Shoulder and Upper Arm

Targeted Muscles: Shoulders and upper arms
What You Need: Towel
Talk to Your Doctor: If you have shoulder problems, talk with your doctor before trying this stretch.
This exercise to increase flexibility in your shoulders and upper arms will help make it easier to reach for your seatbelt. If you have shoulder problems, talk with your doctor before trying this stretch.
  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold one end of a towel in your right hand.
  3. Raise and bend your right arm to drape the towel down your back. Keep your right arm in this position and continue holding on to the towel.
  4. Reach behind your lower back and grasp the towel with your left hand.
  5. To stretch your right shoulder, pull the towel down with your left hand. Stop when you feel a stretch or slight discomfort in your right shoulder.
  6. Repeat at least 3-5 times.
  7. Reverse positions, and repeat at least 3-5 times.

Safety

  • Avoid “locking” your joints. Straighten your arms and legs when you stretch them, but don’t hold them tightly in a straight position. Always keep them slightly bent while stretching.

  • Always stretch with a smooth, steady movement. Don’t jerk or bounce into the stretch; it may cause injury.

  • A mild pulling feeling while you are stretching is normal. If you feel sharp or stabbing pain or joint pain, you’re stretching too far. Reduce the stretch so it doesn’t hurt.

  • Always remember to breathe normally while holding a stretch.

  • Always warm up before stretching exercises. Stretching your muscles before they are warmed up can result in injury. If you are doing only stretching exercises, warm up with a few minutes of easy walking first. If you are doing endurance or strength exercises, stretch after, not before.

  • If you’ve had hip or back surgery, talk with your doctor before doing lower-back flexibility exercises.