Stretching is an important part of any fitness routine, as it helps to improve flexibility and reduce the risk of injury. One particular stretch that can be beneficial for those who are looking to increase shoulder mobility is the infraspinatus stretch.
This exercise targets your back and shoulder muscles and can help you move more freely with less pain. You can learn how to do this stretch correctly to get the most out of it by following a few simple steps. Keep reading to find out how!
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What is the Infraspinatus?
The Infraspinatus is a thick triangular muscle that makes up the major portion of the infraspinous fossa of the scapula, and it’s among one of four key rotator cuff muscles – simply recalled with its mnemonic “SITS” (supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, teres minor, subscapularis). Its main function is to help us externally rotate the shoulder and stabilize and aid in the abduction of the arm.
What Happens if the Infraspinatus Is Damaged?
When the Infraspinatus is damaged, it can cause pain and decrease the range of motion. It can also restrict daily activities such as reaching for things or lifting objects. This can be caused by overuse, injury, or a chronic condition like tendonitis.
How Long Does a Torn Infraspinatus Take to Heal?
It depends on the severity of the injury. For example, a minor tear can take about six weeks to heal, but a more severe tear may take several months. During this time, it is important to rest the shoulder and use proper stretching and strengthening exercises to help it heal.
How to Stretch the Infraspinatus
Now that you understand the importance of the Infraspinatus, you can learn how to stretch it correctly and the various types of stretches that can be used.
- Seated Bent-Over Stretch
- Pendulum Stretch
- External Rotation Stretch
- Passive External Rotation Stretch
- Broom-Stick-Assisted Stretch
- Cross-Arm Stretch
Seated Bent-Over Stretch
The seated bent-over stretch is an excellent way to target the Infraspinatus, a muscle on the shoulder’s back and side. This muscle plays an important role in shoulder stabilization and shoulder rotation, so it’s essential to keep it flexible.
- To perform this stretch, sit with your legs spread wide apart and lean forward until your torso is horizontal with the floor.
- Reach back behind your right hip with both hands and hold that position for 30 to 60 seconds before switching sides.
- It may take a few stretches for the Infraspinatus to feel adequately loosened up – be sure to hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds for the best results.
One way to effectively target the muscle is with pendulum stretches, which simply require arm movement in circles.
- Start by standing with your arms outstretched and relaxed at your sides.
- Move your affected arm in circles forward and backward for four sets of twenty-second intervals.
- Each set should be conducted in each direction at least three times a day.
External Rotation Stretch
When it comes to stretching the Infraspinatus, the External Rotation Stretch is a simple yet effective way to increase joint health and improve the range of motion. In addition, you can perform this stretch conveniently with little to no equipment and take your stretching session wherever you are.
- Lie on your back with one bent arm and supporting hand behind your head.
- Bend your elbow horizontally in an ‘L’ shape and hold it there while straightening the opposite arm out to the side and holding a weight (like a 2-liter bottle filled with water or sand).
- Have your straightened arm rotate away from you, rotating the shoulder blade outward in an arc motion until you feel the tension in the shoulder area.
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then repeat up to three times before switching arms and repeating for even more benefit!
Passive External Rotation Stretch
The Passive External Rotation Stretch is a normal external rotation stretch variation that allows for even more mobility in the shoulder and rotator cuff.
- To perform this stretch, stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and keep one arm bent at a 90-degree angle across your chest.
- Next, take the opposite arm and wrap it around your bent arm and hold it in place with a towel or band.
- Gently move your bent arm away from your chest until you feel the tension in the shoulder area, then hold for up to 30 seconds. You can perform this stretch three times on each side for maximum benefit.
This stretch requires a broomstick and is another great option for loosening up the Infraspinatus.
- Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and holding the broomstick in front of you at chest level, arms straight out, and palms facing each other.
- Next, press the stick away from you until you feel the tension in the shoulder area, and hold for 30 seconds. Then, to get even deeper into the muscle, rotate your arms outward while pressing the broomstick away from you.
- Repeat up to three times before switching sides and getting a good stretch on both arms!
This stretch effectively targets the Infraspinatus since it encourages motion and flexibility in the shoulder area.
- Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and arms at your sides.
- Next, cross one arm over the other and clasp your hands together behind your back, keeping both shoulders level. Then, slowly raise your hands as far as you can while keeping your chest lifted and arms close to your body.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds, then repeat up to three times before switching sides and stretching out the other arm.
Stretching the Infraspinatus muscle can provide exceptional benefits to joint health and mobility, reducing pain in the shoulder area and increasing the range of motion.
It’s important to be consistent with your routine and ensure you’re targeting both sides evenly for the best results. These stretches are easy to do at home or anywhere else and can help keep your Infraspinatus in peak condition so you can move easily and comfortably. So don’t hesitate – to start stretching today!