Wedge Stretches for Your Shoulder

Wedge Stretches for Your Shoulder

Preparing the wedge

  • Place a wedge on a mat and roll 2 towels, 1 long and 1 short.
  • Place the towel on the wedge with the longer towel going top to bottom (vertically, marked A) and the shorter towel going side to side (horizontally, marked B) below the other towel. 
  • It will look like an upside down “T”.   
wedge and 2 towels

Back stretch (lumbar and thoracic extension)

This exercise is to help you improve your posture when you are sitting up straight. 

  • Lay down with your back on the wedge. The long vertical towel (A) should be along your spine and the horizontal towel (B) in the small of your back. 
  • Keep this position as long as is comfortable for you. 

To improve your neck range: 

  • Roll the top end of towel (A) to be at your neck just below your head. Stretch your head back toward the wedge as is comfortable.   
back stretch

Shoulder press (passive scapular retraction)

  • Lie down on the wedge in the same position as above. 
  • Have someone help you by placing the base of his or her palms on your shoulders and applying light pressure. 
  • With your helper applying pressure, hold this stretch as feels comfortable for as long as 2 to 3 minutes. 
shoulder press

Supported arm turn (passive external rotation)

Do not try this stretch until your therapist has shown you how to do it properly. 

  • Continue lying on the wedge in the same position. 
  • Your helper should support your arm at the back of your elbow and wrist.
  • With your arm bent and your elbow at your side, turn your arm out to your side.

This movement may feel very tight in your shoulder. Do not force the movement, just stretch as it feels comfortable. 

supported arm turn

© 2018 – July 1, 2019, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

This handout is for informational purposes only. Talk with your doctor or healthcare team if you have any questions about your care. For more health information, call the Library for Health Information at 614-293-3707 or email: