This stretch uses your dance pole to help you find those tight muscles, and to deepen the stretch when you're ready. Since upper body strength is so important in pole dancing, we need to take good care of those shoulders!
Start by facing your dance pole and grasping it lightly just below shoulder height. Stand with your feet about 12 - 18 inches away.
Then slowly rotate your body away from your pole, in the opposite direction to the extended arm.
So if your right hand is on the pole, you'll turn away from that arm and towards your left.
Keep rotating until you feel a slight stretch across the front of your shoulder.
You should end up in a position similar to the photo to the left.
Your shoulder should be relaxed, with the shoulder blade held down and back; try not to tense up.
If you're very tight in your shoulders or chest, you may feel a good stretch at this point. If so, stop right here; there's no need to go any deeper until you feel that this version of the stretch is no longer working for you.
If and when you do feel ready to deepen the stretch, here's what to do.
Allow the elbow of the extended arm to bend just slightly, and drop towards the floor.
The movement you'll need to do is very small, and you'll have to look closely at the photos to see it.
You should feel the front of your shoulder and chest open up on that side as you drop the elbow slightly towards the floor.
What's happening: Anchored by the pole, this small movement rotates your shoulder back just enough to help lengthen the muscles in the front of your shoulder and chest.
Depending on which muscles are tightest, you may feel this pole shoulder stretch more in your chest, your shoulders, or even your biceps. You'll probably also find that very small adjustments will affect where you feel the stretch, and how deeply.
Feel free to experiment with how much you bend your arm, how high your hand is, and how much you rotate your body. As long as you move slowly and with awareness of the stretch, you're very unlikely to injure yourself.
Once you feel a comfortable stretch in the right place, hold it for 20-30 seconds, then release by rotating back towards the pole. Change arms and repeat on the other side.
My Stretching & Flexibility DVD has many more stretches designed to help you lengthen and stretch out tight pole dancing muscles.