shoulder rolls

Shoulder rolls exercise is a simple yet effective way to increase your scapular mobility. No equipment is needed, so you can perform the exercise anywhere. As the motion is quite basic and “natural”, it can even be done in an office chair without raising any eyebrows.

  • Start the exercise by standing straight with the arms hanging by your sides. You can also sit in a chair or kneel on the floor instead of the sanding position.
  • Roll your shoulders forwards as much as possible
  • Shrug both of your shoulders up (to your ears).
  • From there, slowly pull the shoulders back (at the top position) and downwards to complete the full circle.
  • Experiment with doing the exercise both ways – forwards and backwards.

Shoulder roll progression

Despite the shoulder roll being a simple exercise, there are ways to increase resistance and progress in your training.

Quadruped shoulder rolls

Quadruped shoulder roll

To perform this version of the exercise, start by getting down on your hands and knees.

While keeping your elbows straight and your palms pressed to the ground, do the same circular motion with your shoulders.

Plank shoulder rolls

shoulder roll plank

Once you feel strong and comfortable with the quadruped version of the  shoulder roll, try doing the same exercise in a plank (push-up position).

Downward facing dog shoulder rolls

Downward facing dog shoulder rolls

The final and most difficult variation of the shoulder roll is doing it in a downward facing dog position

Here’s a good video demonstration of the standard should roll and all three progressions: