This simple test and conditioning drill can help highlight asymmetry, potentially improve function and reduce the risk of shoulder injuries across the spectrum of ages and abilities.


The reciprocal reach exercise can be used to assess and improve shoulder mobility. Some shoulder and upper limb injuries may be associated with loss of movement at the shoulder joint. This test combines the movements of flexion-adduction-external rotation and extension-adduction-internal rotation of the glenohumeral joint offering an insight into mobility and function. Testing one way and then the other, can indicate asymmetry or highlight relative differences in range of movement which may contribute to current or future injuries. If this is addressed it can offer potential function and performance gains.  


Simply put, this test is a simple indicator of shoulder health. Whilst an asymmetry doesn't mean there is a problem it may be useful to know in the presence of symptoms and potentially in both improving function and preventing injury.  This simple test can be useful for anyone of any age and may be particularly useful for those who participate in  activities and sports requiring the use of the arms!


If you notice an asymmetry or find this movement difficult to access you can use the same position to develop your range of motion. Regular mobilisation either in the form of short repeated holds or a sustained stretch  can be used here. It's worth noting, often a deficit in range may be associated with a strength deficit. We recommend seeking advice from a health and fitness professional like a Physiotherapist.  


The reciprocal reach is a simple test and mobility drill for the shoulders. They work well with people of all ages and don’t require any specialist equipment. We recommend the use of a MoveWell Sustain Strap to aid this exercise. The strap offers an easy way to grip and assist the movement. As always, how much and how often depends on a number of other factors but we suggest aiming to do this as regularly as daily to improve range of movement or perhaps weekly for maintenance. This can be incorporated into warm ups or key moments in your day like a morning routine, or can be added to other training sessions for time efficiency.  Of course, you can adjust the frequency and intensity as needed. In the presence of injury we always recommend you seek help from an appropriately qualified practitioner. 

It's important to note that injury, and injury prevention, are multifactorial and complex. The reciprocal reach can be a useful test and tool and should be used in conjunction with other strength and conditioning drills with other factors such as appropriate training, nutrition and recovery playing hugely important roles.