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Tips for Stretching the Shoulder:

  • Focus more on lots of repetitions and less force…in other words start gently.
  • Don’t push the stretch into or through the pain barrier.
  • Stretch 3x/day for improvement, stretch 1x/day for maintenance.
  • Use on/off stretching for repetitions (think two sets of 15) rather than the traditional 3 sets of 30 seconds.  This will allow the tissue to relax and you will get a better stretch.
  • Often times, moving tender/painful tissue around can be painful.  The use of stoplights for stretch progression can help guide your stretching program


Red Light:  Increase pain during stretch, and pain increase after the stretch = STOP

Yellow light:  Increased pain during the stretch, but either less or the same amount of pain after the stretch = PROCEED WITH CAUTION

Green Light:  Decreased pain during the stretch, and decreased pain after the stretch = GO

Pushing through red lights when stretching can lead to increased pain and stiffness of the shoulder, as well as increased chance of injury.  Yellow lights will often turn green with continued stretching (but may turn red as well).  Green lights give you the okay to increase the force of the stretch, as long as the light does not turn red.

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