If you’re clocking in long hours at your desk, you might find your shoulders bearing the brunt of the strain. But there’s good news, with a few smart moves, you can literally “Shrug Off Desk Strain.”

This guide is all about teaching you quick, simple exercises to relieve shoulder tension and strengthen the muscles around them. Not only can these steps reduce discomfort, but they also contribute to better posture and overall shoulder health. Incorporating a series of stretches and strength exercises into your daily routine can not only ease the discomfort but also help prevent long-term damage from sitting still too long.

Let’s take a look at some effective ways to keep your shoulders feeling strong and supple, designed to fit into even the busiest of schedules.

Start with a warm-up

Before jumping into any exercises, it’s a good idea to warm up your shoulders. Try doing some gentle shoulder rolls. Lift your shoulders, roll them back, and then down in a smooth motion. Do this about 10 times and then reverse the direction for another 10 rolls.

Stretching exercises

Neck release

  • Sit or stand with a straight back.
  • Slowly tilt your head toward one shoulder until you feel a stretch.
  • Hold this for about 20 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
  • Do this three times per side.

Chest opener

  • Stand near a wall or a door frame.
  • Place your right arm on the wall or the frame, elbow and shoulder at the same height.
  • Slowly turn your body away from the wall until you feel a stretch in your chest and the front of your shoulder.
  • Hold for 20 seconds, then switch sides.
  • Repeat three times on each side.

Strengthening exercises

Shoulder shrugs

  • Sit or stand with your arms by your sides and a slight bend in your elbows.
  • Lift your shoulders towards your ears, squeezing tightly and release back down.
  • Do three sets of 10 shrugs.

Arm circles

  • Extend your arms straight out to the sides, so they’re parallel with the floor.
  • Make small circles in a forward motion with your arms for about 15 seconds.
  • Then, switch and do small backward circles for another 15 seconds.
  • Repeat for three sets.

Take frequent breaks

It’s important to break up long periods of sitting. Try to stand up and move around for a few minutes every hour. This not only helps your shoulders but also is beneficial for your overall health.

Stay consistent

Incorporating these simple exercises into your daily routine can help strengthen and stretch your shoulders, potentially reducing pain and stiffness. The key is consistency, so try to make these exercises a regular part of your day, especially if you’re sitting at a computer for long hours.


Maintaining the health of your shoulders is crucial, especially when your job requires long hours at a computer. By integrating simple, quick stretches and exercises into your daily routine, you can greatly enhance your shoulder strength and flexibility. This isn’t just about avoiding discomfort, it’s also about fostering overall physical health and ensuring you’re protecting yourself against potential long-term issues.

Regular shoulder exercises help to improve posture, reduce the risk of injury and decrease the likelihood of developing chronic pain conditions that can arise from repetitive strain and poor ergonomic practices. The benefits extend beyond physical health, influencing your mental wellbeing and productivity. When you feel less pain and more energised, you’re likely to experience increased focus and efficiency at work.

Don’t overlook the importance of taking regular breaks to stretch and strengthen your shoulders throughout the day. Consistency is key in building and maintaining shoulder health. Make these exercises a habit, and your body will thank you for it in the long run, with improved endurance and a better quality of life both at work and outside of it.

For more insights, health tips and inspiration, don’t forget to explore our dedicated health and wellbeing section here.

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