Your shoulder is composed of 5 joints, three bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments which allow your shoulder to move in a variety of directions. Your range of motion movement depends on the health of this whole system.
Normal range of motion in your shoulder relates to how far you can move your shoulders in different directions without experiencing any pain from your muscles or joints. A normal range of motion depends on the health and flexibility of your shoulder.
The following movements each have the normal range of motion listed with them. Stand in front of a mirror, record a video of yourself, or have someone take pictures of you as you go through these exercises. Photos and video are great because you can reference them later and track your progress.
- Shoulder Flexion: Have your arm resting at your side with your palm on your thigh, proceed to raise your arm and hand out in front of you and over your head. Repeat on both sides. The normal range of motion is 180 degrees.
- Shoulder Extension: Have your arm resting at your side with your palm on your thigh, proceed to lift your arm behind you keeping your arms straight. The normal range of motion is between 45 and 60 degrees.
- Shoulder Abduction: Start with your arms at your sides with your palms resting on your thighs. Raise your arms from the sides of your body out to form a “T”, proceed to bring your arms up, keeping them straight, and over your head with your palms facing outward and away from each other. The normal range of motion for Shoulder Abduction is 150 degrees.
- Shoulder Adduction: Raise your arm so that at your elbow it bends at a 90-degree angle and your forearm is level with your shoulders. Proceed to take your arm and straighten it as you bring it across your body towards your opposite shoulder. Normal range of motion here is 30-50 degrees, this varies based on your flexibility and body composition.
- Medial Rotation or Internal Rotation: With your arms next to your body, bend your elbows 90 degrees with your palms facing toward each other. Keeping your elbows pressed to your sides, bring your palms and forearms toward and across your body. Do this one arm at a time. Normal range of motion here is 70-90 degrees.
- Lateral Rotation or External Rotation: Begin with your arms at your sides, bend your elbows 90 degrees with your palms facing toward each other. Keeping your elbows pressed to your sides and move your forearms away from your body. Normal range of motion for external rotation is 90 degrees.
If you notice pain as you go through these exercises, consult your medical professional to create a shoulder rehab plan for you. If you notice you don’t have pain, but your range of motion is limited, doing shoulder stretches and exercises can help you gain flexibility and better range of motion. Another great thing to do is use a Shoulder Pulley.
A medical professional can also work with you to give you the necessary exercises to help improve your range of motion and overall health of your shoulder.