Shoulder Mobility Exercises for Desk Workers

I was at a loss for what to write today, so I decided to publish one of Craig Ballantyne articles instead.  🙂

Craig Ballantyne is famous for his Turbulence Training program which I’ve tried too. (One of the best online training programs I’ve encountered because it actually has proper progressions).

From the four exercises Craig introduces below, I like the Stick-up most. It’s very good for the stiff shoulders.

For those of you like videos, there’s a video demonstrating the exercises mentioned in the article.

Guest post by Craig Ballantyne

If you are an office worker stuck sitting at a desk all day, then chances are you have poor shoulder mobility and possibly even a pain in the neck. Not only can this bother you at work, but common exercises can make these problems worse.

You could end up with rotator cuff problems or worse. Fortunately, just a few minutes of shoulder mobility exercises per day can help you get rid of this pain.


Here are a couple of exercises that will improve your shoulder mobility. If you are like me in that you sit in front of a computer for a long period of time each day, then you probably have a lot of stress and tension in your upper back, leading to reduced mobility in your shoulder, causing pain and suffering.

So I’m going to reveal 4 exercises that will help you increase your mobility in the shoulder region as well as improve your posture.

The first exercise is a very common one in my Turbulence Training programs, but also one that causes a lot of confusion on how to perform the exercise correctly, the Stick-Up.

To start, stand about six inches away from the wall, with your hips, shoulder blades, elbows, and hands all pressed against the wall. Tuck your elbows down into your sides and press your shoulder blades together.

Next, you are going to stick your hands up over your head as high as you can while keeping everything against the wall at all times. Then return to start position.

This is a very difficult exercise if you have poor mobility in your shoulders. If you start this exercise now, however, then you can avoid being a desk jockey with very poor posture and the inability to do this exercise.

Another exercise I like to use to help with shoulder mobility is the Y-squat. To perform this exercise place your hands up in a “Y” position, squat down while keeping your hands behind you as much as possible.

Next, you can do the Push-Up Plus. For this exercise you will do a regular push-up, however, as you come up to the top of the push-up, spread your shoulder blades apart.

The final exercise is a nice dynamic movement. Place one arm up and out beside your body with your thumb pointing upwards, while placing the other arm down and out with your thumb pointing downwards.

Next, you will bring your arms across your body, changing thumb positions. So, your shoulder blades are going to be together and then come apart. Once you’ve done 10 repetitions for one side, switch your arm positions and then perform again for 10 repetitions.


Doing those 4 exercises will give more mobility to your upper back and your shoulders, and it will be a great warm-up before you do any type of upper body exercises. Also, this is a great break from your work day where you can just get up from your desk, do these exercises and it will allow you to really reduce the tension, helping you work with less stress.

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  1. I liked the first one and the last one… I could feel one of my shoulders cracking and moving on the last one (I have rotator cuff issues!).

    My dad ended up with very rounded shoulders and mine are a bit that way, so my posture and keeping my shoulders back is something I really need to work on!!!

    Thanks for the reminder!


  2. Marion says:

    Hi Satu! I’m amazed at how many people do not do shoulder flexibility exercises, so this is a very needed post.

    The weight lifting guys have often asked me what I do for shoulders. I show them the “down dog” pose and the “dolphin” pose. There are also a bunch of shoulder exercises that use a small hand towel that I demonstrate.

    For good posture, I really believe that is all about getting back muscles stronger and tighter. I used to have terrible posture, but when my back got strong, it also got straight.

    🙂 Marion

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