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The door stretch can help prevent shoulder pain.
The shoulder is the most unstable joint in your body. Made up of bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments, the shoulder has a huge range of motion, which makes it unstable. While it's important to strengthen your shoulder muscles to prevent injuries, it is just as crucial to stretch the muscles and surrounding tissue. The door stretch is an easy stretch that can keep your shoulders healthy.
Shoulder Injuries and Conditions
Your shoulder is susceptible to numerous problems, including dislocation, separation, fractures, arthritis, rotator cuff tears and tendinitis. Many of these problems are caused by overuse. Since you use your arms throughout the day, your shoulders are almost always in motion. This can cause the soft tissues to break down, especially if you do manual labor. The tissues also deteriorate with age. This breakdown causes you to lose your range of motion, making you more prone to injury. Stretching keeps your muscles and shoulder tissue flexible and helps maintain and often improve your range of motion.
To perform the door shoulder stretch, stand a few steps in front of a doorway. Raise one of your arms and reach back until you are grasping the doorway frame with your thumb facing up. Your arm should be above your head. Turn your body away from your outstretched arm until you feel a gentle stretch in your shoulder. Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds and repeat with the other arm. This primarily targets your anterior deltoid, but it will also stretch the muscles in your chest and biceps.
If you are already experiencing shoulder pain or tightness, you may not be able to reach your arm above your head. In this case, you can perform easier variations of the shoulder door stretch. While these variations target the same muscles, a study in the October 2010 issue of the вЂњJournal of Athletic TrainingвЂќ found that they were not as effective as the elevated arm stretch. Rather than raise your arm to grasp the door, reach back to hold the frame with your arm at shoulder level or slightly below. Turn away from your outstretched arm until you feel a gentle stretch in your shoulder. You can also perform the stretch with a bent elbow. Stand in the doorway and place your entire forearm on the door frame with your elbow at shoulder level or slightly above. Lean forward until you feel the gentle stretch in your shoulder.
While stretching can increase your mobility, it can actually do more harm than good if performed improperly. Never stretch cold muscles, as this can cause them to tear. Only stretch after you've warmed up with light cardio or after your workout when muscles are warm and pliable. Don't bounce during the stretch, as this can cause small tears in the muscle. Instead, slowly stretch to the point when you feel tension. If you begin to feel pain, you have stretched too far. Perform the shoulder door stretch as part of an overall stretching program that targets all of your major muscle groups.