Best 10 Exercises To Help Ease Shoulder Discomfort And Enhance Flexibility

Best 10 Exercises To Help Ease Shoulder Discomfort And Enhance Flexibility
  • PublishedFebruary 19, 2024

If you experience shoulder pain or tightness, you’re not alone. It affects a significant portion of adults, causing discomfort and limited mobility. But the good news is that incorporating specific exercises into your routine can help relieve pain, improve flexibility, and strengthen the shoulder muscles.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the top 10 exercises that target the shoulder joint, alleviate discomfort, and enhance flexibility. Whether you’re seeking relief from chronic shoulder issues or simply looking to improve your range of motion, these exercises are designed to bring greater comfort and ease to your movements.

Let’s dive into the world of shoulder exercises and discover the ones that can make a real difference in your daily life. Say goodbye to shoulder discomfort and hello to a more flexible and pain-free you.

Key Takeaways:

  • Shoulder exercises can help ease discomfort, improve flexibility, and relieve pain in the shoulder joint.
  • Incorporate these 10 exercises into your routine to increase your range of motion and prevent future shoulder injuries.
  • Start with a 10-minute routine and gradually increase the duration as you get stronger and more flexible.
  • If you experience severe pain or discomfort, consult a doctor or physical therapist for further evaluation.
  • exercises to help ease shoulder discomfort, shoulder exercises, improve flexibility, relieve pain, shoulder joint

Across-the-chest stretch

The across-the-chest stretch is an effective exercise for increasing flexibility and range of motion in the shoulder joint and surrounding muscles. This stretch specifically targets the chest and shoulder muscles, providing a deep and satisfying stretch.

To perform the across-the-chest stretch:

  1. Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms relaxed at your sides.
  2. Start by bringing your right arm across your chest.
  3. Place your right arm in the crease of your left elbow or use your left hand to support your right arm.
  4. Gently pull your right arm towards your chest, feeling a stretch in your shoulder and chest.
  5. Hold this position for up to 1 minute, allowing your muscles to gradually release and relax into the stretch.
  6. Repeat the stretch on the opposite side, bringing your left arm across your chest and supporting it with your right hand or the crease of your right elbow.
  7. Do each side 3-5 times to fully reap the benefits of this stretch.

To intensify the stretch, lift your arm to shoulder height while keeping it across your chest. This will further increase the stretch and engage additional muscles in your shoulder and chest area.

Benefits of the Across-the-Chest Stretch

The across-the-chest stretch offers several benefits:

  • Increased flexibility: This stretch helps to lengthen and loosen tight shoulder muscles, improving overall flexibility.
  • Improved range of motion: By regularly performing this stretch, you can gradually increase your shoulder joint’s range of motion, allowing for smoother and more comfortable movements.
  • Strengthening of shoulder muscles: Although primarily a stretching exercise, the across-the-chest stretch also engages and strengthens the muscles in your shoulders.
Benefits of the Across-the-Chest Stretch
Increased flexibility
Improved range of motion
Strengthening of shoulder muscles

Neck release

The neck release exercise is a gentle way to loosen tension in your neck and shoulders. This simple stretch can help alleviate discomfort and promote relaxation. Follow these steps to effectively perform the neck release:

  1. Start by sitting in a comfortable position with your back straight and shoulders relaxed.
  2. Lower your chin slowly toward your chest, feeling a gentle stretch along the back of your neck.
  3. Tilt your head to the left, aiming to stretch your right shoulder. Hold this position for up to 1 minute, allowing the muscles to gradually release tension.
  4. Repeat the stretch on the opposite side by tilting your head to the right.
  5. Perform this stretch on each side 3-5 times, focusing on the sensations and gradually deepening the stretch with each repetition.
  6. To further enhance the stretch, you can place your right hand on your right shoulder and gently guide the movement by placing your left hand above your right ear.

Benefits of Neck Release:

The neck release exercise offers several benefits for relieving tension and promoting relaxation in your neck and shoulders:

  • Loosens tension: By gently stretching the neck muscles, the neck release exercise helps release built-up tension and promotes a sense of relaxation.
  • Improves flexibility: Regularly performing the neck release exercise can enhance the flexibility of your neck and shoulders, allowing for a wider range of motion.
  • Targets right shoulder: The stretch involved in the neck release exercise specifically targets the right shoulder, helping to alleviate any tightness or discomfort in that area.

Next up, we’ll explore another effective exercise for improving shoulder flexibility and relieving discomfort: the chest expansion exercise.

Chest expansion

The chest expansion exercise is an effective way to improve flexibility and increase the range of motion in your shoulders. By incorporating this exercise into your routine, you can promote better shoulder mobility and relieve tightness in the chest muscles.

To perform the chest expansion exercise, stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold an exercise band, strap, or towel behind your back with both hands. Make sure your palms are facing forward.

Now, broaden your chest by moving your shoulder blades toward each other. This movement will create a gentle stretch in your chest and shoulders. As you do this, lift your chin and look up toward the ceiling, maintaining a neutral spine.

Hold this position for up to 30 seconds, feeling the stretch in your chest and upper back. Repeat the exercise 3-5 times to fully benefit from the chest expansion stretch.

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To intensify the stretch, you can bring your hands closer together along the towel or strap. This will further engage the muscles in your chest and shoulders, helping to improve flexibility and range of motion.

Benefits of Chest Expansion Instructions
  • Improves flexibility in the chest and shoulder muscles
  • Increases range of motion in the shoulder joint
  • Promotes better posture
  • Relieves tension and tightness in the chest
  1. Stand tall with feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold an exercise band, strap, or towel behind your back with both hands.
  3. Broaden your chest by moving your shoulder blades toward each other.
  4. Lift your chin and look up toward the ceiling.
  5. Hold for up to 30 seconds and repeat 3-5 times.

By incorporating the chest expansion exercise into your regular workout routine, you can improve flexibility, increase your range of motion, and experience greater comfort in your shoulder movements. Remember to always listen to your body and perform the exercise within your comfort and flexibility levels.

chest expansion

Eagle arms spinal rolls

The eagle arms spinal rolls exercise is a great way to stretch your shoulder muscles and improve flexibility. This exercise can help alleviate tension and tightness in the shoulders, promoting better range of motion and overall comfort. Here’s how to perform the eagle arms spinal rolls:

  1. Start by sitting comfortably on the floor or a yoga mat.
  2. Extend your arms out to the sides, parallel to the floor.
  3. Cross your elbows in front of your body, with your right arm on top.
  4. Bend your elbows, bringing the backs of your forearms and hands together.
  5. Reach your right hand around to bring your palms together.
  6. Hold this position for 15 seconds, feeling the stretch in your shoulder muscles.
  7. On an exhale, begin to roll your spine, drawing your elbows in toward your chest.
  8. On an inhale, open your chest and lift your arms back up.
  9. Continue rolling your spine and lifting your arms for 1 minute.
  10. Repeat the exercise, this time crossing your elbows with your left arm on top.

This exercise can be repeated multiple times as part of your stretching routine. It’s important to listen to your body and only stretch to a comfortable level without any pain. Incorporating the eagle arms spinal rolls into your regular workout or stretching routine can help maintain healthy shoulder muscles and enhance your overall flexibility. Give it a try!

Benefits of Eagle Arms Spinal Rolls Tips for Proper Execution
  • Stretches shoulder muscles
  • Improves flexibility
  • Relieves tension in the shoulders
  • Promotes better range of motion
  • Enhances overall comfort
  • Start with light stretches and gradually increase intensity
  • Listen to your body and avoid any pain or discomfort
  • Breathe deeply throughout the exercise to enhance relaxation
  • Engage your core for stability and proper alignment
  • Repeat on both sides for balanced muscle development

Seated twist

The seated twist exercise is a great way to stretch your shoulders and neck, promoting flexibility and relieving tension. To perform this exercise, follow these steps:

  1. Sit in a chair with your ankles directly under your knees.
  2. Keep your hips facing forward and allow the twist to start in your lower back.
  3. Twist your upper body to the right, bringing the back of your left hand to your thigh.
  4. Place your right hand down wherever it’s comfortable.
  5. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds, feeling the stretch in your shoulders and neck.
  6. Repeat the twist on the left side, doing each side 3-5 times.

Remember to breathe deeply and relax into the stretch. This seated twist exercise is a gentle yet effective way to increase flexibility in your shoulders and neck, helping to relieve tension and improve overall mobility.

Shoulder circles

The shoulder circles exercise is an effective warm-up exercise that targets the shoulder joints and increases flexibility. It helps to prepare your shoulders for more challenging movements and activities, reducing the risk of injury and promoting optimal performance. By incorporating shoulder circles into your warm-up routine, you can improve the range of motion in your shoulder joints and enhance overall flexibility in the upper body.

shoulder circles

To perform shoulder circles, start by standing with your left hand on the back of a chair to stabilize yourself. Allow your right hand to hang down by your side. Begin by circling your right hand in a clockwise direction, making five complete rotations. Then, reverse the direction and circle your right hand counterclockwise for another five rotations. Repeat this exercise on the opposite side by placing your right hand on the back of the chair and circling your left hand. Aim to perform this exercise 2-3 times per day to effectively warm up your shoulder joints and increase flexibility.

Benefits of Shoulder Circles

Shoulder circles provide several benefits to your shoulder joints and upper body:

  • Increased Flexibility: The circular motion of shoulder circles helps to stretch and lengthen the muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder joints. This promotes improved flexibility and range of motion.
  • Improved Shoulder Joint Mobility: Regularly performing shoulder circles helps to lubricate the shoulder joints, reducing joint stiffness and promoting better mobility.
  • Enhanced Warm-up: With its dynamic nature, shoulder circles effectively warm up the shoulder muscles and prepare them for more intense activities and exercises.
  • Reduced Muscle Tension: By releasing tension and tightness in the shoulders, shoulder circles can help alleviate discomfort and promote relaxation in the upper body.

Include shoulder circles as part of your warm-up routine to reap these benefits and optimize your shoulder health and performance.

Exercise Instructions
Shoulder Circles Stand with one hand on the back of a chair. Allow the opposite hand to hang down. Circle the hanging hand clockwise and then counterclockwise for five rotations each. Repeat on the opposite side.

Doorway shoulder stretch

The doorway shoulder stretch is a highly effective exercise that targets multiple muscles in the upper body. It not only opens your chest but also strengthens your shoulders, improving posture and overall upper body mobility.

To perform the doorway shoulder stretch:

  1. Stand in a doorway, facing forward.
  2. Position your elbows and arms at a 90-degree angle, forming a goalpost shape.
  3. Step your right foot forward, allowing it to rest just outside the doorway.
  4. Place your palms on the sides of the door frame, at shoulder height.
  5. Lean your body weight forward, engaging your core muscles.
  6. Feel the stretch in your chest and shoulders as you hold this position for up to 30 seconds.
  7. After the designated time, release the stretch and repeat the exercise with your left foot forward.
  8. Perform the doorway shoulder stretch on each side 2-3 times to fully reap the benefits.

This exercise opens up your chest, counteracting the effects of prolonged sitting and slouched posture. Additionally, the stretching and strengthening of the shoulder muscles contribute to better shoulder stability and function.

Remember to maintain proper form and listen to your body during the stretch. If you experience any pain or discomfort, adjust your position or discontinue the exercise. As with any exercise, it’s recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before starting a new routine, especially if you have any underlying shoulder or chest conditions.

Doorway shoulder stretch

Practice the doorway shoulder stretch regularly to achieve an open chest and strengthen your shoulders, enhancing your overall upper body flexibility and mobility.

Downward Dog Pose

The downward dog pose is an inversion pose that strengthens and stretches the muscles in your shoulders and back. It is a fundamental yoga pose that is often used as a transitional pose or part of a sequence.

To perform the downward dog pose:

  1. Start on your hands and knees, with your hands shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width apart. Spread your fingers wide and press your palms firmly into the ground.
  2. Tuck your toes under and lift your knees off the ground, straightening your legs as much as possible without locking your knees.
  3. Press into your hands and shift your weight back, lifting your hips up towards the ceiling. Your body should form an upside-down V shape.
  4. Keep your arms straight and your shoulder blades wide apart. Relax your neck and let your head hang naturally between your arms.
  5. Focus on lengthening your spine and pressing your heels towards the ground. If your heels don’t reach the floor, it’s okay to keep a slight bend in your knees.
  6. Breathe deeply and hold the pose for up to one minute.

The downward dog pose provides many benefits, including:

  • Strengthening the shoulders and arms: The weight-bearing nature of the pose strengthens the muscles in your shoulders and arms, increasing their stability and power.
  • Stretching the entire back: The pose elongates and stretches the muscles along your spine, from your neck all the way down to your lower back. This can improve flexibility and alleviate tension and discomfort in the back.
  • Opening the hamstrings and calves: By elevating your hips and pressing your heels towards the ground, the downward dog pose stretches the muscles in the back of your legs, promoting flexibility and relieving tightness.
  • Improving overall body alignment: The pose encourages proper spinal alignment and strengthens the muscles that support good posture, helping to prevent or alleviate shoulder, neck, and back pain.

Remember to listen to your body and modify the pose as needed. If you have wrist or shoulder issues, you can use props like blocks or a folded blanket to support your hands.


Incorporating these 10 simple exercises into your routine can help ease shoulder discomfort, relieve pain, and improve flexibility. By practicing these exercises three to six times per week, you can increase your range of motion and prevent future shoulder injuries. Start with a 10-minute routine and gradually increase the duration as you get stronger and more flexible. Remember, if you experience pain beyond mild discomfort, it’s important to discontinue the exercises and consult a doctor or physical therapist for further evaluation.


Q: Can these exercises be done at home?

Yes, these exercises can be done at home. They require minimal equipment, such as exercise bands or straps, and can be easily incorporated into your daily routine.

Q: Are there any precautions I should take while doing these exercises?

It is important to listen to your body and not push through excessive pain. If you have a pre-existing shoulder injury or chronic shoulder pain, it is recommended to consult a medical professional before attempting these exercises.

Q: Can these exercises help with frozen shoulder?

These exercises can help improve flexibility and range of motion in a frozen shoulder. However, it is best to consult a physical therapist for specific exercises and stretches tailored to your condition.

Q: How long does it take to see results from these exercises?

The time it takes to see results can vary depending on the individual. Consistency is key, so it is important to regularly incorporate these exercises into your routine for several weeks to experience improvements in shoulder pain and tightness.

Q: Can these exercises be done by people of all fitness levels?

Yes, these exercises are generally suitable for people of all fitness levels. However, it is important to start with caution and listen to your body. Modify the exercises as needed to suit your individual needs and abilities.

Q: What are some common causes of shoulder pain?

A: Some common causes of shoulder pain include overuse, rotator cuff injuries, and poor posture.

Q: What are the best exercises and stretches to relieve shoulder pain?

A: Some effective exercises and stretches to relieve shoulder pain include shoulder blade squeezes, shoulder rotations, doorway stretches, and cross-body arm stretches.

Q: How can exercises help in strengthening the shoulder muscles?

A: Exercises such as shoulder presses, lateral raises, and rows can help strengthen the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint, providing more stability and support.

Q: What are some mobility exercises that can help improve shoulder flexibility?

A: Mobility exercises like arm circles, shoulder shrugs, and wall slides can help improve shoulder flexibility and range of motion.

Q: How can I prevent shoulder discomfort and injuries?

A: You can prevent shoulder discomfort and injuries by maintaining good posture, avoiding overuse of the shoulder joint, and incorporating regular shoulder strengthening and stretching exercises into your routine.

Q: Are there specific exercises to help with pain in the front or back of the shoulder?

A: Yes, exercises like internal and external rotations can help with front-of-the-shoulder pain, while exercises like reverse flys and scapular retractions can target the back of the shoulder.

Q: What should I do if I feel pain while doing shoulder exercises?

A: If you feel any pain while doing shoulder exercises, stop immediately and consult a healthcare professional. Pain during exercise could indicate an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

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