Exercises for Shoulder Flexibility: External Rotation

This stretch can help restore shoulder flexibility and may help relieve pain over time. When stretching, be sure to breathe deeply. Follow any special instructions from your healthcare provider or physical therapist.

  1. Stand in a doorway. Grasp the doorjamb with the hand on the frozen (stiff) side. Your arm should be bent.

  2. With the other hand, hold the elbow on the side with the involved frozen (stiff) shoulder firmly against your body.

  3. Standing in the same spot, rotate your body away from the doorjamb. Stop when you feel the stretch in the shoulder. At first, try to hold the stretch for 5 seconds.

  4. Work up to doing  3 sets of this stretch,  3 times a day and working up to holding the stretch for  30 to 60 seconds.

Note: Keep your arms as still as you can. Over time, rotate your body a little more to enhance the stretch. But be careful not to twist your back.

Woman standing facing doorway. One arm is bent, hand holding on to doorway. Other hand is across body holding bent elbow. Arrows show woman turning to side, continuing to hold doorway.

Frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder is another name for adhesive capsulitis. It causes pain and limited movement in the shoulder. If you have frozen shoulder, this stretch may cause discomfort, especially when you first get started. A few months to possibly a few years may pass doing this exercise and others before you achieve the results you want. Frozen shoulder may occur again, especially in those with diabetes. It is important to regularly continue with your stretching program as instructed. If you have any questions, be sure to ask your healthcare provider.