Stretching Series: Teres Major and Minor with Tricep Brachii

Posterior Shoulder
In certain areas of the body, muscles function in such close proximity to each other that they can become stuck to one another. This of course does not allow those muscles to love and stretch in the way they are intended. This can be very limiting when it comes to range of motion. This is especially true in the shoulder, and, specifically, with the teres muscles, triceps brachii and latissimus dorsi. Stretching these four muscles with this theory in mind can allow for better increases in  mobility when only stretching independently is unsuccessful.

The Stretch

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Teres Minor and Major

  • Begin by standing about two feet away from the wall at a 90-degree angle.
  • Extend shoulder over the head and place elbow on the wall.

    Figure 1
  • Lean toward wall allowing the elbow to move toward your head. The stretch will we felt on the underside portion of the shoulder more laterally and posterior.

Adding Triceps Brachii and Latissimus Dorsi

Once the teres major and minor are stretched, we can add triceps brachii and latissimus dorsi to make a combination stretch. This is important in this specific area because the different muscles that are in very close proximity to each other. These muscles need to be able to function in their own range of motions without being restricted by other muscles.  We want to be able to create differentiation between these muscles so they can love and glide independently of each other. We can do this by using the force of the stretch.

  • Maintain our lengthened and stretched position of teres major and minor (in step 3 of teres stretch),  so this position will be our anchoring point.
  • Keeping the shoulder in place, bend the elbow slowly and bring your hand behind your head. The stretch should be felt in the back of the arm through the triceps brachii and also intensify the stretch of teres major and minor.

    Figure 2
  • To maximize the stretch and increase lengthening of all four muscles including latissimus dorsi, lean your torso closer to the wall and slightly laterally flex away.

    Figure 3

    Note: Adding the triceps brachii and latissimus dorsi lengthening will only intensify the stretch if you do not have good movement between these structures. If your mobility is already good, only a minor pull will be felt in the triceps itself.

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