Pinwheel Arms

Improve shoulder mobility in all directions with this great scapula, or shoulder blade, mobility exercise!

Should blade mobility is important for more and easier movement of the arms and shoulders. Immobile shoulder blades can cause clicking or sticking shoulders and they can cause pain in the neck, shoulders, and upper back. This exercise helps create full movement in the shoulder by learning to isolate and move your scapula in 360 degrees!

The most difficult and important part of this exercise is moving from the shoulder blade, instead of moving from the arm. It often takes clients patience and practice to find the difference and really feel the isolation. Remember these tips to help with this:

  • Go extremely slow.
  • Imagine your arm is dead weight, or asleep, and you can’t move it. So you have to move your shoulder around instead.
  • Imagine your shoulder blade is trying to touch all the numbers on a clock as it moves.
  • Your shoulder should feel like it is moving before your arm.
  • Be patient. If you don’t feel like you get it at first, try again. Move slow. Maybe try closing your eyes and feeling your shoulder bone move. Bone mobility is a lot about slow, precise movement concentrating on how it feels inside, rather than outside.
  • Remember, if you are stiff in your shoulder blades, they might not move very much at first. The more you practice the more they will move. One shoulder might move easier from the get go and it might be that your shoulders move better at different points of the circle. That is ok. Just keep being patient and practicing!

One last thing to remember: Keep the hips and low ribs still. So don’t let your hips move forward or backward as your arms move.

Pull up a bit of floor or bed space and give it a shot!

If this particular exercise seems a little difficult for you at this point, try one of our more basic scapular mobility exercises: Telescope Arms or Sternum Drops.

Want to know more about bone and joint mobility? Check out our blog on flexibility v. mobility!


Looking for more shoulder-pain reducing exercises? Schedule your free 90 minute consultation.

This blog was contributed by our Pilates guru, Kaethe Birkner. Kaethe is a certified Pilates instructor through Balanced Body and dances ballet professionally at Continental Ballet Company. She has been teaching Pilates since 2012 and has been taking Pilates since 2004.