Is the following a legitimate back shoulder stretch? I have never seen this stretch on any resource website until now. Sometimes when I see something on youtube, I have verify its a proper stretch which will not cause injury or issues later.



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2 Answers 2


No, it's stretching the front of the shoulder (anterior deltoid), not the back. In that regard, it's a legitimate stretch, but more often done from a seated position rather than lying, since most people who are not contortionists are not this hyper-mobile.

Like all stretching, it is really only useful if you have a specific need to be able to put yourself into this position.

  • thanks, now what happens when I progress and eventually hit horizontal 0 degrees on the floor? does it eventually become like the bar exercise mentioned here? it seems like this exercise is the second half of this bar stretch , if I rotate the palms facing outward instead of down it would seem to, fitness.stackexchange.com/questions/44888/…
    – mattsmith5
    Feb 26, 2022 at 4:35
  • No, it's not the same as the bar strength, because in this stretch the shoulders are prevented from rotating. If you eventually hit completely horizontal on this stretch then you would have a truly horrifying degree of flexibility, and I would be concerned about what that would mean for the stability and integrity of your shoulders. Feb 26, 2022 at 8:30
  • so are "shoulders are prevented from rotating" regardless of what way I rotate the palms? btw in doing this exercise, it feels like the back side of the bar stretch is getting a lot easier, I will keep you updated, thanks
    – mattsmith5
    Feb 26, 2022 at 20:56
  • btw you made another interesting point, that doing too much stretch on this exercise to being horizontal would hurt "the stability and integrity of your shoulders", I'll have to look into this more, thanks
    – mattsmith5
    Feb 26, 2022 at 21:01

The shoulder is a very complicated joint. Here are some of its parts: There are four rotator cuff muscles. The joint is also crossed by the long head of the bicep. The joint capsul is comprised of the coracoacromial, coracohumeral, and glenohumeral ligaments. There are four different bursa, by my count. The glenohumeral joint is very close to the acromion of the scapula and the subacromial space. That is just the start.

So the question is, what tissue is the person in that picture stretching? I really don't know. It is impossible to say without diving deep into the anatomy, which is far beyond what anyon we can do on this website. However, my intuition, just looking at the picture, is that this person is putting a lot of stretch into part of the joint capsul, which is a bad idea.

The glenohumeral capsul is the tissue that prevents the head of your humerus from popping out of the glenoid fossa. You don't want this tissue to be loose. It is fine to stretch the muscles around the capsul, but stay away from the capsul itself. If for some reason you believe that some area of your shoulder capsul is tight, then you should go to a physical therapist to get a diagnosis. There are some standard tests that can be performed to diagnose and locate tightness in the shoulder capsul. Baseball pictures are know to have a problem with tightness in the posterior glenhohumeral capsul. (I might have this backwards. It might be the anterior capsul, so check me on that.) If you don't have a diagnosis, then stay away from the shoulder capsul.

Finally, I have a question: Are you a prepubescent female? If not, then you should not be taking advise from this young lady. I would recommend an adult such as Mike Reinhold for issues regarding the shoulder.

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