Having strong shoulders is important for your overall posture, that’s why I’ll share my favorite 5 yoga poses for your shoulders. But first, that crickity-crackity sound your shoulder makes when you move your arms around in a circle? THAT SHOULDN’T HAPPEN.
We can blame it on any number of things. Most likely it’s a combination of many things, including the way we sit with our shoulders hunched, the way that we stand, with our shoulders hunched, and the way that we walk… with our shoulders hunched. Basically, stop hunching your shoulders, and you’ve taken the first step to fixing your shoulders.
The second biggest reason for poor shoulder health is our love for pushing exercises and our negligence of pulling exercises. This causes imbalances because your body is doing lots of pushing, and not enough pulling, meaning that the muscles in the front of your body are overdeveloped and tight, compared to the weak and overstretched muscles in your back.
Fortunately, there are a few simple exercises which can begin to reverse the effects of your crappy lifting form and your constant hunchedness. These poses will all be included in a project that I am working on that will address the issue of shoulder inflexibility and shoulder health in general. Make sure you sign up for my email list for more details on that. Okay, I’ve plugged myself. Now, it’s time for the poses.
Click on the photo for a bigger photo, and click on the name of the pose (next to the number) for a full description of the pose, as described by the Man Flow Yoga pose guide.
1) Standing Side Stretch (Crescent Moon)
This pose is great for stretching all the muscles around your armpits. The only problem is that when people do this pose they tend to shrug their shoulders up to their ears, greatly reducing the benefits of the stretch. Instead, try to keep your shoulders down and away from your ears in order to maximize the shoulder stretch.
Oh dolphin. You son of a bitch. This always makes it on to any list that I have for fixing your shoulders. This pose is on here because not only does it stretch your shoulders, but it also strengthens the muscles in your shoulders that you should be using while you do pushups and bench, but don’t, because your muscles don’t have the range of motion required.
3) Wide-legged forward fold with interlaced fingers
This pose opens up your chest muscles like no other pose can. (Debatable, but it’s still really great.) It stretches your pecs, which connect your shoulders to your chest, and are some of the tighter muscles found in the male (and even female) body. As always, keep your shoulders away from your ears here.
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Eagle stretches the muscles that attach from your shoulder blades to your spine. It’s a stretch that almost nobody does outside of yoga, and the stretch that actually does stretch your rhomboids and is typically done outside of yoga is almost always done incorrectly. To skip the testicle-crunching and balance aspect of this pose, just stand up straight on both feet and work on getting your elbows up high, your forearms away from your face, and your shoulders down.
Superman is important because it strengthens the muscles in your back. It is a direct counter to all of the exercises that you too much that cause the shoulder imbalance in the first place. Press your fingertips as far forward as you can, and bring your shoulders as high up as possible. Make sure that you keep your core and your legs engaged in this pose, or you risk straining your lower back.
6) Warrior 3
Warrior 3 is a very difficult and humbling pose. Just when you think you’ve got your life figured out and you’re the alpha gym rat, you encounter this shit and suddenly you’re the last kid picked in kickball again. This pose is great for your full body, for flexibility, strength, endurance, and balance. For the purpose of this article, it’s fantastic for strengthening your shoulders and opening up your upper body.
Obviously there are quite a few more poses that can help you with your shoulder problems, but these are some of the most effective. Again, I’m working on a shoulder project right now that will tell you everything that you need to know about your shoulders (in laymen’s terms) and how to start fixing them (not just in yoga, but in every other form of exercise that you do, and while sitting or standing). Subscribe to my email list to be the first to hear about it! It’s the best way to stay in contact with me, and you’ll receive exclusive content that nobody else receives. The sign-up form is in the upper right corner of this page.
Also, if you’re interested in attending the St. Croix Man Flow Yoga Retreat, details are live! It’s a week-long vacation in tropical paradise on an island in the Caribbean in which we do yoga two or three times a day, go on trips, and relax in front of the beach the rest of the time. It’s from June 7th to June 13th at Villa Mill Point. Click here for more details.
Send any questions you have to [email protected], and thanks for reading!
You might be interested in some tips on starting off your yoga practice, so read on! 3 blogs covering some basics.
About the author, Dean Pohlman, Founder & CEO of Man Flow Yoga, Author of Yoga Fitness for Men, Expert on Yoga Fitness for Men.
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3 thoughts on “5 Yoga Poses for Strong Injury-Free Shoulders”
You could rename this article to five Yoga poses you’ll have a love hate relationship with
I love your humor in all of this. All great recommendations and insights.