Strong and Pain-Free Shoulders

Shoulder and neck pain is a common occurrence that has been associated with poor posture and too much time spent time hunched over our laptops and cell phones. Bad posture places excessive stress on your muscles, connective tissue and joints which can result in a tight, sore, and stressed body. This can lead to neck pain, shoulder issues, back pain, headaches and other health issues and/or injuries.

Corrective exercises to strengthen the weak, overstretched muscles and stretch the shortened, tight muscles will make a significant difference to how you look and feel. 

T/Y/I Floor Presses

To perform a floor press, lie on your back. Extend your arms directly to the side (T position) with your palms facing up. Keep your abdominals strong as you press the back of your arms/hands into the floor. Hold for 2 seconds and release. Repeat 8-15x. Now position your arms higher in a diagonal, letter Y position and repeat 8-15x. Finally, place your arms over your head, in the letter I position and repeat 8-15x. 

T/Y/I Wall Presses

Perform the exercises angles listed above but now standing with your arms against a wall.

T/Y/I Prone Arm Lifts

Lie on your stomach with your head/neck neutral and abdominals strong and active. Stretch your arms straight out to the side (T position). Turn your thumbs up to the ceiling and then slowly lift your arms upwards. Concentrate on pulling your shoulder blades together as you lift your arms straight up towards the ceiling. Do 8-15 reps. Continue with arms in the Y position. Finally place the arms overhead in the I position and do 8-15 reps.

Shoulder Traction

Hold a set of light hand weights at your side while standing tall. Perform small circles in one direction for 30-60 seconds and repeat the other direction. Consider this movement as a gentle stretch for the shoulder joint. 

Ball/Pillow Stretch

This passive stretch is very helpful to improve common postural deviations. Start by laying a few pillows on the floor or your bed. Lie over the pillows on your back so that the pillows are at the level of your shoulder blades and your head is resting. Allow your upper body to round over the pillows with your arms at your side. You should feel a stretch in your shoulders, chest and upper back. Hold for 30 seconds or more. Then extend your hands over your head and hold this position. Your head should be supported on the pillows throughout the entire stretching sequence. This is a wonderful stretch, especially after a long day working on your computer. At the gym, you can mimic this stretch lying over a stability ball. 

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at

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