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A Simple Shoulder Mobility Exercise Routine

You can do this routine anywhere; the benefit of doing it in a pool is the bit of resistance that your arms have to move through for parts of this routine, which promotes improved strength and is a good reminder to focus on taking your arms through controlled quality movement.

Begin with small arm circles, first going forward with your thumbs pointing forward, and then going backward with your thumbs pointing backward. About ten repetitions in both directions is typically enough to warm up the many tissues that surround the shoulder joints and scapulae.

Next, place your hands along the sides of your head and slowly bring your elbows together to touch in front of you, then move your elbows back as far as you comfortably can. Move back and forth between these two points - the goal is to feel your scapulae protracting and retracting with each repetition.

Follow this up with unilateral arm circles, forward and backward. Strive to keep your torso pointing forward, and as you take your arm through controlled circles, aim to keep it as close to your trunk as possible.

The final exercise in this routine involves raising both arms in front of you at the same time as high as you can comfortably take them - from that point, slowly bring your arms down toward your sides. Repeat this motion several times .

If tightness in your spine doesn't allow you to do this comfortably, stick with the first three exercises and work at the spinal mobility exercises at our video library until you have enough extension in your thoracic spine to allow for bilateral arm circles:

Spinal Mobility Exercises

For an overview of exercise progressions that you can work at to improve your mobility and balance in a systematic way, please feel free to visit our Mobility Exercise Progressions page here:

Mobility Exercise Progressions

For some suggestions on how to set up a simple workout area at home, please feel free to view:

Suggested Resources for a Home Gym


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While you're in the water of a swimming pool, especially a public one, your skin is absorbing chlorine and other chemicals. If we put a shower head in our bathrooms to filter out the horrible chlorine, why in the world would we soak our bodies with it in a swimming pool? I'm surprised you condone this a healthful way to exercise.