8 Exercises to Stretch out your Shoulders

Shoulders are prone to injury and pain, so knowing how to stretch them out well is important. You're in luck! Here are some exercises you can do wherever you are.
8 Exercises to Stretch out your Shoulders

Last update: 19 August, 2020

Our shoulders usually suffer the most from being hunched over a computer or sleeping in a bad position. If you add exercising without warming up or lifting heavy weights as well, it’s no wonder why shoulder pain is as frequent as it is. In today’s post, we want to show you some exercises to stretch out your shoulders wherever you may be.

The best exercises to stretch out your shoulders

It’s normal to have shoulder pain these days. Sedentary lifestyles, work-life, freestyle exercising, poor sleeping habits or lifting heavy objects… all of these actions impact this five-joint area.

The state of your upper neck and shoulder blades can also impact your shoulders. In light of that, working out the entire region and reducing contractures and stiffness is crucial. Check out our exercises to stretch out the area:

1. Good posture: care for your shoulders

To begin, this “exercise” will help your shoulders as well as your spine. Maybe you haven’t even noticed, but most of the day you’re hunched over. Pushing your shoulders outwards is a culprit behind shoulder pain.

Correct your posture by standing up against a wall. Line your heels up with the base of the wall. Raise your shoulders without moving your shoulders and move your neck slightly backward… And keep your back straight!

2. Shoulders: parallel arm stretch

You can do this shoulder-stretching exercise standing up or sitting down. It’s great if you work in an office. Keep your back straight. Cross your right arm over your chest. Then, keep your right arm in place by placing your left arm over your right elbow. Straight out your arm, all the way to the tips of your fingers.

Now, turn your head side-to-side as if to shake it slowly. Continue for 15 seconds then switch to your left arm.

stretching shoulder arm
Image: elpopular.pe

3. Parallel arm stretch with resistance band

You can use a resistance band, bungee rope, or even a towel for this exercise. Some people even use a bar or stick. But the main idea is to use an object that has the same width as your shoulders.

Stand up and grab your object of choice with both hands in front of you. Bring it up over your head. Now, try to bring it behind you as much as you can without bending your elbows. Hold the position for a few seconds, then return back to the starting position.

stretching shoulder band

4. Chest-opening exercise

Here’s another great exercise that’ll require an object. Look for a stretchy item that’ll provide some resistance as well. Stand up or sit down, keeping your back straight. Grab your resistance band or another item with both hands.

Stretch out your arms in front of you so that they’re parallel to the floor. Now, stretch out your band as much as you can and try to push your shoulder blades together, or push out your chest. Hold the position for a few seconds and start over.

stretching shoulder chest

5. Thoracic rotation

For this exercise, start by laying on your back. Bend your knees and push them over to your right side. Extend your left arm outwards and lay it on the floor. Turn your head in the same direction as your left arm. Now, hold for a few seconds and repeat on the other side.

stretching shoulder thoracic rotation

6. Cross stretch: shoulders

In short, think of this exercise as giving yourself a hug. Cross your arms over your chest and try to touch your back with both hands. Slightly push down on your shoulders.

7. Shoulder circles

You can do this exercise standing up or sitting down, but we recommend the prior because you’ll be able to make bigger movements while standing. Regardless of what you end up doing, always keep your back straight. Lay your arms down on your side and then move them in a circular clock-wise motion ten times. After, repeat on the other side.

8. Against-the-wall stretches

You can use a wall to stretch out your shoulders and your entire shoulder blade area. Get started by standing sideways against a wall. Lean on a stretched out arm and hand. Twist your waist, moving your waist backward and your shoulders forwards.

stretching shoulder wall
Image: Genial.guru

Try doing all of these exercises every day (or at least every other day) and you’ll notice relaxed shoulders, reduced tension, and relief from contractures. You can do them whenever you choose, even when you’re in the office or at home!


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • García, N., Navarro, N., Caballero, R., Díaz, J., & Ojeda, D. B. (2007). Biomecánica del hombro y sus lesiones. Canarias Médicas y Quirúrgicas.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.