Finger-walk-up-the-wall stretch improves your shoulders' range of motion.
If you're suffering from a lack of range of motion in your shoulders, incorporate the finger-walk-up-the-wall stretch. Also commonly referred to as the wall crawl, the exercise is beneficial for those who due to injury have suffered a significant decrease in their shoulders' range of motion. If you're recovering from an injury, before incorporating shoulder stretches, visit a medical professional or physical therapist.
The wall crawl is a stretch commonly assigned by physical therapists after an injury to the rotator cuff in the shoulder. By regularly incorporating it into your regimen, you'll be able to increase your shoulders' range of motion, build strength and help reduce pain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that healthy elderly individuals who are looking to maintain physical function incorporate finger walk up the wall stretch into their daily regimen. The Cancer Care Center at University of California San Francisco recommends the stretch for those recovering from a mastectomy.
Stand facing the wall and place your hand on the wall just above the height of your shoulder. Walk up the wall with your fingers until you feel a stretch in your shoulder. Hold this stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and then release the stretch. Repeat the stretch 10 times. If it's more comfortable, you can also perform the stretch while sitting in a chair. The CDC notes that the exercise is still effective even if you don't have a wall. Climb your fingers up an imaginary wall. The stretch can also be completed by standing perpendicular to the wall and marching up the wall with the fingers of the closest arm.
To see significant shoulder flexibility improvements, perform the 10 sets of finger-walk-up-the-wall stretch three times per day. Warm up the shoulder joints prior to stretching by performing five minutes of walking, followed by light shoulder circles. Monitor your shoulder flexibility improvements by keeping track of how far you're able to climb your fingers up the wall. Use a piece of masking tape and place it at the height at which you were able to reach. Use a pencil to write the date on each piece of tape.
Although they are not necessary, there are products available to assist with the wall crawl stretch. These products are mounted onto the wall and feature steps or rungs that are meant to be used for your fingers as they crawl. Using these products forces you to move your fingers up in set increments.