Release tension and reduce upper back pain with this three-move shoulder mobility routine

If you’ve got niggling knots and tight shoulders, committing to a daily shoulder mobility session could release some tension

Woman doing shoulder mobility exercises
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Your shoulders are your most mobile joints, designed for a wide range of movement. If you don’t move them regularly, they can start to feel stiff.

I’m a personal trainer and one of the most common complaints I hear from my clients is that they have stiff shoulders. This could be down to hunching over their desk all day or spending too long scrolling on their phone.

The good news is that dedicating some time to daily shoulder mobility sessions could improve flexibility and mobility, reducing tension and improving posture. 

I've created this simple three-move routine to help you tackle shoulder stiffness. All you need to do it is a wall, a yoga mat and a little bit of spare time. 

How to do my shoulder mobility routine

This workout involves three moves: 

1. Shoulder wall spin

Stand with a wall behind you. Keeping your feet planted on the floor, turn your torso and place your palms on the wall behind you, roughly at shoulder height. Hold for a second before returning to the central standing position, then repeat on the other side. 

2. Kneeling front arm raises

Kneel on the floor with your bum resting on your heels and your arms down by your sides. Rise up so that your thighs are at a 90-degree angle to the floor and bring your arms up in front of you and overhead. Lower back down to the ground, bringing your arms with you, then repeat.

3. Kneeling side arm raises

Start by kneeling in an upright position with your thighs at a 90-degree angle to the floor, arms held straight by your side. Bring one arm up and over your head, leaning to the opposite side. Repeat with the other arm. 

Aim to do each move for 30-45 seconds, with 30 seconds rest in between. 

The kneeling exercises can be performed in a standing position, or with a cushion beneath the knees for comfort. Remember to only move as far as your range of motion allows and avoid over-stretching your muscles.

Want more routines like this one? Have a look at these yoga stretches for beginners, or try this 15-minute yoga flow for mobility

Maddy Biddulph

Maddy Biddulph is a freelance journalist specializing in fitness, health and wellbeing content. With 25 years in consumer media, she has worked as a writer and editor for some of the bestselling newspapers, magazines and websites in the US and UK. 


She is also a qualified L3 personal trainer and weight loss advisor, and helps women over 40 navigate menopause by improving their physical and mental strength. At Maddy Biddulph Personal Training, she runs one-to-one and small group training for menopausal women who want to get fit to ease symptoms and feel like themselves again.