Shoulder Stretches

One of the first things I noticed about capoeira was the swing or ginga it had.

Shoulder stretches are an essential part to getting this swing. They loosen up the arms and give them more flexibility providing a natural sway when playing capoeira.

These stretches also provide the flexibility needed to perform smooth escapes .

When you have to dodge a benção to the chest, you’ll be happy you stretched your shoulders!

Below are some quick and effective stretches I use before training…

Rotation Stretches

Rotation shoulder stretches involve the motion of the shoulders or arms. They help to provide fluid movement of the shoulders. I usually repeat these movements 10 - 20 times a piece.

  • Front Spin - Spin both arms around in a big circle to the front. Keep spinning them for the duration of the stretch.
  • Back Spin - Spin both arms around in a big circle towards your back. Continue spinning for the rest of the stretch.
  • Alternate Spins - Spin one arm towards the front and the other to the back in a big circle. After some repetitions (10 – 20), reverse the direction of both arms. Go slowly until you get the coordination for this move.
  • Straight Arm Crosses - With you arms extended in front of you, cross them in front of your body. Start with your left arm over right, and stretch as far as comfortably possible. Uncross them and cross them again with the right arm over left. Repeat this motion for the remainder of the stretch.
  • Diagonal Arm Crosses - Start with arms extended and hands touching in front of you. Stretch arms back diagonally so that one is close to your head and the other close to your legs. Bring them back together and reverse directions of stretch. Repeat for the rest of the stretch.

Static Stretches

These static shoulder stretches have the arm or shoulder being stretched without movement. They are great for increasing the range of motion with your shoulders. I usually hold each for 20 seconds a piece.

  • Behind Head - Using your left hand, reach behind your head to the center of your back. Use your free hand to pull your left elbow more to the right. Hold the stretch. Repeat for the other side.
  • Across Body - Stretch your left arm across your body to your right side. Use your right arm to pull the left closer to your body. Hold it to stretch and reverse for the other side.

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