How to Improve Limited Shoulder Internal Rotation

Nov 13, 2023

Understanding Limited Shoulder Internal Rotation

Limited shoulder internal rotation is a common condition that affects many individuals, causing restricted movement and discomfort in the shoulder joint. This condition can stem from various factors, such as muscular imbalances, past injuries, or even poor posture. It can significantly impact your daily activities, sports performance, and overall quality of life.

The Importance of Shoulder Mobility

Shoulder mobility plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy and functional upper body. A fully mobile shoulder joint allows you to perform activities like reaching overhead, lifting, pushing, and pulling with ease and efficiency. When shoulder internal rotation is limited, it can lead to compensations, decreased range of motion, and increased risk of injuries.

Identifying Limited Shoulder Internal Rotation

Before diving into strategies to improve limited shoulder internal rotation, it's important to accurately assess your range of motion. An experienced healthcare professional, such as a chiropractor or physical therapist, can perform specialized tests and evaluations to determine the extent of your limited shoulder internal rotation.

Common signs of limited shoulder internal rotation include:

  • Difficulty reaching behind your back or clasping your hands
  • Discomfort or pain during shoulder movements
  • Feeling tightness or restriction in the shoulder joint
  • Noticeable muscle imbalances or postural deviations

Effective Strategies to Improve Shoulder Internal Rotation

Fortunately, there are several effective strategies and exercises that can help improve limited shoulder internal rotation. These strategies aim to address the underlying causes of the condition, enhance shoulder mobility, and promote overall shoulder health.

1. Stretching and Range of Motion Exercises

Stretching exercises specifically targeting the muscles involved in shoulder internal rotation can help alleviate tightness and improve range of motion. These exercises may include:

  • Doorway Stretch: Stand facing an open doorway, placing your forearm against the door frame. Gently lean forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds, repeating 3-5 times on each side.
  • Sleeper Stretch: Lie on your side with the affected shoulder pointing upward. Bend your elbow to a 90-degree angle and place a rolled towel or pillow under your upper arm for support. Gently push your hand down, aiming to touch the bed or floor. Hold for 30 seconds, repeating 3-5 times on each side.

2. Strengthening Exercises

Building strength in the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint can also help improve limited internal rotation. Incorporate exercises that target the external rotators of the shoulder, such as:

  • Resistance Band External Rotation: Anchor a resistance band to a stable object and hold the other end in your hand. Keep your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle and tucked into your side. Slowly rotate your forearm away from your body against the band's resistance. Perform 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions on each side.
  • Prone Horizontal Abduction: Lie face down on a mat or bed with your arms extended to the sides. Slowly lift your arms off the ground, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Aim for 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

3. Postural Corrections

Improving your overall posture can have a significant impact on shoulder mobility. Engaging in exercises and activities that promote proper postural alignment can help alleviate restrictions and enhance internal rotation. Be mindful of your sitting and standing posture throughout the day and consider incorporating exercises such as:

  • Chin Tucks: Sit or stand tall with your shoulders relaxed. Gently retract your chin, bringing it back towards your neck without tilting your head. Hold for 5-10 seconds, repeating 10-15 times.
  • Wall Angels: Stand with your back against a wall and your feet slightly away from the wall. Raise your arms to shoulder level, bending your elbows to 90 degrees. Slowly slide your arms up and down the wall while maintaining contact with your head, upper back, and buttocks. Perform 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

Seeking Professional Help

If you're struggling with limited shoulder internal rotation despite your efforts, it's essential to consult with a qualified healthcare professional. Chiropractors and physical therapists have the expertise to provide personalized assessments, create tailored treatment plans, and guide you through rehabilitation exercises to restore optimal shoulder function.


Don't let limited shoulder internal rotation hold you back from enjoying life. By implementing these effective strategies, performing specific exercises, and seeking professional guidance when needed, you can improve your shoulder mobility, reduce discomfort, and enhance your overall well-being. Visit IAOM-US, your trusted resource for health, chiropractic, and physical therapy, to learn more and start your journey towards better shoulder function today!