Deltoid Stretches

Written by Brett Harrop


(Main muscles involved: Deltoid, Rhomboids, Trapezius, Rotator Cuff)

The following deltoid stretches are designed to improve the flexibility of the deltoid muscles (figure 1). You should discuss the suitability of these exercises with your physiotherapist prior to commencing them.

To begin with, the deltoid 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 deltoid stretches that are most comfortable for you and perform them 1 – 3 times daily. As your flexibility improves, the deltoid stretches can be progressed by increasing the frequency and duration of the stretches provided they are pain free.

Relevant Anatomy for Deltoid Stretches
Figure 1 – Relevant Anatomy for Deltoid Stretches

Deltoid 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.

Deltoid Stretches - Arm Across Chest Stretch
Figure 2 – Arm Across Chest Stretch (right side)

Anterior Deltoid & 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.

Deltoid Stretches - Anterior Deltoid & Pectoral Stretch
Figure 3 – Anterior Deltoid & Pectoral Stretch (right side)

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