders away from your neck and your ears, tuck the pelvis, bring the rib cage in, press into the floor, lift the knees up, we're going to hold it for a little bit longer this time. Try to stay perfectly still, try not to bring your knees more than maybe a stack of papers on the floor, just a little bit, you start to shake, that's what I want. Push the ground away, shoulders are majorly engaged here for three, two, one, drop it down, release, we're going to do one more, do some twists and turns with your hands, whatever feels good here. Final round, hands on the floor, push the ground away, tuck the pelvis, rib cage, lift the knees up, exhale.

Roll the belly towards your spine as you inhale, and then exhale. One more inhale, exhale, knees come down, give it a break. Let's go back into our crab position for round two. This time we're going to use blocks. Whatever you can stay on the floor if you'd like, but how we're going to position our blocks is we're going to have them be almost aligned with our hips, your hands are going to go right on top, fingertips are kind of at the edge, and you're going to put your feet right back where they were in crab position.

Now you're going to want to do a dip, and that's not what I want. I want you to do the dip to get up into an elevated crab position, and from here you're actually going to drop your body down. Your shoulders are shrugging into your neck, and then you're going to press away and lift and elevate. You're going to drop down again and lift and elevate. Activate that core so not all of your weight is on your wrist.

Exhale, push into the blocks. If it's too much to drop and push away, stay here. Just press into that block. From what we know, isometric still work. You can still create tension just where you are.

You don't have to drop down low. I am feeling it here. Let's drop one more time, push it away, and release. Shake it out. Wrists do get a beating in this one, but it's worth it because that actually helps your shoulder blades get stronger in the long run.

Last round, we're going to go back to beast position, and this time I'm going to challenge you even more. Hands underneath your shoulders, hips on top of your knees. Instead of picking up our knees right away, we're actually going to work on limb lifts. Shoulder blades work in all directions, and one of them is pulling back. This scapula needs to work this way, pulling back.

What we find here is that you're going to want to shrug into the floor, or you're going to want to bend your elbow. What I want is to keep your arm as straight as you can, engage your core, exhale your air so that the air is not trapped, and then you're going to lift with a straight arm. Just lift off the floor and put it back down. Lift off the floor the other side and put it back down. Let's do eight at your own pace, just up and down.

Try not to swing your body side to side, it's just the shoulder. We're just isolating the shoulder. I've got four more left, picking up and lowering down. Now we're going to activate the core even more by lifting the knees off the floor. Tuck the toes, find the core, lift the knees, widen your stance just a little bit so you have a little bit more stability, and then you're going to lift and lower, lift and lower.

Such a small, tiny little movement, but it's so difficult to pull your shoulder blade up off the floor without swinging your body side to side. Just give me four more, four, three, two, and one. Go ahead and release, relax, shake it out, pat yourself on the back, that's tough. We're going to do one last round of crab, join me there. Set up your blocks, find the position that you are most comfortable in, bring your hands to the edge, feet in front of you.

First one is a dip as you come up, elevate your neck, open up your chest. I'm going to throw a curve ball at you and tell you to lift your leg up. Put it back down, lift your leg up, put it back down. Another limb lift, but this time we're working on the legs lifting up and your shoulder is just staying completely isolated and working really hard. Let's do three more, two, and one, and release.

So I know shoulder mobility and strength is difficult and tedious, but I promise you for long-term shoulder health, it's really important. Thanks for being here.


Jenny S
1 person likes this.
Wow! This is some deceptively har work! 💪 I’m wide awake now for sure 🙌😅
Helya Glen
Jenny S tell me about it! I was sweatin! Thanks for watching :) 
Christel B
Super! My shoulders are thanking you.
i loved it when you called it 'difficult and tedious' - made me burst out laughing! 😂 thanks for this and for the series altogether. look forward to more.
Helya Glen
Christel B so glad! Thanks for watching! 
Helya Glen
Matthew haha! I am glad you can laugh through this with me! 
Sandra Židan
This practice was pure medicine for my shoulders and wrists! Thanks, Helya! Namaste! 💖
Helya Glen
Sandra Židan Thanks for practicing with me. I love this one. 
Sara S
So good for my sore shoulder
Misty G
1 person likes this.
I have been dealing with chronic and moderately severe pain in my shoulders. This is my first time trying this video. It was very difficult for me and I plan to keep on using it until I can get some improvement. I think you very much for your expertise.

You need to be a subscriber to post a comment.

Please Log In or Create an Account to start your free trial.

Footer Yoga Anytime Logo

Just Show Up

Over 2,900 yoga and meditation practices to bring you Home.

15-Day Free Trial