Shoulder rolls are an excellent and easy stretch workout that helps to alleviate neck and shoulder tension.
It is a versatile exercise that you can perform at your convenience. All you need to execute this workout is your body!
Shoulder rolls are performed just as the name suggests- by rolling your shoulders towards your front and back to increase shoulder mobility and loosen the deltoid muscles.
Once you’ve executed the shoulder roll in one direction, do the same in a reverse fashion. The workout might seem funky- that’s ok.
Targeted Muscles: Front Delts. Medial Delts, Rear Delts, Traps
Secondary Muscles: Upper Chest
Required Equipment: No Equipment
Exercise type: Bodyweight and Stretching
Exercise Mechanics: Compound
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
- Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and plant your feet flat on the floor.
- Keep your arms by your sides. Turn your palms such that they face each other.
- Bend your knees slightly such that they align with your toes. Focus your gaze straight ahead and keep your neck straight.
- Inhale and raise your shoulders as high as you can go. Do this in a slow and controlled manner so that you can feel the muscle resistance.
- Exhale as you lower your shoulders and repeat.
- That’s a complete rep. Keep going!
If you are a beginner, aim for 3 sets of 10 reps. Increase the number of reps as you improve your technique.
Level up over time by doing 3 sets of 20 reps four times weekly.
If your aim of doing this workout is to alleviate neck and shoulder pains, begin slowly by doing a few sets of reps to avoid aggravating the nerve or injured area more.
- Be sure to note the upper back stretch as you roll your shoulders frontwards.
- When you roll your shoulders back, ensure you feel your chest rise and expand.
- Be sure to keep your back straight and chest lifted throughout the workout.
MUSCLES WORKED BY SHOULDER ROLLS
The main muscles that shoulder rolls target are the deltoid muscles. Shoulder rolls work the anterior, medial, and rear deltoids because they are the most engaged and are responsible for the rotating motion of the shoulder.
The other muscles targeted include the traps, which are located on the sides of your neck. They are responsible for moving the shoulder blades, the neck, and the upper back.
The synergists also serve a stability role. They contract as you perform the exercise to make you stable.
BENEFITS OF SHOULDER ROLLS
There are many physical and health benefits one can gain from doing shoulder rolls.
LOOSEN THE SHOULDERS AND UPPER BACK
If you often experience shoulder and back tightness, you should consider including shoulder rolls in your regular workout routine. Performing a few sets of shoulder rolls will have your neck and back feeling much better in a short time. Likewise, shoulder rolls help alleviate neck tension by allowing the flow of blood rich in oxygen and nutrients to your neck area.
POSTURE AND CHEST OPENING BENEFITS
Executing this drill necessitates you to maintain a proper posture, which consequently helps you develop a good posture. This workout is also known to loosen the tight muscles in the upper back and neck- the muscles often affected by poor posture.
If you feel tight around your chest, shoulder rolls will help move your shoulders back and release the tension in your chest to relieve you from the tightness.
GREAT FOR INDIVIDUALS DOING DESK JOBS
All the benefits mentioned above make this exercise a great alternative for people who do desk jobs and often experience back problems ranging from slouching to posture problems and other related issues. Alleviate these pains by doing shoulder rolls often.
ALTERNATIVES TO SHOULDER ROLLS
You can also choose from these alternative workouts that have the same benefits as those of shoulder rolls.
CROSS ARM STRETCH
- Assume a hip-width stance and raise your left arm towards your front at your chest height.
- Use your elbow crease to support your arm or use your free arm to support the raised arm.
- Stretch your shoulder outwards and keep your gaze forward. Hold the position for a minute.
- Repeat the motion on the opposite side.
STANDING ARM SWINGS
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and keep your arms straight to your sides. Turn your palms to face your body.
- Swing your arms frontwards and moving them as high as you can. Keep your shoulders stationary as you do this.
- Bring your arms back don while stretching them as far as you can.
- Keep your body in a stationary position.
- Carry on this motion for a minute.
MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN PERFORMING SHOULDER ROLLS
Much as shoulder rolls are easy to execute, there is still a possibility of error. Learn these common mistakes and avoid them to get the most from this workout.
RUSHING THE MOTION
Many exercisers often rush the motion to get the stretches done. You’ll gain more from this exercise if you take your time to perform the workout in a slow and controlled manner. Rushing the motion can make you overstretch, which may strain a muscle in turn causing problems that may need medical intervention.
DISENGAGING THE CORE
Ensure you keep your core engaged in all workouts you perform. Remember a strong and engaged core minimizes the chances of sustaining spinal injuries. Ensure you practice engaging your core whenever you work out, carry out normal daily activities, or even when you’re just sitting down.
ROUNDING THE BACK
Many people develop poor posture for many reasons ranging from long hours of doing desk jobs to slouching over laptops and phones. Shoulder rolls help to improve the posture unless, of course, you’re performing with the wrong technique. As you execute this drill, always ensure you maintain a neutral spine without arching your back.
Shoulder health is essential for general muscle health in working out and even in daily life. When your shoulders can’t keep up with the diverse range of motion that is necessary, the body will compensate by recruiting other muscles into overdrive. This is why it is important to train your shoulders often.
Make your safety a priority as you work out to minimize the chances of sustaining injuries. Sit down as you execute the workout if you feel the need to. You will still gain the benefits of this workout. Do not rush the motion or overdo the exercise. Start with a few reps and work your way up as you perfect your technique.
Take time to train your body. It will thank you for it.
All the best!