Shoulder sweeps

A shoulder injury can be debilitating. Prevent injury with this stretch

Shoulder sweeps

Source: Best Health magazine, September 2012; Illustration: Kagan McLeod

If you’ve ever suffered a shoulder injury, you know how debilitating it can be. ‘The shoulder is the connection point between the hands and body,’ says Shane Kilburn of Calgary’s Fit Metabolism. ‘We use our hands for everything’if the shoulder is out, the hands can’t properly perform a frac­tion of what we require of them.’

Because the shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint, it allows for large ranges of motion but is protected only by muscles and ligaments. ‘The shoulder sometimes pays the price by overcompensating for instability in other areas, making us at increased risk of injury,’ says Kilburn. ‘This stretch is designed for mobility. Shoulder sweeps establish proper movement in the entire shoulder girdle’focusing entirely on the movement performed by the shoulder, so that it learns to function properly on its own.’


Lie on your back, arms by your side, palms facing down. Lift your left hand and raise your arm overhead, palm facing up. Sweep your arm down the side of your body in a half-moon arc, reaching through your fingertips and rotating your hand so your palm ends up facing down. Flex your elbow and loop your hand under your lower back, pulling your hand up behind your back as you gently reach with it toward your opposite shoulder blade. Pause, then bring your arm back to your side. Repeat, this time with your right arm.

This article originally appeared in the September 2012 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!