Five Great Stretches for the Shoulder

Posted by Stuart Hinds on

The shoulder can be a common site for the development of trigger points, restriction, and a number of other ailments ranging from the irritating to the excruciating. 

Simple stretching routines may help prevent the development of active trigger points, accelerate the healing process, and provide pain relief.

We generally try to recommend stretches that are easy to perform just about anywhere. Here are some of our favourite stretches for the shoulder.

Always start slowly, work within your limits, use common sense, and don't forget to ask your therapist about trigger points!

 

1. Pectoral stretch

pectoralis stretch diagram

Kneel on the floor in front of a chair or table and interlock your forearms above your head. Place your arms on the object and lower your upper body toward the ground.

Muscles that you're stretching

Primary muscles: Pectoralis major and minor. Anterior deltoid.
Secondary muscles: Serratus anterior. Teres major.

Injuries where this might be useful

Impingement syndrome. Rotator cuff tendonitis. Shoulder bursitis. Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis). Chest strain. Pectoral muscle insertion inflammation.

Note

Keep your elbows bent and vary the width of your arms for a slightly different stretch.

 

2. Pectoralis and bicep stretch

pec and bicep stretch diagram

Technique

Stand upright with your back towards a table or bench and place your hands on the edge of the table or bench. Slowly lower your entire body.

Muscles that you're stretching

Primary muscles: Anterior deltoid. Pectoralis major and minor.
Secondary muscles: Biceps brachii. Coracobrachialis.

Injuries where this might be useful

Dislocation. Subluxation. Acromioclavicular separation. Sternoclavicular separation. Impingement syndrome. Rotator cuff tendonitis. Shoulder bursitis. Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis). Biceps tendon rupture.Bicepital tendonitis. Biceps strain. Chest strain. Pectoral muscle insertion inflammation.

Note

Use your legs to control the lowering of your body. Do not lower your body too quickly.

 

3. Infraspinatus and posterior deltoid stretch

Infraspinatus stretch diagram

Technique

Stand with your arm out and your forearm pointing downwards at 90 degrees. Place a broomstick in your hand and behind your elbow. With your other hand pull the top of the broomstick forward.

Muscles that you're stretching

Primary muscle: Infraspinatus. Posterior deltoid.
Secondary muscle: Teres minor.

Injuries where this might be useful

Dislocation. Subluxation. Acromioclavicular separation. Sternoclavicular separation. Impingement syndrome. Rotator cuff tendonitis. Shoulder bursitis. Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis).

Note

Many people are very tight in the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder. Perform this stretch very slowly to start with and use extreme caution at all times.

 

4. Trapezius and posterior deltoid stretch

Trapezius and posterior deltoid stretch diagram

Technique

Sit in a squatting position while facing a door edge or pole, then hold onto the door edge with one hand and lean backwards away from the door.

Muscles that you're stretching

Primary muscles: Trapezius. Rhomboids. Latissimus dorsi. Posterior deltoid. 
Secondary muscle: Teres major.

Injuries where this might be useful

Neck muscle strain. Whiplash (neck sprain). Cervical nerve stretch syndrome. Wry neck (acute torticollis). Upper back muscle strain. Upper back ligament sprain. Impingement syndrome. Rotator cuff tendonitis. Shoulder bursitis. Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis).

Note

Lean backwards and let the weight of your body do the stretching. Relax your upper back, allowing it to round out and your shoulder blades to separate.

 

5. Anterior deltoid and biceps brachii stretch

Biceps brachii stretch diagram

Technique

Stand upright and clasp your hands together behind your back. Slowly lift your hands upward.

Muscles that you're stretching

Primary muscle: Anterior deltoid.
Secondary muscles. Biceps brachii. Brachialis. Coracobrachialis.

Injuries where this might be useful

Dislocation. Subluxation. Acromioclavicular separation. Sternoclavicular separation. Impingement syndrome. Rotator cuff tendonitis. Shoulder bursitis. Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis). Chest strain. Pectoral muscle insertion inflammation.

Note

Do not lean forward while lifting your hands upward.

 

Learn More

Anatomy of stretching course cover

NAT Master Course - Anatomy of Stretching (10 CPE)

 

About the author

Stuart Hinds is one of Australia’s leading soft tissue therapists, with over 27 years of experience as a practitioner, working with elite sports athletes, supporting Olympic teams, educating and mentoring others as well as running a highly successful clinic in Geelong.

Stuart has a strong following of practitioners across Australia and globally who tap into his expertise as a soft-tissue specialist. He delivers a range of highly sought after seminars across Australia, supported by online videos, webinars and one-on-one mentoring to help support his colleagues to build successful businesses.

In 2016, Stuart was awarded a lifetime membership to Massage & Myotherapy Australia for his significant support and contribution to the industry.

* * * 

This trigger point therapy blog is intended to be used for information purposes only and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or to substitute for a medical diagnosis and/or treatment rendered or prescribed by a physician or competent healthcare professional. This information is designed as educational material, but should not be taken as a recommendation for treatment of any particular person or patient. Always consult your physician if you think you need treatment or if you feel unwell. 

Related Posts


Share this post



← Older Post Newer Post →


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published.