How to Do Shoulder Rolls for Stretching: Techniques, Benefits, Variations

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Target: Shoulders, upper back, neck

Necessary equipment: Not available

Level: Beginners

Need a gentle, easy stretch to relieve pain and muscle tension in your neck and shoulders? Try the shoulder roll, a simple stretching exercise that you can do anytime, anywhere. It requires no equipment and anyone can do it.


There are many benefits to shoulder training.

Reduce neck tension and tension

How many times per day do you rub your neck with the desire to get a massage? If you’re like a lot of people, maybe several times a day. Shoulder rolls can ease pain and tension by encouraging the flow of nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood to the tight muscles in your neck.

Open chest

If you’ve been feeling a bit like a hunchback lately, shoulder rolls can help you pull your shoulders back and open up your chest, providing much-needed relief to your upper body.

Relax your shoulders and upper back

People who regularly face tight shoulder and back muscles will want to add shoulder rolls to their stretching routine. Just a few shoulder rolls will help your shoulders and upper back feel a lot more comfortable.

Help with posture

Practicing shoulder rolls requires you to put your body into the correct postures, which can help you develop better posture. The shoulder roll also helps loosen tight muscles in the neck and upper back, two areas commonly associated with poor posture.

Great for desk staff

All of the above benefits make shoulder rolls a great stretching exercise for people with desk jobs, because sedentary jobs are known to contribute to poor posture and associated aches and pains. mandarin.

Step by step instructions

You can do the shoulder roll in a number of ways depending on your range of motion, flexibility, and other factors such as injury. These step-by-step instructions describe shoulder rolls for people with healthy shoulder and neck range of motion.

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  1. Start by standing or sitting tall with a proud chest, neutral spine, and active core. Pull your shoulders back and down. Look forward.
  2. To begin rolling your shoulders, shrug your shoulders up towards your ears as high as possible. Do this move without arching your back, arching your neck, or letting your shoulders fall forward.
  3. As you shrug your shoulders up as high as you can, squeeze your shoulder blades together to pull your shoulders back.
  4. Work your mid-back to pull your shoulders down.
  5. When you reach the neutral starting position, slightly round your upper back to push your shoulders forward while keeping your center of gravity.
  6. Pinch up again to start another shoulder roll.
  7. Complete 10 to 15 shoulder rolls, resting for 30 seconds before moving on to the next set. Try three to five sets.

Common mistake

Even though they seem so simple, there is still room for error. Learn common mistakes to avoid to make the most of this time.

Go too fast

Many people rush through the roads just to get the job done. You’ll get the most benefit if you take your time and slowly, gently work through all stretches, including shoulder rolls. Stretching too quickly can overstretch you and thus strain your muscles, causing pain and possibly requiring medical attention.

Core not damaged

Make it a habit to keep your core engaged in all exercises and stretches, as a tight and strong core will protect your spine from injury. You can even practice engaging your core when you’re just sitting down to watch TV or work.


Many people have poor posture due to sitting too much and stooping in front of phones and laptops. Stretching can help you improve your posture — unless you’re doing the stretch with bad posture. When performing shoulder rolls, the first thing to keep in mind is to maintain a high, neutral spine without rounding your back.

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Stuffed in the neck

With shoulder rolls, you’re trying to relieve tension in your neck, not add more tension. Be careful not to stick your neck out when doing the shoulder roll, as you may end up with more neck pain than less.

Modifications and Variations

The shoulder roll can be done in a variety of ways, from more or less challenging.

Need a modification?

Shoulder roll sitting: If you can’t do the shoulder roll while standing, you can do it while sitting. This variation is a great option for people with limited muscle or leg strength, those with balance issues, or those who simply want to stretch their muscles quickly while sitting at a desk.

Half shoulder roll: For people with limited range of motion in the shoulder, the half shoulder roll can still help relieve neck and shoulder pain. If you can’t complete the forward movement, do only the first half of the shoulder roll (shrugs, pull shoulders back and down, then release and repeat). Contrast if you can’t complete the backward movement — shrug, roll forward, relax and repeat.

Want to join a challenge?

Shoulder wrap: If you’re looking to make shoulder rolls a little more difficult, try adding a resistance band. However, keep in mind that this makes the shoulder roll more like a strength exercise and less like a stretch. To do the banded shoulder roll, you will need a long resistance band with a loop. Loop the strap under your feet and stand on it. Step into the strap, placing the other end over your head so it rests on your shoulder. Perform the shoulder roll as described in the step-by-step instructions above.

Safety and Precautions

Make sure to prioritize your safety when performing shoulder rolls to minimize the risk of injury.

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Please feel free to sit down

There’s no shame in sitting for a shoulder roll (or any other stretch or movement). If your mobility or strength prevents you from doing the shoulder rotation while standing, you can still reap the benefits of this great stretch. Just make sure to keep other technical tips in mind, like keeping your core engaged throughout the entire movement.

Don’t abuse it

Although it is only a short, there is still so much that can be done. Don’t try to force your body into a painful range of motion and don’t overdo the reps. Start with just a few reps and work your way up to the bigger innings.

Slow down

Avoid the mistake many people make when stretching: going too fast. Stretching must include careful, clear, rhythmic representations. Stretching too quickly loses the purpose of relaxing your muscles and joints with gentle movement. If you perform the shoulder roll too quickly, you may end up with neck or shoulder pain, so slow down. You may find it helpful to incorporate deep breathing while rolling your shoulders, as it will force you to focus on something slow and rhythmic.


Incorporate this and similar moves into one of these popular exercises:

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