Floor angels for tightness in shoulders
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Move of the month: Floor Angels

Vivienne Rickman is your guide to a stretch that eases tightness in shoulders after a cold-water swim

When we swim in winter our muscles get cold and their ability to contract and expand is impaired, especially so in the arms, and shoulder area, where we have a high surface to mass ratio.

The chances are, if you have swam through winter before, you may have felt a strange muscle tightness across your shoulders. This is always my signal to get out as soon as possible. When muscles get really cold, they just can’t function correctly, so this month’s move is a really nice dynamic stretch to get those shoulders feeling wonderful again, but only once you are fully warm after your winter swim!

How to do Floor Angels

This is great for improving posture as it works to loosen up the pectoral muscles and stretches the deltoids. All you need is an exercise mat/comfortable surface to lie on.


  1. Lie completely flat on the mat, feet hip-width apart
  2. All parts of your body should be resting on the mat
  3. Position your arms at 90 degrees either side of your body,
    palms upwards
  4. Keeping your entire body in contact with the mat at all
    times, move your arms slowly above your head
  5. Return arms to 90 degree position slowly
  6. Repeat 10 times

For stretches and yoga poses to improve your swimming, read our guide to Yoga for Open Water Swimmers.

This article originally featured in the November 2022 issue of Outdoor Swimmer. To subscribe to the magazine, click here.