Photo: Courtesy of Jill Miller/Yoga Tune Up
The problem: While working with Alaskans a few years ago, Miller marveled that none of them had shoulder pain—a major contrast with her clients in New York and Los Angeles, who are constantly wincing and rubbing their shoulders. She noted that many of the Alaskans in her group chopped their own wood, enjoyed cross-country skiing and fly-fishing, and spent a lot of time outdoors. "It's just a guess, but they were much more likely to do activities that took their shoulders through the full range of motion," says Miller. Here in the Continental 48, we tend to spend more time cutting and pasting than chopping and stacking, and, Miller says, habits like these cause the internal rotators of the shoulders to clench and stiffen.
The potential pain: That tension you feel from your shoulder to your elbow, and down to your shoulder blades.
The pre-hab: Miller's shoulder "flossing" technique helps mobilize the entire shoulder joint and rotator cuff while providing strength and stretch to all of the tissues in the area. Hold a belt or strap between your hands at a width of 2 to 3 feet and raise it over your head. Keep the right arm held high in the air, and steer the left arm back behind you until you feel a deep stretch in both shoulders. Slowly alternate the shoulders so that both shoulders are thoroughly "flossed" for approximately 90 seconds (6 to 8 rounds).
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