The sore shoulders from accumulated tension are one of the most common ailments in all types of athletes. And not only in athletes, the hours sitting in front of the computer or with the neck bent down because of the mobile screen are only the most common of the bad habits that can make us end up with heavy shoulders.
It does not matter if they are habitual athletes or sedentary people; the poor postural hygiene makes virtually no one is safe from the tension in this joint. In addition to the discomfort that they entail, loaded shoulders influence our posture, and make us more susceptible to long-term injuries or pain.
The solution is to take care of our postural hygiene both when exercising and throughout the day. However, it is not the only thing we can do for our shoulders and necks. There are exercises and stretches of different types that can help us eliminate that tension.
Here are some of them:
This is a basic but very practical stretch that can be done either standing or sitting, although if you have a choice, do it in a chair with a back.
Sit upright, with your back straight and your hands on your thighs. The feet should be in a natural position, both on the ground and without crossing the legs. From here, raise both shoulders at the same time, in the classic “I don’t know” movement.
Hold the tension for about two to three seconds, and gently lower your shoulders again. Do not take your hands off your thighs at any time, and make sure that the only thing that moves is your shoulders. Repeat the exercise 10 times.
2. Cervical mobility
The cervical vertebrae and their movements are closely related to the shoulders, so relaxing them also implies the relaxation of the latter. Some basic mobility stretches will not take you more than 5-10 minutes, and you will notice the results immediately.
To relax your neck, you can start from the same starting position as in the squat exercise. Turn your head from side to side, as if you wanted to make a negative movement. The movement should be smooth and fluid, without sudden gestures. After about 15 reps, move into a vertical shift as if to say yes, and then do the movements diagonally.
Finally, carry out full rotations with your head like a clock hand, 10 in each direction, and finish bringing your ear towards your shoulder, 10 times on each side.
3. Cervical and shoulder isometrics
The isometrics are always a great tool, especially when correcting bad posture and discomfort arising from them. For this exercise, start from the same starting position described in the first.
Raise one hand and rest it on the side of your head, slightly above and in front of your ear. Keep your elbow approximately level with your jaw or ear. Now press your head lightly, without using too much force: it is not about stressing your neck excessively. Hold that tension for 5-10 seconds, then release the tension, slowly lowering your arm again. Repeat the operation with the other hand, and then on the back and front of your skull.
The important thing in this exercise is to focus on the feeling of relaxation when you stop holding the tension.
4. Take care of your postural hygiene
It’s no secret, but it’s important to try to maintain good posture throughout the day. If you sit at a computer, do it with your back straight and without putting your skull forward. The same happens if you type on your mobile or are watching it for long periods of time, try to avoid the syndrome of the forward head and keep your spine in an upright and natural position.
In addition, when you have to turn, do not leave the work of this movement exclusively to the cervical: also rotate your trunk to save them forced movements.