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Deltoid Stretches: 8 Stretches to Mobilize & Strengthen Your Shoulders


Deltoid Stretches: 8 Stretches to Mobilize & Strengthen Your Shoulders
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You wake up in the morning and try to roll out of bed, but something's not right. Your shoulder feels stiff and painful, making it difficult to move your arm. You're not alone — stiffness and shoulder pain are common problems.

There are several different reasons why this may occur, including straining exercises, bad posture, and inactivity. In some cases, the problem may be due to a more serious condition such as arthritis or bursitis.

However, there are many things you can do to ease the pain and regain the full range of motion in your shoulder. First, rest; second, try incorporating gentle stretching exercises into your fitness routine.

This post will show you eight stretches that will help mobilize and strengthen your shoulders. Try adding them to your regular routine, and see how you feel!

Anatomy of the Deltoids

The deltoids are a group of three muscles working together to move the shoulder- anterior, posterior, and middle deltoids. The anterior deltoid is the muscle that covers the front of the shoulder. The posterior deltoid covers the back of the shoulder, and the middle deltoid covers the side of the shoulder.

All three muscles work together to lift the arm above the head. The anterior deltoid is responsible for most lifting, whereas the posterior deltoid and middle deltoid work together to stabilize the shoulder joint.

To effectively work all three muscles, it is important to include a variety of exercises in your workout routine. We’ll give you a few great options to perform stretches later in the post.

What are the Benefits of Deltoid Stretches?

Stretching your shoulders promise quite a few benefits:

  • Improve range of motion
  • Decrease pain and stiffness
  • Increase blood flow to the area
  • Help prevent injuries.
  • Improve athletic performance
  • Strengthen muscles

Best Time to Stretch Your Deltoids

The best time to stretch your deltoids is after a workout. This will help reduce any pain or stiffness from lifting weights. However, if you are not working out, you can still stretch your deltoids anytime during the day.

Anterior Deltoid Stretch

The anterior deltoid is a muscle located in the front of your shoulder. This muscle is commonly used in chest-related exercises and movements. If the anterior deltoid becomes tight or tired, it can lead to poor posture and an increased risk of injury.

Stretching this muscle can help open up the front of your body, alleviating any tightness or stiffness you may feel. Additionally, stretching the anterior deltoid will improve its flexibility and range.

To do an anterior deltoid stretch:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides.
  • Raise one arm above your head and grab your elbow with the opposite hand.
  • Gently pull your elbow towards the opposite shoulder until you feel a stretch in your anterior deltoid muscle.
  • Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds before repeating it on the other side.
  • You can also do this stretch with a towel or resistance band to increase the intensity of the stretch.

Posterior Deltoid Stretch

Your anterior deltoid covers the front of your shoulder and is often more active than other muscles in exercises. Even though it's important to keep this area strong, remember to stretch your posterior deltoid!

This stretch will target the back muscle of your shoulder, but you may also feel it a little in your triceps and upper back. This move is often recommended to hedge against injuries and improve the range of motion.

To do the stretch:

  • Start standing with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Then, reach behind you with your right hand and grab your left elbow.
  • Gently pull your left elbow towards your back until you feel a stretch in the back of your shoulder.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.
  • Remember to breathe deeply as you stretch and resist the temptation to bounce.

8 Best Deltoid Stretches

Here are eight interesting deltoid stretches that will help you loosen up your tight muscles and strengthen and mobilize them into your dream deltoids.

1. Arm Across Chest Stretch

  • Reach your right arm across your body and grab your left shoulder with your right hand.
  • Gently pull your left shoulder towards you with your right hand until you feel a stretch in the front of your left shoulder.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds before repeating on the other side.

2. Standing Phelps Back Slap Stretch

  • Start by standing tall with good posture.
  • Start by giving yourself a hug and reaching your arms as far as they go across your upper back.
  • Release your hold and open your arms up wide and reach back.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds per position.

3. Standing Alternating Upper Arm Circles

  • Start by standing tall with good posture.
  • Raise your arms to the sides and circle them forward 10 times.
  • Then, reverse the direction and circle them backward 10 times.
  • Repeat this entire sequence 2-3 times.

4. Stick Pass Around Stretch

  • Start by holding a stick or broom with an overhand grip.
  • Keep your arms as straight as possible throughout the entire movement.
  • Slowly pass the stick to your right side, then behind you, then to your left side.
  • Repeat this 10 times before switching sides and repeating the entire sequence.

5. Standing Reverse Shoulder Stretch

  • Start by standing tall with good posture.
  • Clasp your hands behind your back with your elbows pointing to the sides.
  • Gently pull your head down towards your chest until you feel a stretch in the back of your shoulders.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds before repeating on the other side.

6. Standing Wring the Towel

  • Start by standing tall with good posture.
  • Put your arms out to your sides.
  • Rotate one shoulder inwards while simultaneously rotating the other outwards.
  • Repeat this 10 times alternating back and forth.

7. Doorway Shoulder Stretch

  • Start by standing in a doorway with your arms out to the sides and your elbows bent at 90 degrees.
  • Gently lean your body forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your shoulders.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds before repeating on the other side.

8. Sleeper Stretch

  • Start by lying on your side and stacking your shoulders.
  • Line up your elbow with your shoulder and begin to apply pressure on your wrist downwards bringing your arm into internal rotation.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds before repeating on the other side.


1. How do you relieve deltoid pain?

Rest is important when you are trying to relieve deltoid pain. You should ice the area for 20 minutes several times a day. You can also use heat by applying a heating pad to the area for 20 minutes. If you have chronic deltoid pain, you may need to see a doctor to get relief.

Several treatments can help, including physical therapy and injections. Injections can help to reduce inflammation and pain. Physical therapy can help strengthen the shoulder muscles and improve the range of motion. If you have chronic deltoid pain, don't suffer in silence - talk to your doctor about treatment options.

2. What does a strained deltoid feel like?

A strained deltoid muscle is characterized by sudden pain in the muscle at the front of the shoulder, often reproduced when lifting the arm from the side to the front against resistance. In some cases, visible swelling and tenderness may develop where the muscle is torn.

If you think you may have a strained deltoid muscle, you must see a doctor or other medical professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan. Treatment options may include rest, icing, and physical therapy. Surgery is usually only necessary in severe cases.

3. What causes tight deltoids?

One of the most common causes of tight deltoids is poor posture. When you stand with your shoulders hunched forward, it puts extra strain on the deltoid muscles. Over time, this can lead to tension and stiffness in the muscles.

Other causes of tight deltoids include repetitive motions (such as overhead arm motions during a tennis serve) and sitting for long periods of time with poor posture. Poor posture puts strain on the deltoids and can lead to other problems, such as neck pain and headaches.

If you're experiencing tightness in your deltoids, take a close look at your posture and make any necessary adjustments. You can avoid further discomfort and keep your shoulders healthy and strong with proper care.

4. How often should you train deltoids?

The general rule of thumb when training your deltoids is 2-3 times per week. This can be done by splitting your overall training volume into 3-4 sets each. For best results, focus on 8-12 sets per week for each head of the deltoid.

Remember that everyone is different, and you may need to adjust your program according to your goals and fitness level. But if you stick to this general guideline, you'll be on your way to achieving those impressively strong shoulders in no time.

The Bottom Line

Stretching your deltoids is a great way to improve shoulder mobility and flexibility. These 8 stretches can help tone and strengthen your shoulders and may also help relieve pain and tension in the area. Be sure to stretch both sides evenly and hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds for best results.

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