With our world functioning within the advancement of technology, we are all typically sitting all day in a forward head posture and rolled-forward shoulders (In fact, I’m doing this as we speak). This in the long run will cause a lot of difficulties and will cause chronic pain and injuries. One of the first functional movements that go in the shoulders is being able to reach your other hand behind your back. If you cannot do this movement, it will make the functionality of your life a bit more difficult, such as reaching to be able to put on your bra or scratch that really itchy part of your back.
One fun trick to be able to give yourself mobility with internal rotation of your shoulder is to do something called contract/relax. This is a Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) technique and is super easy to use almost anywhere in your body to increase mobility in your muscles and joints and therefore increase your range of motion (ROM).
Follow the steps below to give this technique a try!
- Grab a towel or yoga strap and place it in one hand, then put that arm over your head and behind your back (like the picture shows below).
- Grab the end of the towel or strap with your other hand at hip height.
- Pull up with the hand above to cause the one below to come up and cause a stretch in the shoulder of the bottom hand. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds.
- Once the 10 seconds is done, now you are going to pull down with the bottom hand but the top hand is going to resist the movement, causing an isometric contraction (contracting the muscles without moving the joints). Hold this contraction with your bottom hand for 5 seconds.
- Now repeat this process of contracting and relaxing between the two hands for 4-5 reps.
- Then let the rope or towel go and try reaching for your other hand again and experience the magic of science!
- Repeat and try this with your other shoulder.
Pretty cool eh?
Here is a video of how I did this, the full video can also be found here.