Tight Shoulders? Stick ‘Em Up | Print |  E-mail
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Wednesday, 08 February 2012 14:37


By Mitch Rothbardt

If there is one thing I see pretty regularly with my clients it’s tight shoulders.


Most everyone’s job these days involves lots of computer work, lots of sitting and most people’s lives involves a fair amount of stress. All of these things mess with our shoulders.


How? Well, what position are your arms in when you’re typing? Out in front of you.


Over time when our tissues are in a certain position they adapt to that position. What does that mean? In this case, with your arms in front of you, a few things are happening.


One is that the muscles in your chest are flexed and shortened. Another is that the muscles in your upper back are being stretched. Lastly, since you’re probably leaning forward to see your monitor better, your shoulders are probably hunched up.


What all this adds up to is an upper body position that lends itself to tension.  After all, what is the first thing that happens when we get tense? Our shoulders go up. That position locks up most of our upper body so it doesn’t move well. So instead of our upper body moving, our lower back has to. That means pain, and not just pain in our shoulders. Tight shoulders can absolutely lead to low back pain.


Here’s a simple test to see how mobile your shoulders are.


With your back against a wall, keep your butt and the back of your head against it. Now try to bring the back of your arms against the wall like someone told you to “Stick ‘Em Up.” Keep your arms against the wall all the way from your elbows to the tips of your fingers.


If you can bring your arms all the way back that’s pretty good. Now see if you can slide your arms up and down without losing contact with the wall. Do 10 reps.


I’ve just described an exercise called the Wall Slide. If you could do that easily then your shoulders have a decent amount of mobility. If you couldn’t do it then it’s something you need to work on.


Even if you can do it, but you have a job that involves sitting and computer work, try to get up and do a quick set of 10 every hour or so. You will feel how much more difficult it is after you’ve been in that bad position for so long.


Take a look at my video blog at MitchRFitness.com to see some more moves that can help your shoulders and let me know if you have any questions. Have a great day!


Mitch Rothbardt is a Certified Personal Trainer who offers weight-loss programs, bootcamps and individual training for all fitness levels and budgets. Reach him at 510-754-7113 or by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



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