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Keeping your muscles limber and flexible is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and stretching the teres major muscle can help to improve your posture, reduce soreness after exercise, and even alleviate shoulder pain. The teres major is a small but powerful muscle located in the upper back that connects the humerus bone to the scapula. Here are five effective stretches you can do to target this area and reap its many benefits.

What is the Teres Major Muscle?

The Teres Major is a small, triangular-shaped muscle located in the upper back portion of the body. It lies beneath the teres minor and is primarily responsible for extending, rotating, and stabilizing the shoulder joint.

The Teres Major plays a critical role in overall upper body strength, aiding not only during activities where one does press-ups or lifts weights but also in everyday activities like lifting heavy grocery bags or reaching for a book on a high shelf.

Additionally, proper stabilization of this muscle allows for improved posture, which in turn can decrease physical pain for people involved in seated occupations – providing smoother movement of their arms and shoulders away from their torso. Thus, exercising and caring for one’s health is undeniably an integral investment.

Why Should You Stretch the Teres Major?

Stretching the teres major is important in achieving and maintaining overall muscular health. It helps maintain postural alignment, reduces tension on the muscles surrounding the scapula, and supports proper shoulder joint movement.

As such, it can help reduce pain while lifting, improve the range of motion in your shoulder joint and enhance performance in athletic and everyday activities. Stretching can also provide an overall sense of improved well-being since regular stretching can help reduce stress levels and make people more aware of their body’s posture.

Finally, stretching effectively prevents injury caused by overstressing already tight muscles by allowing for better muscle balance and flexibility. Therefore, it is important to include stretching the teres major as part of your regular workout routine to reap these benefits.

3 Signs Your Teres Major is Stiff

There are many signs that your teres major muscle, located in your mid-back, may be tightening or stiffening. A tense teres major can cause additional and unnecessary stress on the body.

To check if your teres major is tight, there are three key indicators to look out for: restricted range of motion in the shoulder and neck, muscular fatigue in the upper back area, and stabbing pain radiating from the back.

If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, it’s important to take care of yourself and look for a diagnosis from a qualified health professional. Taking steps now will contribute significantly to your overall well-being.

5 Teres Major Stretches

Let’s take a look at five stretches you can do to target the Teres Major muscle.

  1. Chest Expansion
  2. Behind the Back Elbow Squeeze
  3. Cross-Body Arm Reach
  4. Shoulder Blade Squeeze
  5. Overhead Back Stretch

Chest Expansion

The Chest Expansion stretch is an effective way to target the teres major muscle and increase the range of motion in the shoulder.

  • To properly do this stretch, begin by standing with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Position your hands behind your back, slightly below waist height.
  • Flex your elbows slightly and press against a wall or a door frame as you attempt to widen the distance between your arms.
  • Keep them as close perpendicular to the ground as possible while taking deep breaths, allowing for a gentle release of tension in the muscle group.
  • Hold this position for 10-15 seconds or longer if desired. You may repeat this exercise several times throughout the day for maximal benefit.

By stretching regularly and consistently keeping good posture during daily activities, you can help ensure optimal flexibility and range of motion in the teres major muscle.

Behind the Back Elbow Squeeze

The Teres Major muscle is an important muscle for releasing tension in the shoulder and upper back. The best way to stretch it is with the Behind the Back Elbow Squeeze.

  • To begin, stand upright and bring your forearms level with your torso.
  • Reach behind your back and interlock your elbows.
  • Gently pull your elbows away from one another so that you feel a stretch in between your shoulder blades.
  • Hold this position for at least 15-30 seconds, then release and repeat a few times as desired.
  • It’s important to ensure that you aren’t creating any extra stress on the neck or shoulders while doing this stretch, so maintain an upright posture throughout each repetition.

With regular practice, you’ll reap the full benefits of this important movement.

Cross-Body Arm Reach

The Cross-Body Arm Reach is an excellent way to stretch and target the Teres Major muscle. This exercise can be done in the comfort of your home with minimal equipment or space.

  • To perform this stretch, start by standing in an upright position.
  • Next, lift your right arm up and across your body towards the left side as comfortably as you can.
  • Next, use your left hand to apply gentle pressure to increase the level of intensity if desired.
  • Consider holding this position for ten seconds before switching arms.

The Cross-Body Arm Reach combines tension release and relaxation for tight muscles in the shoulder and upper back area, making it perfect for those looking for a simple yet effective way to release tension in these areas.

Shoulder Blade Squeeze

Strengthen your Teres Major muscle with the Shoulder Blade Squeeze, an exercise that can do wonders for proper posture, enhanced flexibility, and reduced discomfort in the upper back area. Not only will you benefit from improved mobility, but you will also experience less pain across your shoulders!

  • To begin, stand upright with your arms stretched out in front of you at shoulder height.
  • Next, squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold for five to ten seconds.
  • Relax and repeat this sequence several times, increasing the duration of each squeeze as you become more comfortable with the exercise.
  • Regular practice of this movement can help reduce tension in the teres major muscle while providing a good stretch throughout your upper back area.

Overhead Back Stretch

The Overhead Back Stretch is an excellent way to target the Teres Major muscle while providing a full-body stretch.

  • To perform this stretch, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and raise your arms above your head.
  • Breathe deeply and imagine that you are reaching up towards the sky. Hold this position for 10 – 15 seconds and then release.

The Overhead Back Stretch stretches the entire upper body, including the teres major muscle, while improving posture and releasing shoulder tension. This movement can be done anywhere, even at work or watching TV!


Stretching the Teres Major muscle regularly is important for optimal postural health and improved range of motion. You can do this conveniently with exercises like Behind the Back Elbow Squeeze, Cross-Body Arm Reach, Shoulder Blade Squeeze, and the Overhead Back Stretch.

Make sure to hold each stretch for 15 – 30 seconds and to keep your neck and shoulders relaxed throughout the entire movement. Through regular practice, you will notice improved comfort in the shoulder area as well as enhanced mobility.