Effective Back and Shoulders Mobility Routine


Having mobile back and shoulders is an important component of staying healthy and pain-free. Our back and shoulders work together to help us perform daily tasks and lift heavy objects. If you experience a stiff back and shoulders the video below, “Effective Back and Shoulders Mobility Routine” will be a helpful resource for you. The exercises explained below are designed to restore the range of motion of your shoulders and spinal muscles.

Benefits of mobile back and shoulders:

  • ✔ Improved posture
  • ✔ Increased joint range of motion
  • ✔ Decreased stiffness, aches & pains
  • ✔ Improved physical performance
  • ✔ Strong and flexible muscles

Why is my back and shoulders stiff?

A study published by the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests, cases of chronic lower back pain are growing. (1) Chronic back and shoulder stiffness are commonly caused by improper lifestyle habits such as poor posture (slouching), lack of movement (sitting) or overuse of a movement (repetitive movement). Another study published by PlosOne suggests psychological stress and overuse of technology devices may be contributing to the increase of reported cases of people with shoulder and back pain. (2)

How to get rid of back and shoulders stiffness?

The most effective method to get rid of back and shoulder stiffness is movement. This means doing a consistent routine for your back and shoulders. Doing the same sequence of movements will make tracking your progress easier. This effective back and shoulders mobility sequence is designed for beginners with no equipment needed. Before I get into the routine, I highly recommend a self myofascial release routine to help relieve stored tension in your neck and shoulders. Check out this video “Exercises to Relieve Head and Neck Tension” by Kai Simon Fitness.

Now, Let’s move on to an effective back and shoulders mobility routine. Watch this video as many times as you need and then try these exercises yourself.

Mobile back and shoulder routine

Here is an in depth look at the exercises demonstrated in the video above.

1. Knees Side to Side

  • Moving your “knees side to side” promotes rotation in your trunk and hips. This exercise relieves tension in your lower back and stiffness through your spine. Keep your navel drawn in toward your spine, knees together and your shoulders flat against the floor throughout.
  • REPS: 8 reps on each side

2. Quadruped Shoulder Circles

  • “Quadruped shoulder circles” improves mobility and coordination of your shoulders. Pressing into the floor as you roll your shoulder in circles gives you necessary feedback to adjust the pressure easily. Move slowly and keep your elbows straight. Do both directions.
  • REPS: 10 reps

3. Cat Cow

  • The movement between these two positions, “Cat Cow”, warms the body up and brings flexibility to your spine. Move slowly and breathe deeply. Gradually round your back segment by segment. Then reverse the motion.
  • REPS: 10 reps

4. Book Openers

  • “Book openers” improve mobility through your spine, primarily the thoracic region. This exercise also stretches your chest and shoulders. Initiate the movement from your ribs instead of your shoulders.
  • REPS: 8 reps each side

5. Seated Side Stretch

  • “Seated side stretch” lengthens the muscles between your ribs and pelvis. It also improves rib cage mobility which makes it feel easier to breathe. Relax the muscles around your neck and reach out with a straight elbow.
  • REPS: 8 reps each side

6. Superman

  • “Superman” strengthens your lower and upper back. This exercise also strengthens supportive muscles of your back like your glutes, hamstrings and core. Use your glutes and hamstrings to lift the front of your thighs off the floor. Pause briefly to control the position.
  • REPS: 10 reps

7. Thread the Needle

  • “Thread the needle” stretches the muscles on your low back, chest and shoulders. Twisting your torso also relieves tension stored in your upper back and shoulders. Always keep your shoulders broad, don’t let them collapse in toward your chest.
  • REPS: 8 reps each side

8. Reverse Plank

  • A “reverse plank” stretches your chest and strengthens the posterior muscles of the back of your body. This exercise also improves core and spinal stabilization. Keep your back straight and head in neutral alignment.
  • REPS: 10 reps

I recommend doing this exercise routine for mobile shoulders and back 2-3 times per week. Try it between 1- 3 rounds depending on your fitness level. Remember to take 15 seconds recovery time between each exercise and rest for 1 minute between each round.

Please share this post if you found it helpful!

For more information regarding the importance of optimizing the health of your shoulders and back, check out these two articles by the National Academy of Sports Medicine:


  1. 1. Janet K. Freburger, PT, PhD,1,2 George M. Holmes, PhD,1 Robert P. Agans, PhD,3,4 Anne M. Jackman, MSW,1 Jane D. Darter, BA,1 Andrea S. Wallace, RN, PhD,5 Liana D. Castel, PhD,1 William D. Kalsbeek, PhD,3,4 and Timothy S. Carey, MD, MPH1,6. The Rising Prevalence of Chronic Low Back Pain. Arch Intern Med. 2009; 169(3): 251–258.
  2. 2. Shan Z1, Deng G, Li J, Li Y, Zhang Y, Zhao Q. Correlational analysis of neck/shoulder pain and low back pain with the use of digital products, physical activity and psychological status among adolescents in Shanghai. PLoS One. 2013;8(10):e78109.


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