Tight Shoulder Stretching Routine

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Performing Distraction Stretching

The upper body, specifically the shoulder joint, responds well to distraction stretching. Fortunately with the elastic ascending nature of resistance bands, it is very easy to perform distraction stretching to the shoulder joint as well as the entire upper body.

4 Keys to Make the Distraction Stretching Routine Successful

Key #1: Move the body on the arms

The shoulder lengthens out better when the arm remains stationary and the body is asked to change positions relative to the arm.

Keep in mind that most of the muscles that need to be stretched are located on the spinal side of the shoulder versus the elbow side. Therefore, moving the body on the arm allows stretch forces to go from the spine out versus the arm in.
This eliminates the potential for the rotator cuff to get pinched during the stretching. This is what often occurs when doing the traditional arm on body stretches.

Key #2: Let the band do the work

Quantum bands are heavy duty bands that can create a high level of tension force, especially when stretched out. To optimize shoulder joint distraction, muscles have to relax for optimal  lengthening.  

This relaxation can be enhanced by hooking the bands around the wrist to eliminate having to grasp the band which will cause the shoulder muscle to naturally contract. The other key to relaxation is making sure the body is well balanced and does not have to be concerned with having to work to maintain balance.   

Provide the body with a wide base of support or even kneel to help ensure maximum balance. The more the body relaxes and allows the band forces to do the work, the more successful band distraction stretching will be.

Key #3: Use effective breathing

Expanding on the importance of relaxation, it’s important to apply effective breathing techniques during distraction stretching.

The most important time to focus on breathing is when increased band tension is being applied and muscles are being challenged to lengthen. Breathing normally while under a high level of stretch tension will stimulate muscles to passively lengthen versus reflexively contracting against the stretch tension.

Key #4: Stretch outside the sagittal plane

A band’s pliability allows it to move in all directions. Therefore, in order to get optimal distraction it is important to take the body into multiple planes and not just stay in the sagittal plane.   

No position is wrong as long as it does not reproduce pain. Therefore, allow the body to move in any position relative to the arm to create a 3-dimensional distraction of the upper torso.