Upper Back Stretches

Written by Tele Demetrious, Physiotherapist, BPhysio(Hons)
Reviewed by Brett Harrop, APA Sports Physiotherapist, BPhysio(Hons), MPhysio(Sports Physio)

Exercises > Flexibility (Joints) > Upper Back Stretches

The following upper back stretches are designed to restore flexibility to the joints and muscles of the upper back. If you are injured, you should discuss the suitability of these upper back stretches with your physiotherapist prior to beginning them. Generally, they should be performed 3 times daily provided they do not cause or increase pain.

Upper Back Stretches – Basic Exercises

Shoulder Blade Squeezes

Begin sitting or standing tall with your back straight. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as hard and far as possible pain-free (figure 1). Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.

Upper Back Stretches - Shoulder blade Squeezes

Figure 1 – Shoulder Blade Squeezes

Extension in Sitting

Begin sitting tall, with your hands behind your neck. Gently arch backwards and look up towards the ceiling until you feel a mild to moderate stretch pain-free (figure 2). Repeat 10 times.

Upper Back Stretches - Extension in Sitting

Figure 2 – Extension in Sitting

Rotation in Sitting

Begin sitting tall, with your arms across your chest. Keeping your legs still, gently rotate to one side until you feel a mild to moderate stretch pain-free (figure 3). Repeat 10 times to each side.

Upper Back Stretches - Rotation in Sitting

Figure 3 – Rotation in Sitting (left side)

Upper Back Stretches – Advanced Exercises

Upper Back Stretches – Less Common Exercises

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