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Muscle Groups Stretched

  • Teres Minor
  • Teres Major
  • Infraspinatus

Related Stretches

  • Winged External Shoulder Rotators Stretch

Related Range of Motion Exercises

External Rotator Cuff Stretch

Functional Benefit

Tight external shoulder rotator cuff muscles leads to a decreased range of internal shoulder rotation. This condition is know as GIRD, Glenohumeral Internal Rotation Deficit. GIRD is common in overhead athletes who repetetively perform throwing motions. Baseball pitchers and tennis players are most likely to experience this condition. With every throw an increased stretch of the external rotator cuff muscles increases external shoulder rotation. This may result in inhibition or tightness of the opposing internal rotator cuff muscles. During the deaccelaration phase of a throw or a serve the external rotator cuff muscles and the posterior shoulder capsule control the braking motion at the shoulder. It is believe the posterior capsule may suffer microdamage over time which increases the thickness of the capsule. A thick capsule and tight external rotator cuff muscles decreases internal range of motion effecting shoulder function. During a throwing or overhead motion the upper arm (humerous) is now pushed upwards creating a shearing force increasing the risk of injury, this upwards translocation can also increase the incidence of rotator cuff tendinitis and tears.

Testing internal shoulder range of motion effectively measures the tightness of the external shoudler rotators and the posterior shoulder capsule. You can test shoulder internal range of motion using the scatch test or the internal external shoulder rotation assessment. A loss of internal shoulder rotation should be corrected with external rotator cuff stretches. The overhead stretch and the winged stretch can be found on this page. Also exercising the external rotator cuff muscles may prevent further damage to the posterior capsule hence preventing further loss of range of motion. The external shoulder rotators can be strengthened using lying external shoulder rotations, standing external shoulder rotations, lateral pulldowns, chin ups, and bent over rows

Overhead External Rotator Cuff Stretch


Raise one arm above your head. Usinging the opposite hand lightly pull your elbow down behind your head. You should experience a stretch of the muscles on the under and posterior (back) side of the shoulder

Winged External Rotator Cuff Stretch


Place your hand behind your back with the palm facing backwards. Using your shoulder muscle or the opposing hand rotate the elbow towards the front of the body. You should experience a stretch at the rear of the shoulder

Personal Training Locations -

Coogee, Maroubra, Rushcutter's Bay, Queens Park, Centennial Park, Bronte 

Phone: 0401 396 722 

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