Shoulder stretching: exercises, tips and how to do them

stretching spalle

Stretching: the part that many athletes “forget” at the end of training but which turns out to be essential for relaxing your muscles.

Today you will see the benefits of stretching, understand why you should always do it after training your shoulders and discover some exercises you can do as early as the next session.

We’ll also talk about the importance of warming up before putting strain on your muscles and especially your shoulders.

I know, stretching makes you think you’re wasting time when you just want to go straight to the shower after you’re done. By the end of this article, however, you will change your mind and stretching will become your best friend.

Don’t believe us ? Let’s see together…


Stretching will bring you many benefits, not only for training but also in everyday life.

First benefit: it relaxes you.

During these stretching exercises, you will decrease the tension in your muscles and lower your heart rate. Put simply: you’ll calm down. 

The stress accumulated during the day will disappear and you will feel light as a feather.

To achieve this state, you need to breathe naturally in a comfortable position. Stretching is not about being uncomfortable, on the contrary, it aims to release the tension you have in your body, so you don’t have to find yourself with unnatural poses.

Thanks to stretching, you will regain the correct posture.

If during the day we hold positions that are uncomfortable, but above all harmful, for our body, the muscles begin to shorten. With stretching, you will stretch them and make the muscles of your back, pelvis, and legs more flexible.

You will then be able to regain the right posture that you will hold during the day effortlessly.

Day after day you will benefit more and more.

Stretching your muscles consistently will also lead you to improve your elasticity, coordination, and flexibility. Benefits that are certainly important for training and in everyday life.

girl doing shoulder stretching

In short, stretching should not only be done by athletes but by all of us.

Plus, it rejuvenates you.

No, it is not the fountain of eternal youth but it improves your ability to move and joint lubrication. In this way, it helps to keep the joints young and slows down the aging of the cartilage.

Stretching truly benefits everyone without making age differences.

Shoulder training: mistakes not to make

What we don’t recommend you do is to train your shoulders without first doing some healthy warm-up, but why?

Stretching your muscles before putting them under stress prevents the emergence of muscle contractures. In a nutshell, you will avoid having injuries.

Think, for example, of complex and delicate shoulder exercises, such as bench presses with a barbell or push-offs on an incline bench press with dumbbells, where the shoulder joint is involved. Here, a good warm-up will avoid causing you injuries by starting to load your shoulders without first warming them properly.

You have to warm up the muscle and only then start training it, otherwise the only thing you will achieve is to really hurt yourself.

All experts agree that straining the muscle in cold is never a good idea.

Warm up first and prepare your muscles for the effort.

The warm-up will then give the muscle greater mobility and therefore greater rom of movement.

Never start directly from the movement but stretch the individual parts. This will make the sequence of the movement smoother and give you more depth.

We recommend that you do an aerobic warm-up with an intensity below the maximum. Then perform some amplitude dynamic stretching and, finally, some specific gestures for your sport or the muscles you are going to train.

However, the pre-workout stretching part should be very short.

The downside of having a long stretching session is excessive relaxation of the muscle which will lead to reduced tension.

This is also something to avoid before training.

And what about after training ?

If you wanted to run at home or in the shower, we recommend waiting a few minutes and doing a full stretch to relax your muscle tone.

Thanks to stretching, you will rebalance blood circulation, leading to muscle regeneration. The lactic acid will be reabsorbed and you will avoid aches and pains the next day that do not please anyone.

At the end of the workout, static stretching is the best solution.

Now that we understand why you need to stretch, how do you do it ?

How to stretch

boy doing shoulder stretching
Muscular male athlete doing stretching exercise, back view, fitness workout. Strong sportsman in park

Before we talk about exercises, we want to give you some suggestions.

In static stretching, you need to reach the position slowly. Inhale before starting the movement and then exhale in the meantime.

Hold the position for a few seconds without reaching the extreme stretch. Only after the muscle gets used to the position can you stretch it to the maximum and stay for about 15-30 seconds, so that the muscle relaxes completely.

When stretching you should never feel pain.

When stretching, you should never feel pain.

Stretching positions are natural and should allow you to relax, not hurt yourself.

The last tip is about clothing. Wear comfortable clothes that allow you to make very large movements and breathe without difficulty.

You need to feel free to move at your best without constraints or limitations.

Now let’s move on to the practical.

Shoulder exercises: how to do a good stretch

Now we suggest some exercises to do after your workout to relax your shoulders.

The first exercise we recommend is the circumduction of your arms.

Stand with your back straight and begin to rotate your arms while keeping them straight. They have to move in the same direction at the same time in parallel, almost as if there were a mirror.

Make sweeping movements and create large circles. Continue for about a minute, then reverse direction and start again.

Another exercise is neck stretching.

Again, you’re standing with your shoulders relaxed. Begin to rotate your head slowly, trying to remove any tension and warm your neck well. Then change direction.

Afterwards you can do the shoulder circles.

Start in the same position as before, with your arms relaxed along your body. Then shrug your shoulders and bring them back in a wide, circular motion. Continue the exercise for one minute and then reverse direction.

For the fourth exercise that we suggest, you have to lie on your stomach on the floor keeping your arms open and straight with your shoulder snug on the ground.

At this point, place one hand on the floor and bend your arm at 90°, slowly and gently stretching your shoulder still resting on the ground.

To get better at the exercise and make it more fluid, we recommend that you turn your torso as you continue with the movement.

If you want a bit of a special exercise, you can try pendulum stretching instead.

Simply put, you start standing with relaxed shoulders. From here, lean forward slightly and let one arm dangle. Begin to swing it in small circles in a completely relaxed way.

You really have to let yourself go to the movement, almost as if your arm is dead.

Continue for a minute and then change direction.

Your back should always be well stretched: it will prevent you from maintaining a wrong posture.

An excellent position for stretching comes from yoga and is the child’s pose or balasana.

In this case, you start on the ground on your knees. You’ll want to use a mat to stay comfortable.

Begin to stretch your hands forward by resting your torso on your legs and slowly bring your hands further and further apart. This movement will make your back stretch and relax your shoulders by taking away all the accumulated tension.

To perform the exercise at its best, breathe deeply, focusing on stretching all the parts of your body that feel stiff.

If you have a wall bars, move on to these two exercises.

For the first one you have to stand with your back to the backrest and bring your arms back until you grab the lower bar, standing straight with your back.

Then arch forward and slowly bend your knees as you lower yourself.

This is a great exercise to stretch your arms.

If you want to relax your back you can stand with your forehead facing the backrest. At this point, bend over and form a 90° angle by gripping the bar at the right height.

If you are too close, move your feet away and bring your back to stretch.

To increase the tension even more, you can rotate your torso or place your feet to the side to do a concentrated stretch on one part of your back.

You can also get down on your knees and let gravity work for you or use a bench press.

Now that you’ve seen how to relax your shoulders after training all you have to do is know what exercises to do to have strong and broad shoulders. If you are curious, we recommend that you read this article that explains some movements you can do to train your shoulders.


Today we talked about stretching, its benefits and why it’s so essential to do it post-workout, as well as the importance of warming up before a session.

If you needed some ideas to know how to relax your shoulders now you have it, all you have to do is start exercising !



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