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Exercises for Shoulder Flexibility: Internal Rotation

Man sitting in chair doing internal rotation shoulder exercise.This stretch can help restore shoulder flexibility and relieve pain over time. When stretching, be sure to breathe deeply. Follow any special instructions from your healthcare provider or physical therapist.

  1. While seated, move the arm on the side you want to stretch toward the middle of your back. The palm of your hand should face out.

  2. Cup your other hand under the hand that’s behind your back. Gently push your cupped hand upward until you feel the stretch in the shoulder. Try to hold the stretch for 5 seconds.

  3. Work up to doing 3 sets of this stretch, 3 times a day. Work up to holding the stretch for 30–60 seconds.

Note: Keep your back straight. It’s OK if your hand can’t reach the middle of your back. Instead, start the stretch with your hand as close as you can get it to the middle of your back.


Frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder is another name for adhesive capsulitis. This causes restricted movement in the shoulder. If you have frozen shoulder, this stretch may cause discomfort, especially when you first get started. A few months may pass before you achieve the results you want. But once your shoulder heals, it almost never becomes frozen again. So stick to your stretching program. If you have any questions, be sure to ask your healthcare provider.

Online Medical Reviewer: Hanrahan, John, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Image reviewed by StayWell medical illustration team.
Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 8/6/2013
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