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I was in a group stretching thing at work led by a colleague (so no training or qualifications) and wasn’t sure about one of the stretches.

It started with us standing and pushing both arms up above our head (reach the sky) and from this position we lowered our arms to horizontally in front of us, pushing our arms forward.

Is this a good/safe stretch?

  • Did you feel a stretch in your back / hamstrings? – Dark Hippo Jan 31 at 7:34
  • @DarkHippo I felt a pain in my shoulder, that’s why I was worried and asked here. – Aequitas Jan 31 at 7:51
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    If you feel pain, then stop. There is a scale of pain though; when I hang from a pull up bar, there's "pain" in my right shoulder, it's discomfort from an old shoulder injury and hanging is stretching it out and actually helps keep it mobile. I would call this discomfort more than pain. When I dislocated my ankle, there was pain, the kind where you hear the blood rushing in your ears and you lose sense of your surroundings. That is bad pain. – Dark Hippo Jan 31 at 8:14
  • This movement sounds completely benign. If you feel pain, in my opinion, it isn't the movement that is causing it. Rather, you have a preexisting condition. I would advise you to continue the group activity, however go very slow and find a modification that doesn't cause pain. For example, instead of reaching straight up into the air, maybe reach down to the ground and raise your arms? If this group leader is any good at all, they should be able to suggest a modification. – Chris Jan 31 at 16:36
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It doesn't sound like a stretch, but rather just a simple movement. There isn't anything wrong with simple, mindful, gentle movement such as you are describing. That's what Tai Chi is, and might I say that Tai Chi has worked for quite few people. However, mindful movement shouldn't be confused with stretching. I would suggest that you ask this group leader what muscle is being stretched. If they are any good at what they do, then they should know enough anatomy that they can tell you exactly what muscle this is stretching. I would be very curious what their answer is.

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The first part of your stretch sounds like Talasana, or the palm tree pose. I don't know of a name for the second stretch. I thought at first it sounded like a simple forearm stretch but I don't think that's the case.

A good rule of thumb is if it causes pain: stop. I agree with other comments here -- this stretch really shouldn't hurt. If you have poor mobility or flexibility it might cause a bit of discomfort but not pain.

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