This article on Epainassist.com has been reviewed by a medical professional, as well as checked for facts, to assure the readers the best possible accuracy.

We follow a strict editorial policy and we have a zero-tolerance policy regarding any level of plagiarism. Our articles are resourced from reputable online pages. This article may contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.

The feedback link “Was this Article Helpful” on this page can be used to report content that is not accurate, up-to-date or questionable in any manner.

This article does not provide medical advice.


Sleeper Stretch: Benefits, Dangers, How To Do Sleeper Stretches

Benefits of Sleeper Stretch

Sleeper Stretch is a shoulder stretch exercise that is done to increase shoulder range of motion and flexibility. Sleeper Stretch is meant specifically for people who are suffering from shoulder stiffness, tight shoulder, frozen shoulder or who are affected by poor range of motion of the shoulder. Some of the Benefits of Sleeper Stretch are.

Benefits of Sleeper Stretch

Benefits of Sleeper Stretch in Improving Shoulder Range of Motion: Shoulder range of motion is affected if a person is suffering from frozen shoulder, tight shoulder, stiff shoulder or shoulder soreness. By tightness of the shoulders we mean that the posterior capsule of the shoulder becomes tight. Due to overuse at times the posterior capsule becomes tight and there is loss of internal motion of the shoulder. For such individual, sleeper stretches are extremely useful. Also people who have had have had recent surgery on the shoulder because of which they have lost motion in the shoulders can also be benefited with Sleeper Stretches.

Benefits of Sleeper Stretch in Improving Shoulder Range of Motion

Sleeper Stretch is Beneficial for Amateur Athletes Involved in Overhead Activities: Sleeper stretch is useful for athletes involved in sports like volleyball, tennis, badminton, and baseball. Sleeper Stretches are extremely useful, as this does not need a professional trainer and can be done easily at home albeit you should know how to do it correctly. Sportsmen can experience improved functioning, improved movement, as well as improved flexibility of shoulder joints by performing sleeper stretches.

How to do a Sleeper Stretch to Improve Shoulder Range of Motion?

As stated above it is important to perform the Sleeper Stretch correctly or else it may cause harm to the shoulders. Below mentioned are some steps which will give you an idea as how to do a Sleeper Stretch correctly.

How to do Sleeper Stretch – Step 1: Lie down on floor then turn on right side as shown in the image, fold your knee such that your entire body weight is on right shoulder, right triceps, right hip and right knee. Remember you are taking this position to stretch the right shoulder.

How to do Sleeper Stretch - Step 1

Step #2 to do Sleeper Stretch: Make sure your right elbow is facing straight in the opposite direction of your head and your fingers are pointed straight towards the ceiling. Do not try bringing you elbow closer to your body. By doing this, there will be increased tension put on the posterior capsule and musculature and hence it will be stretched. You will see that your head is without any support. Try and maintain the head neutral when doing this.

How to do Sleeper Stretch - Step 2

Step #3 to do Sleeper Stretch: Now your right wrist with your left hand and slowly push down in the direction of the right palm such that a gentle shoulder stretch is felt. Maintain this position for at least half a minute. Make sure that no excessive tension is put on the front part of the shoulder. Some people push a little harder, which is not recommended. The main aim of a Sleeper Stretch is to create mild stretch at the back of the shoulder. Perform these steps for a few times and you will definitely notice a difference. At first the improvement of the internal motion of the shoulder may not be that much but gradually this will improve.

How to do Sleeper Stretch - Step 3

Dangers of Sleeper Stretch?

Sleeper Stretches are exercises which are very delicate and if anyone overdoes it, it may injure the posterior capsule. Below mentioned are some of the dangers of overdoing Sleeper Stretches:

Excessive Stretches of Posterior Capsule can Cause Posterior Instability: These exercises excessively stretch the posterior capsule of the shoulder. By overdoing it, it might lead to posterior instability. If the shoulder becomes unstable then it may cause more harm to the athlete and may not allow the athlete to perform par excellence.

Abnormal Positioning while doing Sleeper Stretches can Cause Impingement: Sleeper Stretches are exercises in which the shoulder is in a position of impingement and hence you may be vulnerable to the shoulder impingement if you do these exercises excessively. This can be best elicited by doing a Hawkins Kennedy test which is a test for checking impingement and if you look at the position of the shoulder when doing the test it looks exactly like a Sleeper Stretch position.

Being Aggressive while doing Sleeper Stretch can Injure Posterior Capsule: When doing Sleeper Stretches, you tend to get too aggressive in order to get better quickly, but this is not recommended, as doing this can injure the posterior capsule along with other structures of the shoulders. If you are too aggressive with Sleeper Stretches, your posterior capsule will get that much more strained and the shoulder may also become impinged.


  1. The Acute Effects of Sleeper Stretches on Shoulder Range of Motion https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2474815/
  2. The Modified Sleeper Stretch and Modified Cross-body Stretch to Increase Shoulder Internal Rotation Range of Motion in the Overhead Throwing Athlete https://www.jospt.org/doi/10.2519/jospt.2013.4990

Also Read:

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 30, 2023

Recent Posts

Related Posts