You know that feeling at the end of a long day sitting down when you’ve gone from the limber scarecrow to a stiff tin man? If that mental image calls attention to your tight shoulders or aching neck, I have great news. The most recent episode of Good Stretch from Well+Good with Chloe De Winter, Pilates instructor and founder of Go with Chlo Pilates, dives deep into stretches for tight shoulders. By the time you finish this 15-minute video, you’re going to feel like skipping down the yellow brick road.
To start, De Winter has you sit on the floor and center your mind and breathing. This can help your nervous system relax, which will make it easier to access and deepen each stretch. Sometimes, she says, people can have a sore body and want to just get straight pulling or yanking on the areas that hurt. The truth is that your body needs time and gentleness to unwind, so starting on the floor and reaching one arm across your chest (while holding it with the other) is where you begin to ease into these stretches for tight shoulders.
Next, De Winter has you experiment with different intensities of a few stretches. She does this to remind viewers that everyone is unique and therefore everyone’s tension areas aren’t going to be the same. She encourages you to slowly lean into a stretch until you find that sweet spot of particular tightness that really needs some TLC.
Then, De Winter has you do a series of dynamic stretches, meaning you move through them fluidly rather than holding them for long periods of time, to increase the mobility of your shoulder joint by opening up all the muscles that live around it. Exercises include cat and cow and thoracic spinal rotations (aka thread the needle) which’ll help to loosen up your mid- and upper-back as well.
So if you’re tired and tense from a long day–or are just looking for a really good wam-up to do before an upper-body workout–this is the perfect routine for you.