The Reddit Shoulder Mobility Routine Explained

When it comes to workout routines, social media and forums are something of a double-edged blade. While they can provide a wealth of different options and ideas, none of what is on them is regulated, meaning anyone can share ineffective or even dangerous workout routines if they want.

This means even if you find one that does look good, you may, understandably, be a little reluctant to give it a try for yourself. However, there are some of these workouts that, over time, have been able to develop quite a following and be proven to be effective.

One such option is the Reddit Shoulder Mobility Routine. A workout dedicated to improving the flexibility and mobility of the user’s shoulder joints, it is something that can be used by anyone, no matter what their goals are. The main question is then, what exactly does it involve?

Well, that is exactly the topic of today’s article. So, if you want to have the Reddit Shoulder Mobility Routine explained in detail so that you can follow along and reap the rewards for yourself, you have come to the right place.

About The Reddit Shoulder Mobility Routine

The Reddit Shoulder Mobility Routine was originally posted in 2015 on Reddit’s r/flexibility forum. It was created by fitness influencer u/Antranik, who owns the website https://antranik.org/ and is perhaps best known for his extremely popular hamstring stretching program.

Having first discovered a love for fitness at the Original Muscle Beach, he quickly became obsessed with calisthenics and the movement arts. As he continued to grow in size, strength, and experience, he applied all he learned about the human anatomy to strength, mobility, and flexibility training.

He worked in financial services until the market crashed in 2008, where he found himself jobless, at which point he briefly went to nursing school and tried his hand at becoming a tutor. However, it was fitness that remained his true passion and he decided to use the current situation to change his life.

That is when he decided to set up his website and blog to help people get stronger and more flexible using bodyweight exercises and yoga. He also talks about the nutrition needed to support your training and help you achieve your goals while sharing inspirational and motivational posts to lift people up.

The routine itself uses a number of basic principles and exercises, which allow people to grow and push themselves as much as is necessary for each individual. This, combined with his wealth of knowledge and experience, make it a routine that can be used and trusted by people of all abilities. 

Week 1: Assess Your Shoulder Flexibility

When you begin week 1 of the Reddit Shoulder Mobility Routine, your first task is to establish your current level of shoulder flexibility. This means your ability to freely and easily move the shoulders throughout the entire range of motion of the joint.

Once your current level of shoulder flexibility has been established, the routine will then work on helping you to improve it with a range of dedicated stretches. These must all be performed slowly and carefully, to ensure no injuries occur, as the shoulder joint is known to be extremely delicate.

Recommended Exercises To Be Performed Every Day For Shoulder Flexibility

The following 6 exercises have been selected as their primary goal is to help you improve the overall flexibility of your shoulder joint. Each should be performed multiple times a day on 5 of the 7 days in week 1. Each time you do an exercise, you should also aim to complete 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps of it.

Band Shoulder Dislocates

Take a resistance band and hold it straight out in front of you with both hands, using an overhand grip, with your hands just outside of shoulder width apart. Make sure your shoulder blades are retracted and pulled together.

While keeping your arms straight, raise the band straight up over your head, maintaining its tension at all times. Once your arms are vertical, keep going back, with the aim being to lower the band down behind your back till it touches your butt.

Many people will need to widen their grip as they go to safely do this and you can rotate your hands as they move too, so you end with your palms facing front. Pause for a sec then raise the band back up in the same way you did, to begin with and slowly return it to the starting position and repeat.

Scapular Shrugs

Scapular shrugs begin by getting on your hands and knees, with arms totally straight and vertical, so that your back is flat and parallel with the floor. With only the muscles in the shoulders and back, you will now retract the shoulder blades and pull them together while keeping everything else still.

Now, using the same muscles, try to protract the shoulder blades and push them forwards as far as you can, which will cause your back to round and your arms to extend. When you have gone as far as you can, pause for a second, then continue retracting and protracting until the set is finished.

Child’s Pose With Lat Stretch

The child’s pose with lat stretch once again begins with you getting on your hands and knees. This time, however, your hands will be beneath your head or even slightly further forward than it, while also being shoulder-width apart or closer.

Keep your hands flat on the floor and ensure their position doesn’t change, then slowly sit back on your heels and go as far as you can while keeping your back straight. At the bottom of the rep, your arms will be scratched out in front of you, in line with your torso, with everything perfectly straight.

Hold this position perfectly still and feel a deep stretch in both your shoulders and lats. Once you have reached the required length, slowly shift your weight forwards off of your heels and return to the starting position.

Supine Arm Raised Slides

To do supine arm raised slides, start by lying flat on your back on the floor. Turn your hands into fists and put them on the knuckles and tops of the fingers on each side of your head. Your elbows should be roughly head-width apart and pointed at the ceiling while your hands can be slightly wider if needed.

Slowly begin to extend your arms upwards, away from your head, keeping your hands on the floor at all times. Once they have moved too far to keep the knuckles facing down, slowly start to rotate the hands, so that once you reach full extension with your arms, your hands will be sat on your thumbs.

Try to protract the shoulders up if you can, to slightly extend the arms more, and move the hands further from your head, before returning to the starting position in an identical fashion and repeating.

Floor Angels

Floor angels begin by getting in the starting position for a crunch, laying flat on your back with your knees bent and feet planted flat on the floor. Make a conscious effort to pull your stomach in, so that your entire back, from the base to your shoulder blades, is in constant contact with the floor.

Extend your arms straight out to the sides, so the backs of your hands are flat on the floor and, when the arms are fully extended, bend 90 degrees at the elbows, so that your hands are just slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. This is your starting position.

Now, while making sure to keep your back, arms, and hands all flat on the floor, slowly slide your hands up away from your head, making sure they move in a straight line and stay the same distance apart throughout the set.

Once you have gone as far as you can, pause momentarily and then begin to slide them back down. Go past the starting position and try to bring your elbows as close to your sides as possible. Again, pause at the bottom and then continue sliding up and down to alternate between the two positions.

Armpit Rolls With A Foam Roller

Armpit rolls with a foam roller will work to improve flexibility in both your back and shoulders. They are performed by lying on the floor on your side and extending the bottom arm out as far as you can, placing that hand flat on the floor, and putting a foam roller underneath your lat and armpit.

Place the foot of your top leg flat on the floor and let it take much of the weight of your lower body. Now, while keeping your arm extended, use that foot to slide your body up and down, so that the foam roller rolls the whole way across your armpit, from your tricep all the way down to your lat.

Make sure to go slowly and use small, rocking motions any time you get to particularly tender or stiff sections, to try and break down any knots in the muscle. Carry on till you feel completely rolled out or hit your set time limit, then flip over and do the exact same length and routine on the other side.

Week 2: Assess Your Shoulder Extension

In the second week of the Reddit Shoulder Mobility Routine, you will be focusing on establishing and improving your shoulder extension. While flexibility refers to the ease with which you can move the entire joint, extension is all about your ability to bring your arms behind your body.

The routine recommends using this video to test your shoulder extension capabilities at the start of the week. You can then gauge exactly where you are at and use the exercises from the program to improve.

It is also recommended that you continue to perform the shoulder flexibility exercises you were doing in week 1 each day as well, to ensure you don’t lose any of the progress you made there.

Recommended Exercises To Be Performed Every Day For Shoulder Extension Capability

The following 7 exercises are all designed to focus primarily on your shoulder extension capabilities. You should aim to perform them multiple times per day on 5 of the 7 days in week 2. Each time you perform an exercise, you should also aim to complete 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps of it.

Shoulder Rolls

Shoulder rolls are an extremely simple exercise designed to ascertain the level of mobility in your shoulder girdle, improve it, and even warm the entire region up before exercising. To begin, you simply need to stand upright, with your head up and shoulders back, displaying perfect posture.

Shrug your shoulders up to your ears and bring them as high as you can. Now, retract the shoulder blades to pull them together and bring your shoulders down behind your back. As you release the shoulder blades, allow the shoulders to move back towards your sides and drop them as you do so.

Now protract the shoulders, pushing them forwards and slightly up, before retracting and shrugging them again to bring them back to your ears and repeating the cycle. Try to envision hitting all four of the major points on a compass and get your shoulders to do complete circles with their movement.

Forward Fold With Shoulder Extension

A forward fold with shoulder extension is ideally performed while holding a stick, weight plate, or anything else that you can apply pressure to but keep your hands a set distance apart.

Begin by standing up straight and holding your chosen item behind you with both hands slightly narrower than shoulder-width apart, using an overhand grip. Keeping your back straight through the entire exercise, bend forward until your upper body goes just past parallel with the floor.

Now, tuck your chin in and try to raise the weight behind you, while keeping your arms straight. You want to move it as far as you can, which will ideally be at least further forward than your head. If you want to deepen the stretch, you can even try to bend forward more, bringing your chin to your knees.

Once you have reached the deepest stretch possible, hold the position for a few seconds, then slowly begin to ease out and return to the starting position. You want to gradually lower the weight first, then begin standing back up once it has reached a safe height and position.

Shoulder Extension While “Hanging Out” On A Bar

The shoulder extension while “hanging out” on a bar is a very challenging yet beneficial exercise, which is also known as the German Hang. While most people will perform it on a bar, it is actually both easier and safer to perform it on a pair of suspended rings, if you have access to some.

Whichever version you perform, you will begin by gripping your apparatus just outside of shoulder width apart with an overhand grip, roughly at head height, then lift the weight of your body off of the floor. Now, tuck your knees to your stomach and slowly start to lean back and rotate your body.

Keeping your hands still, feed your knees between your arms and allow your head to tip back. You will eventually go far enough that you can see the floor but continue rotating until you cannot safely go any further.

You ideally want to go till you can put your feet back on the floor. This will not only provide the deepest stretch possible but will also help you to support some of your weight, limiting the potential for injury.

If your feet are on the floor, you can simply let go at the end to complete the exercise. For everyone else, you must slowly rotate forwards, feeding your feet back through your arms as carefully as you can, to end the exercise the same way you began it.

Reverse Table Top To Reverse Plank

To do a reverse tabletop, begin by sitting on the floor and planting your feet flat on the ground. Put your hands flat on the floor, so that your arms are totally vertical, your hands are beneath your shoulders, and your fingers are pointing straight behind you.

Engage your glutes and use them to lift your hips off of the floor. Your entire body weight should now be supported on your hands and feet, and your body from your shoulders to your knees will be in a perfectly straight, horizontal line that is parallel to the floor. This is a reverse tabletop pose.

You should currently feel a small stretch in your shoulders and biceps. Now, slowly slide one foot away from you along the floor, going until the sole is completely elevated and the only part remaining on the floor is your heel. Once that is stable, proceed to do the same with the other foot.

Try to keep your core tense and engaged at all times. If you managed to keep your body from your knees to your shoulders totally straight throughout, you will now be forming a diagonal line with your body, which is known as the reverse plank pose.

This will create a much deeper stretch in your shoulders and biceps, as well as your pecs, while also working your core too. When you are ready to end the exercise, simply lower your butt slowly and carefully back to the ground and relax.

Subscapularis Stretch

The subscapularis stretch is a simple yet effective exercise that can be performed in a number of ways. Perhaps the easiest and most beneficial option will see you stand upright in a doorway and place your hand flat on the frame.

Your arm should be directly out to your side at shoulder height, with a 90-degree bend in your elbow, so that your fingers point towards the ceiling. Move forward ever so slightly, so that your hand is roughly in line with the back of your head.

Now slowly turn your torso away from the door, making sure to keep your hand and forearm flat on it. Go as far as you comfortably can, while ensuring a deep stretch in the chest and shoulder. The aim is to eventually reach a point where your arm can go to almost a 90-degree angle from your body.

Hold the pose still for the set amount of time, then slowly rotate back to the door to come out of it.

Puppy Dog Pose On The Floor

The puppy dog poses on the floor starts with your getting on your hands and knees. You want your hands to be roughly shoulder width apart and your upper legs to be leaning just slightly past vertical, towards your feet.

Slowly start to walk your hands forward but keep your legs completely still. This will cause your head to get lower and lower. Eventually, your forehead will touch the floor, at which point you should try to walk your hands a few inches further away, to achieve maximum extension of the shoulders.

At the bottom of the rep, your arms will be stretched out in front of you, in line with your torso, with everything perfectly straight and in line. Hold this position totally still to feel a deep stretch in your lats and shoulders, then slowly walk your hands back in to return to the starting position.

Two Minutes Of Increasing Thoracic Extension (Upper Back Bending) With A Foam Roller

A thoracic extension on a foam roller will help to improve your flexibility and extension capabilities in both your shoulders and upper back. To perform them, you start off by lying on the floor on your back with a foam roller carefully positioned under your upper back, in the thoracic spine region.

Bend your knees and put your feet flat on the ground, then allow your head to fall back just a little, so that you feel a small stretch in your neck. Lift your butt slightly off of the ground and start to roll back and forth, moving your feet to keep the foam roller on the thoracic spine area at all times.

When you hit any particularly tight or painful areas, repeatedly roll slowly back and forth over the affected spot until all the pressure and knots are gone. Continue going up and down for a full two minutes, making sure to completely work out the entire thoracic region of your spine.

Week 3: Combine Stretches From Weeks 1 & 2

In week 3, you will be following a routine that uses exercises you have already seen and, hopefully, mastered in the previous weeks. The idea behind this is that now you know your current ability, you can push yourself harder and try to make significant gains in both flexibility and extension capability.

While pushing yourself as hard as you can in the exercises is an easy yet effective way to do this, you can also adapt the exercises to make them more difficult or enable them to offer additional benefits.

For example, instead of doing floor angels, you can try to do wall extensions instead. This will see you do the exercise while in a wall sit position, with your lower back, elbows, and wrists flat to the wall. This will make the exercise more challenging and also provide benefits to the legs and core as well.

Exercises

The exercises in week 3 consist of moves you have already learned and performed in weeks 1 and 2, with one new addition (the underarm stretch), which we will look at at the bottom of this section.

Much like in week 1 and week 2, you will also want to perform them multiple times a day on 5 of the 7 days in week 3. Each time you do an exercise, you should also aim to perform 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps of it.

The sessions this week will also be longer, as they contain 9 exercises, as opposed to 6 in week 1 and 7 in week 2. The exercises you will be using in week 3 and the order in which you will be performing them are as follows:

  • Shoulder Rolls
  • Band/Stick Dislocates
  • Supine Arm Raised Slides
  • Forward Fold With Shoulder Extension
  • Reverse Table Top To Reverse Plank
  • Underarm Stretch (New For This Week)
  • Subscapularis Stretch
  • Childs Pose With Side Lat Stretch
  • Puppy Dog Pose On The Floor

Underarm Stretch Instructions

The sole new exercise in week 3, the underarm stretch is also known as the armpit stretch and helps to stretch out the shoulders, traps, lats, and triceps. To begin, you need to be either sitting or standing upright and turn your head 90 degrees, so your chin is over your shoulder.

Whichever direction you turned, lift that arm up so the upper arm is parallel with the floor and the forearm is pointed roughly 45 degrees towards you. This should look similar to if you were to flex your bicep.

You want to place the fingers of this hand on the crown of your head. If you can’t quite reach from this position, tilt your head down just a little, so your chin touches your shoulder you can. Gently apply pressure on your head with these fingers to push your head towards your armpit.

You should feel a stretch under your arm, in the back of your shoulder, and in your neck. Make sure not to apply too much pressure and don’t try and take the stretch too far, as both can hurt your neck. Simply go deep enough that you feel a reasonable stretch in all of the aforementioned areas.

Once you have held the position for the predetermined length of time, release your head and gently ease out of the stretch, then repeat the movement on the other side for the same duration.

Week 4: Share Your Favourite Stretch Or A Tip

The final week of the Reddit Shoulder Mobility Routine, week 4, features no new exercises. Instead, you just continue doing what you did in week 3 and adding in shoulder stretches you have found yourself, as the structure of this stage is more about sharing your own experiences with other users.

Followers are encouraged to share a shoulder stretch they particularly like or have been doing lately, whether it is part of the routine or not. They also request the same input for any tips people have for deepening a stretch and suggest sharing photos or videos you have to make yourself clear.

This allows more experienced users to push themselves and each other harder by offering a host of different exercises and combos to try. It also adds extra motivation, as seeing the results of others can help to spur people on, as can tip on how to make exercises you may be struggling with easier.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS) About Shoulder Mobility

Before we end our analysis of the Reddit Shoulder Mobility Routine, I want to go over some of the most frequently asked questions people have about it and shoulder mobility in general. This should ensure everyone knows all they need to stimulate improvements in their own shoulder mobility.

Why Does Shoulder Mobility Matter?

The shoulder joint is one of the most fragile and least stable joints in the human body. This is due to a combination of both its makeup and the rigors and activities that the average modern human lifestyle puts it through. 

Improving the range of motion in the shoulder joint helps to relieve much of the stress that it tends to come under on a regular basis. It also helps to fight stiffness and soreness after working out, as it prevents the area from becoming inflamed by movements outside of its comfortable range.

What Does Poor Shoulder Mobility Mean?

Mobility issues that occur in the shoulder joint can be caused by a number of different types of activity, as well as inactivity, which causes problems of its own, such as stiffness and muscular atrophy around it. 

Some of the most common types of shoulder mobility issues are a frozen shoulder, impingement, labrum tears, and rotator cuff tears. Instability and overuse of the joint cause many of these, while sharp movements beyond the joint’s comfortable range can too if its flexibility is too impaired.

How Long Does It Take To Get Flexible Shoulders?

If you work on your shoulder mobility, flexibility, and extension capabilities 5 days a week, you can start to see notable improvements in as little as 2 to 4 weeks.

You will continue to get more flexible over time as you practice, although the improvements will become more gradual and depend on how much time you dedicate to improving.

How Often Should You Do Shoulder Mobility Exercises?

The Reddit Shoulder Mobility Routine suggests that you perform the exercises 5 days a week, 3 to 5 times per day, for 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps. This suggestion is fairly standard and is in line with what is recommended in the majority of effective shoulder mobility programs.

Is It Too Late To Improve Flexibility?

It’s never too late to improve your flexibility, but it does become more difficult the older you get. As we age, our tendons and ligaments become more rigid, and the muscles and joints become stiff, which makes mobility more challenging.

It is, therefore, a good idea to start making improvements as soon as you can.

Final Thoughts

Increasing the mobility of your shoulders is always a good idea, whether you want to improve your physical performance or simply hope to enhance your overall physical health and well-being. For anyone hoping to do just that, the Reddit Shoulder Mobility Routine is a great option.

It is free, easy to access, uses mainly simple-to-do moves that require very little equipment, and sets everything out in an easy-to-understand structure. It even creates a community where people share their own experiences and ideas, making it equally suitable for both beginners and athletes alike.

Once you have improved your shoulder mobility, you can then even look to take things a little bit further. Maybe you want to learn how to do a handstand? Maybe you want to do calisthenics? Whatever you want to do, what is certain is poor shoulder mobility won’t hold you back anymore.

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