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Posterior Shoulder Stretching and Strengthening

Updated: Oct 18, 2018

Do you know that best practice guidelines for the persistent pain include stretching of posterior shoulder every day? Many people, whether athletes or desk jockeys do not realize that a big contributor to shoulder pain and posture is a tight posterior shoulder capsule.

Here is a routine much like some of my other routines that includes stretching and strengthening to get some long-lasting effects.

Start off with some soft tissue release of the tight posterior shoulder muscles. This can be done by your manual therapist or by yourself with a lacrosse or tennis ball. Roll the ball over the shoulder and find some tender spots. This can be done seated or standing against the wall. Move your shoulder in different motions. Shoot for 1-2 mins per side

Move to the “sleeper” stretch. Lie on your side (mostly on your rib cage and outside of the shoulder blade). Keep your upper arm straight in line with your shoulder. Gently push your hand toward the ground until a mild stretch is felt behind the shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds

For more experienced individuals you can create more activation of the posterior shoulder by gently pressing the back of the hand you are stretching backward into your own hand for 10 seconds and then progressing your hand closer to the ground. This is a form of PNF stretching.

Lastly, let’s add some strength. Lie on your back and take a LIGHT dumbbell in your hand. Keep your shoulder blades retracted and then lower the dumbbell to the floor as far as you can. Then in a controlled manner lift it back to the start. Keep the back of your shoulder pinned to the ground and do not let your shoulder elevate off the ground. Remember we want to feel a stretch in the back of the shoulder with this one. 

Repeat this series 2-3 times. That should bring you to about 10-12 minutes. This will do wonders for your shoulder health and posture. 


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