Your shoulders are the joints with the greatest range of motion, allowing you to move your arms in different directions. However, especially through sitting, the shoulders tend to get stiff and can lose their mobility overtime. This not only leads to chronic pain and built up tension but can also negatively impact your technique during exercises such as jumping jacks, push ups and pullups. Just because you don’t feel any pain in your shoulders, this doesn’t mean they are as mobile as they should be. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Take the shoulder mobility test and find out in just 2 minutes how healthy your shoulder joints really are.
First things first: The anatomy of your shoulders
Before we test the mobility of your shoulders, it’s important to understand why they need to stay flexible. In comparison to other joints, our shoulders are much more unstable, enabling us to move our arms and hands into many different directions. Each movement requires a number of muscles and ligaments to work together. That’s why, when talking about training your shoulder muscles, we actually mean not only one but a whole series of muscles. The main group makes up the so-called rotator cuff with it’s S.I.T.S. muscles: the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. Sounds very scientific doesn’t it? That’s because it is - but at the same time, the role these muscles play can easily be explained when thinking about the movements of your shoulders and arms:
- The supraspinatus is involved when lifting your arms and holding them out to the side.
- The infraspinatus comes into play when you rotate your arms outwards.
- The teres minor is also involved in the process of rotating your arms outwards but also needed when bending your arms.
- The subscapularis is activated when you brace your arms, lift them to the front or rotate them inwards.
As you can see, the shoulder is quite a complex joint and as it is involved in so many different movements and exercises. Even the movements you don’t think require your shoulder joint, most likely do. Take front squats for example: just a leg exercise, right? Ever lift your arms in front of your chest during a squat? It’s your shoulder joint that allows you to do so. Pretty much every Freeletics exercises requires you to move your arms, that’s why it’s essential to maintain full flexibility in your shoulder joint and test it on a regular basis.
Measure your mobility: The 2-minute test
Now you know how important shoulder mobility is, it’s time to put yours to the test. Here’s what to do:
- Stand in an upright position and raise your right arm.
- Once your arm is in one line with your leg, bend your right elbow so that your hand touches your neck or back with your palm down.
- Next, bring your left hand to your spine and let it rest with your palm up.
- In the last step, try to bring your fingers together as close as possible.
If your shoulders are as flexible as they should be, you are able to overlap your fingers or at least touch them. The wider the distance between them, the more you should work on improving your shoulder mobility.
Don’t wish for it, work for it - smoothen your shoulders
Can’t touch your hands behind your back? Then it’s time to mobilise your shoulders! How? Always warm up and cool down properly when training and dedicate some time to working on your shoulder mobility on a regular basis. Trust us, you’ll see a difference soon.