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What are the Different Types of Rotator Cuff Stretches?

Nicole Madison
Updated May 17, 2024
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Rotator cuff stretches can be helpful for increasing or maintaining mobility and preventing injury. The rotator cuff consists of muscles and tendons that give stability to a person’s shoulder. Performing rotator cuff stretches helps to keep this part of the body functioning properly and pain free.

The muscles of the shoulder include the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis muscles. The tendons of these four muscles attach to a person’s shoulder blade, collarbone, and upper arm bone, providing stability and facilitating movement. The way these muscles attach to the bones causes a cuff-like formation, which is why they are referred to as the rotator cuff muscles. Stretching these muscles enables them to do their job properly.

One type of rotator cuff stretch requires the stretcher to stand up straight and grip one hand with the other behind his back. Then, keeping his arms held out straight behind him, the stretcher lifts his arms up toward the ceiling. When he feels a comfortable stretch of his rotator cuff, he holds his arms in that position for about 20 seconds before lowering them back to the starting position.

In another type of rotator cuff stretch, a person stands up straight, puts one hand behind his back, pointing it up toward the ceiling so his arm forms a 90-degree angle with the elbow pointed toward the floor. He then places a broomstick in the hand of the bent arm, gripping the opposite end with his other hand near his head. He then gently pulls the broomstick upward with the hand hear his head, holding the stretch for about 20 seconds. Repeat the exercise several times, switching arms.

A person may also do rotator cuff stretches while standing in front of a countertop with his legs slightly bent at the knee. He puts both of his palms on the countertop’s edge and then bends forward at the hip until his head is between his arms and he feels a comfortable stretch in the shoulder area. Once he feels the stretch, he holds the position for about 20 seconds.

It’s important to warm up properly before doing rotator cuff stretches. This helps to increase the stretcher’s range of motion as well as increase blood flow to his muscles. Warming up may also help prevent injury while stretching and exercising. A person may warm up for about 15 minutes by working out on an exercise bike or treadmill. He may also run in place or do jumping jacks as a warm-up exercise.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGEEK writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.

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Nicole Madison

Nicole Madison

Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGEEK writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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