Seated Upper Body Mobility

Increasing chest and shoulder mobility improves posture, breathing ability, and can help resolve neck, upper back and shoulder pain.

Length: 1:38

Categories: Seated, Exercise


Holding a strap, belt or towel with arms a bit wider than shoulders, bring the arms as far overhead as you can. Bring the arms back down and repeat. Take care not to arch your back. If you have a weaker arm or do not have a strap to use, you can clasp the hands together instead. Inhale as you lift the arms up, and exhale as they come down.

Now hold the strap overhead and bend to 90° at the elbows, keeping the elbows in line with the body, not in front. Push back up. As this gets easier, you can add weights to this overhead press, but for now we’re using it to improve the mobility at your shoulders and your chest. To add to the chest stretch, you can move one arm out the side and hold for 15 to 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Next, straighten the arms and lean to one side to stretch the side of the body. Focus on breathing into the ribcage on that side, feeling the muscles between the ribs stretch and expand with every inhale. Take several breaths here before you switch sides. This exercise will help the muscles around your ribcage get more flexible so you can take deeper, fuller breaths. Make sure you’re keeping your breath steady and even as you do this exercise.


See the Resource Handout "Making Exercise Harder" for a list of home objects that can be used in place of exercise weights.

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