Surfer/Fitness & Health Coach
This shouldn't hurt. Photo: James Pham

This shouldn’t hurt. Photo: James Pham.

The Inertia

Shoulder Flexion. That’s the ability to move your arm overhead into a vertical position. Try it. Does it grind? Is it uncomfortable, or did you have to arch your back? Are you holding your breath? If any of this sounds like you, you need to get more shoulder flexion, or upper body mobility. Without it, you’re basically slowly tearing apart your glenohumeral joint, and that tends to suck.

I talk a lot about the shoulder on my blog– restoring proper range of motion, increasing strength in a smart manner, restoring flexibility, and using soft-tissue methods to improve tissue health. I cover it so much because I see so much wrong. Bad, terrible, sad stuff, and lots of surfers in pain and doing the wrong thing. Please stop. Improve your shoulder mobility. The test in the video covers a basic shoulder flexion test to see if you’ve got the flexibility/mobility, without compensating in the low back, neck, or rib cage. If you can’t get adequate shoulder flexion (which is involved with how well your thoracic spine moves) then you’re compensating somewhere in the body and slowly tearing something apart.

If you can’t get your arms overhead, what do you think you’re doing to the joint when you paddle? It ain’t free and easy movement! It’s probably causing low-grade inflammation and wear n’ tear in the shoulder, slowly screwing with some vertebral segments because of excessive low back arching, and limiting your paddling. The fascial stretch in the video is a good place to start loosening up the general area, but you also need to start looking at the muscles that are restricting the joint, the stiffness through the thoracic spine, and whether you’ve got something dysfunctional in the joint (that’s where you come see me or a qualified health practitioner).


Read the two posts below for more quick fixes to stiff shoulders.

Shoulder Surf Stretches

Happy Surf Shoulders


Those two reads will get you started, and will very likely drastically improve your upper body mechanics. Shoulder pain sucks hard, so take some steps to make sure you don’t have to deal with it.


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