Rotator Cuff StretchesUpdated:
Exercises > Flexibility (Muscles) > Rotator Cuff Stretches
(Main muscles involved: Infraspinatus, Supraspinatus, Teres Minor, Subscapularis)
The following rotator cuff stretches are designed to improve the flexibility of the rotator cuff muscles (figure 1). You should discuss the suitability of these exercises with your physiotherapist prior to commencing them.
To begin with, the rotator cuff stretches should be held for 15 seconds and repeated 4 times at a mild to moderate stretch pain free. Generally you should choose one or two rotator cuff stretches that are most comfortable for you and perform them 1 – 3 times daily. As your flexibility improves, the rotator cuff stretches can be progressed by increasing the frequency and duration of the stretches provided they are pain free.
Figure 1 – Relevant Anatomy for Rotator Cuff Stretches
Rotator Cuff Stretches
Arm Across Chest Stretch
Begin this exercise standing tall with your back and neck straight. Gently take your arm across your body using your other arm to take it a little further. Hold at a mild to moderate stretch pain free for 15 seconds and repeat 4 times on each arm.
Figure 2 – Arm Across Chest Stretch (right side)
Subscapularis & Pectoral Stretch
Begin standing tall with your forearm against a wall and your elbow bent to 90 degrees as demonstrated (figure 3). Gently turn your body away from the wall until you feel a mild to moderate stretch across your chest and front of your shoulder without pain. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 4 times on each arm provided the exercise is pain free.
Figure 3 – Subscapularis & Pectoral Stretch (right side)
Rotator Cuff Self Massage Exercises
The following rotator cuff self massage exercises are designed to improve the flexibility of the rotator cuff muscles and are an excellent addition to the above stretches. You should discuss the suitability of these exercises with your physiotherapist prior to commencing them.
Foam Roller Rotator Cuff Release
Place the foam roller under your shoulder blade (rotator cuff) as demonstrated (figure 6). Using your legs, slowly move your body forwards and backwards allowing the roller to massage the shoulder blade region and back of the shoulder. Breathe normally keeping your muscles relaxed. Repeat this process for 15 – 90 seconds provided it is comfortable and does not cause pain. This exercise can also be performed with your hands behind your head or your arms across your chest.
Figure 6 – Foam Roller Rotator Cuff Release
Find a Physio
Find a physiotherapist who can assist with rotator cuff stretches and rehabilitation.
- View Rotator Cuff Strengthening Exercises
- View Arm Strengthening Exercises
- View Upper Body Massage Ball Exercises
- View Upper Body Foam Roller Exercises
- View Upper Body Resistance Band Exercises
- View Arm Stretches
Physiotherapy Products to Assist with Exercises
- Resistance Band (For Strengthening Exercises)
- Massage Balls (For Self Massage)
- Foam Rollers (For Self Massage and Pilates Exercises)
- Swiss Balls
- Exercise Mats
To purchase physiotherapy products to assist with rotator cuff stretches and other exercises click on one of the above links or visit the PhysioAdvisor Shop.
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