Top 5 Fridays! 5 of My Favorite Shoulder Exercises
Most of the shoulder issues you will see in the clinic will be rapid responders and not true frozen shoulders or adhesive capsulitis.
If someone presented like a frozen shoulder (severely limited in multiple directions versus only a major limitation in one direction), but they improve rapidly in ROM, plain and simple it was not really a frozen shoulder. Here are 5 of my favorite exercises that help shoulder rapid responders.
1) Thoracic Whips
The thoracic spine often does not hurt, but that does not mean it is lacking in dysfunction. Improving mobility may happen rapidly with some tissue work, manipulation/mobilization or isometric manipulation. The whips are the perfect way to keep that motion.
2) Shoulder Whips
I started doing this on a patient who was getting benefits from thoracic ballistic whips, which got me thinking. That gets an area to end range comfortably and easily, why not other areas? This has become one of my go to pre workout resets for increased shoulder mobility. One contraindication, make sure no one is behind you, I almost decked someone prior to a 5K this past summer!
3) Shoulder Circles
This was an old favorite of mine that I used to prescribe for many shoulder patients prior to the shoulder whips and repeated extension.
4) Open Book
I shot these back to back and while I don't prescribe the circle as much, they are a great variation on open book for thoracic mobility while getting shoulder mobility at the same time. You can also combine that with some diaphragmatic breathing at end range of thoracic rotation in a shoulder circle arc for some great rib mobility as well.
5) Cervical retraction with sidebending overpressure to the ipsilateral side
Most people with shoulder issues feel "tightness" in their upper trap "stretch" it by sidebending away from the painful side. If there is a unilateral/ipsilateral sidebending loss to the side of pain, the cervical retraction and sidebending overpressure may improve their shoulder pain and improve their ROM rapidly.
Keeping it Eclectic!