Stretching the shoulder with Bands

Stretching the shoulder with bands is the best of both worlds… Lengthening with Distraction



For years as a physical therapist, I passively stretched and mobilized the shoulder joint and frankly I inflicted a lot of unnecessarily pain on patients.   Capsular tightness does occur and does need passive overpressure stretching and yes muscles do get structurally tight and do need passive lengthening but grinding the humeral head on the glenoid fossa is not the best way to mobilize or stretch the shoulder.


The shoulder is a joint that is essentially stabilized by muscles rather than ligamentous tissue.  No question ligaments do play a role but how the musculature of the shoulder integrates together plays a significantly greater role in keeping the shoulder healthy.


The other thing the shoulder loves is distraction.  Distraction has been used for years by manual therapist with tremendous success and coupling that with some gentle accommodating soft tissue lengthening is a much more effective way to get mobility into a joint that must function with a high degree of mobility and range of motion.


Also, the shoulder mobilizes and stretching much better when you move the body on the arm versus the arm on the body which is what is often seen.  Most coaches and athletes do traditional shoulder stretching by moving the arm around and grabbing it with the opposite arm and pulling on it.


Well I have found that if you move the body on the arm or anatomically move the glenoid fossa (shoulder socket) on the humeral head (ball), the shoulder joint will respond much better and not get put at risk of addition trauma or pain.


Confused??  No worries.


Stretching the shoulder with bands allows you to use distraction, which the shoulder loves along with dynamically moving the body on the arm.   All you do is literally hang out and move your feet around relative to the band attachment.


The toughest thing when it comes to stretching the shoulder with bands is relaxing and letting the band do all the work.


Key points to making stretching the shoulder with bands successful:


Make sure you use a XL Green or XXL Blue band unless you weigh less than 120 pounds.  In that case a large purple band may work.


Do not grip the band, place you hand through the loop and let it lock down onto your wrist.  Having to make a fist will only cause the deltoid to tighten up.


Make sure you have a comfortable and stable base of support.  I your body feels unstable it will not relax.


NO impingement symptoms at the subacromial space or tip of the shoulder.    That is your rotator cuff getting smashed against the underneath surface of your acromium and is not a therapeutic response but rather a pathological response to the stretch.



Stretching the shoulder with bands is a little misconceiving… in reality you will be mobilizing the shoulder joint while you are lengthening the soft tissue that surround the shoulder.






Getting BETTER with BANDS







10 Responses to «Stretching the shoulder with Bands»

  1. April 03, 2012 at 10:12 am, Travis said:

    Awesome Video Dave! I love this stuff

  2. April 03, 2012 at 12:04 pm, Steve S said:

    Excellent video Dave. Great advice.

  3. April 03, 2012 at 1:28 pm, Jason N said:

    As always, great stuff! I’ve seen your shoulder stretches but not with the added SMR. I learn something new from you every time I check out your stuff. By the way, awesome job in Louisville! You rocked the house!

  4. April 03, 2012 at 1:59 pm, Nikki said:

    Thanks Dave, yet another great video. I don’t have any shoulder problems, but I just gave it a go and the stretches feel fantastic. Gotta love bands.

  5. April 03, 2012 at 3:06 pm, Mike said:

    Looks like great stretches for baseball pitchers….Your a wealth of information…THANKS!

  6. April 04, 2012 at 4:12 am, juan antonio said:

    Great video and recommendations Dave, regards from Barcelona.

  7. April 04, 2012 at 7:28 am, Frank DiMeo said:

    More great coaching! Thanks, Dave!

  8. April 06, 2012 at 5:29 am, Alex Katsanos said:

    Fantastic Dave…It’s great how you can really use bands to stretch in a subtle way letting them provide all resistance. Then you are just changing angles and moving the trunk (with the glenohumeral joint for example)
    We would love to see more!


  9. April 12, 2012 at 11:51 am, Andrea said:

    I love the shoulder stretch. question: In your Key Points you state not to “grip” the bands. Your client seems to be gripping? Is that an ok tension?

  10. April 12, 2012 at 12:37 pm, 2 Monster Mobility Videos | Baseball Training Blueprint said:

    […] Stretching the shoulder with Bands […]

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