This one bodyweight exercise can improve back pain and shoulder mobility

It's ideal for doing either at home or adding into your warm-up routine

Woman stretching
(Image credit: Getty)

Here at T3 we’ve been focusing a lot on mobility exercises — from a 30-second hip opener exercise to the world's greatest stretch (according to an expert). After all, the more mobile we are, the better our body will function. But while we’ve focused a lot on the lower back, we decided  it’s time to give our upper back some much-needed attention, along with the shoulders and, luckily, an expert has shared one exercise that can improve movement in both of these areas.

Mobility training can often get confused with ‘stretching’, but they aren’t the same thing. The International Sports Sciences Association says mobility training ”helps you move better and improves your range of motion”. The less mobile we are, the more we'll find our bodies tightening up and getting stiff, which can cause discomfort may eventually lead to pain.

This mobility exercise shared by best-selling author Dr. Aaron Horschig is very similar to ‘wall angels’ — an exercise that's brilliant for improving the mobility in your thoracic spine as well as bettering your posture, as it teaches you to pull your shoulders back without arching your back. It’s usually performed up against the wall, however this variation is performed on the floor. The best bit is it can be done every day at home, requires no equipment, or you could incorporate it into your warm-up routine. Dr. Arron says to start off with two sets of 10 reps. Here’s how to do it: 

  • Lie face down on the floor and bring your arms into a shoulder press position, making sure they're lifted off of the ground
  • Slowly, press your arms up, so that they create a ‘V’ shape and hold here for three to five seconds
  • Lower your arms back to shoulder press position and repeat

It may seem pretty straight-forward, but its guaranteed to fire up your back and shoulders (in a good way). Once you've mastered this you can add in a light pair of dumbbells (we're talking no more than 2.5kg) to make it a little more challenging. However, as with all exercises, it's more important to get your form perfect first, otherwise if you add weights in too soon you may end up injuring yourself.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.