Fitness · Health

Fitness Saturday: Healthy Shoulders — Relaxed, Stable, and Strong

Jonathan for web

Jonathan Urla, a certified advanced health and fitness specialist, shares exercises to maintain strong and healthy shoulders.


Many people walk around with their shoulders elevated and tense. Perhaps you yourself have noticed that you carry some serious tension up there, but you’ve almost gotten used to the discomfort. Tension, misalignment, and dysfunction in the shoulders are quite common and can eventually lead to debilitating conditions of the shoulder, such as frozen shoulder, impingement, and rotator cuff injury. If you experience any sharp pain when you lift your arm over your head, you could have one of these conditions and you should see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.

Even without any injury or stiffness in the shoulders, most people don’t know how to properly stabilize the shoulder girdle and strengthen the muscles so that their shoulders will be healthy and less prone to injury when they exercise and do recreational activities. The reality is that whenever we use our upper bodies to do something, it will invariably involve the shoulder joint and musculature. Learning to relax your shoulders is the first step, and then doing a balanced set of exercises that enhances the structural integrity of the shoulders will help to make them move and feel better.

These first two exercises will help to loosen and relax your shoulders as well as allow you to see how mobile your shoulders currently are.

A. Shoulder Circles: Stand in front of a mirror and push your shoulders forward, then up as high as you can, then back, and finish in neutral again. Take full breaths as you do four big shoulder circles in one direction, and then reverse the circles. Look for full range of motion and for keeping the arms straight. Note: its normal to hear some clicking in your shoulders as you move them around.


B. Arm Reaches with Shrugs: Reach your right arm up toward the ceiling. Keep it up and shrug your right shoulder up and down four times. Each time you bring your shoulder back down, feel your shoulder blade lower down your back and your arm plug back into your shoulder socket. Lower the arm and repeat with the left arm.


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  • Jenny November 14, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    While watching the videos I was doing these exercises and they really helped. I have a really stressful job and it is only lately that I have begun to realize that I keep a lot of tension in my shoulders. These exercises help me to relax. I was overweight a few years ago so I know the effects that stress can have on your body I lost 65 pounds and you could read it on my blog here Stress in any part of your body can really mess with you mentally. Thanks for the great exercises.