SSMI Shoulder Mobility Tips

Shoulder mobility is one of the keys to maintaining healthy shoulders.  Mobility differs from flexiblity because it is the useable range of motion.  Shoulder mobility is important for elite athletes performing overhead movements as well as the aging population being able to reach above head.  Here are some of our favorite exercises to help improve shoulder mobility:

  • TRX Suspension Trainer Arm Circles - maintain tension through the strap and allow the strap to pull your arms back as you walk forwards and backwards.  The key is to allow the strap to pull you into a deeper range of motion.
  • PVC Pass Throughs - start with a wide grip and bring the PVC pipe over your head.  If you have poor shoulder mobility you may not be able to reach all the way behind at first, which is okay.  The wider the grip is the easier it will be to complete the movement.  To challenge yourself, try to bring your hands closer together.  Another alternative method is to use a resistance band or theraband instead of the PVC pipe.  If you have poor mobility start with a very light band.  This should help you ease in to the movement.  For advanced mobility, try using a stronger band.  This will help strengthen the back muscles as you work on mobility.  
  • PVC Rotations - This will be very similar to the PVC pass throughs, but focusing on one arm at a time.  This is a rotational movement that can be reversed to both directions.   To get a deeper stretch, pull down with the bottom arm and allow the uppoer hand to stretch higher through the torso and lats. 

Start with 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions per exercise.  This can aslo be used as part of your warm up for upper body exercises as well as part of a targeted mobility/ flexiblity program.  It is always a good idea to get a medical evaluation if you are in pain or are experiencing limited range of motion.  SSMI will be here to guide you on your health and fitness journey!


-Alex Edwards, CEP, CSCS

Exercise Physiologist


Disclaimer:  Articles are based on real cases seen at Scottsdale Sports Medicine. The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only. Please consult your medical professional for individualized healthcare.