Starting Position: Lie on your back on an exercise mat or firm surface, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your arms at your sides, with elbows straight and palms facing inward. Breathe deeply for 30 seconds and allow your body to relax toward the floor.
Pull your shoulder blades down and back without increasing the arch in your low back or lifting your hips off the floor. Engage your abdominal / core muscles to flatten your low back into the mat and hold this position throughout the exercise.
Shoulder Flexion: Exhale. Gently lift your arms overhead and toward the wall behind you without arching the back. Keep the elbows straight and the wrists in neutral. Your goal is to bring the arms to the floor or almost to the floor while keeping the abdominals engaged and the shoulders and spine stabilized. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds before slowly returning to your starting position.
In this overhead position, attempt to: (1) fully extend the elbows without arching your low back or shrugging your shoulders and (2) keep your shoulder blades pulled down (no shrugging).
Shoulder Extension: Inhale and slowly return your arms back to your starting position.
This exercise stretches the muscles of your shoulders and your lats in a stable and isolated manner. Controlling and restricting movement in the shoulder helps minimize the likelihood of shoulder injury and pain. Try performing this exercise adjacent to a mirror that will allow you to monitor any undesired movement in the hips, ribs, shoulder or low back.