Cross Body Shoulder Stretch | Delt Lat Stretch
The cross body shoulder stretch or delt lat stretch is a simple but effective exercise that targets your shoulder muscles and helps improve flexibility and mobility in that area. As a woman that balances significant time in front of the keyboard and who exercises a lot, I am no stranger to tighter shoulders and upper back pain. At times when I am feeling the tightest or when I am preparing for an upper body workout, I rely on the cross body stretch to loosen up my shoulder and lat muscles so I can work at my pain-free best.
What is the Cross Body Shoulder or Cross Arm Stretch?
Have you seen athletes preparing for a race pull an arm across their body and hold it there? Well, at the core, when you perform the cross body shoulder stretch, you’re essentially crossing one arm over your body to the opposite side and gently pulling it with the other arm.
By doing so, you stretch and lengthen the muscles in your shoulders, particularly the posterior deltoid and the muscles around the rotator cuff. This can be especially beneficial if you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk or engaging in activities that involve repetitive shoulder movements. Plus it just feels great to give your delts and lats a good stretch!
Why should you include shoulder stretches with your arm across your body?
The cross arm stretch can help relieve tension and tightness in the shoulders, reducing the risk of developing shoulder-related issues such as stiffness or discomfort. Additionally, it’s an excellent warm-up exercise before engaging in more intense physical activities or workouts involving the shoulders. Remember, it’s essential to perform this stretch with control and avoid forcing your arm too far across your body to prevent any strain or injury. So, next time you want to give your shoulders some love, try out the crossbody shoulder stretch and enjoy the benefits of a more relaxed and flexible upper body!
How to do the cross body shoulder stretch or delt lat stretch:
When you are ready to complete this stretch:
- Begin by standing with your feet just under the shoulders and lengthen one arm out in front of your body. Keep the arm in line with your shoulder and straight.
- Gentle cross your arm over the front of your pectoralis muscle, aligned with your chest.
- Use the opposite hand to apply slow, consistent pressure by grasping the middle of the forearm and drawing it closer to your body.
- Ideally, you want to hold the cross arm shoulder stretch for 15-30 seconds.
- With the stretch, you should feel a stretch through your shoulder and into the lat at the back of your shoulder.
- Repeat the stretch on the other side, reaching the opposite arm out in front and then slowly pulling it in toward the chest.
You should feel a stretch in your shoulder and lat muscles. It’s important to perform this stretch slowly and gently, as rushing or pulling too hard can lead to injury. While I recommend doing the cross body shoulder stretch toward the beginning of your workouts just after a brief cardiovascular warmup, it can also be helpful to complete a cross arm stretch when you are finishing your training or really anytime you want to relieve tension in your shoulders and back.