From my work I know a number of people that need to get their shoulders more mobile. I often work on this in classes and participants hear me talk about sewing machines and wings on your back such things as I attempt to describe the ways to move the scapula in particular (shoulder blade).
If you’ve ever felt stuck around the shoulder blades or have had knots around this area you definitely are not alone! In my thai yoga massage practice as well as in yoga classes this is one of the more predominant issues I hear about. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve held someone in an “FBI lock” while pressing my elbow into the muscles along the shoulder blade!
So, here are a few ways to open up this area. Two I have videos for, the others I’ll describe.
Laying on the floor on your back with knees bent, arms at side with palms facing the ceiling, slowly arc the arms out to the sides keeping them on the floor and straight until they are reaching above your head – like making snow angels. Bring them back down to the sides and then repeat several times. You’ll be surprised by a couple of things: 1, you may not be able to keep your arm straight throughout the movement, and 2, you can’t keep your arm on the floor the entire way around. Keep practicing and eventually it’ll get easier. Do about 10 each time.
For the next two you will use a wall. Standing at the wall with your palm pressed into it at shoulder height, begin to move away from your hand slowly until you feel a stretch in your bicep in the upper arm. Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds. This is more for the biceps and into the chest, but will help with the shoulder mobilization as well.
Still at the wall, this time with the back pressed against the wall and a bend in the knees, put your arms into a cactus position: elbows bent at 90 degrees, shoulder height and hands up the wall. Slowly bring the hands down into an up side down cactus with palms against the wall and then back up. Repeat this about 10 times.
These five movements will slowly bring about a normal range of motion in those who have been stuck and perhaps a greater range for others. It’s great for athletes, those working at desks and anyone who drives a great deal in particular. Try it out and let me know what you think!