The deltoid is that big upside-down triangle of a muscle group that starts at the top of the shoulder and goes down to almost point at the triceps. The deltoid is a grouping of three separate, but interconnected bands: the lateral, anterior, and posterior deltoid.
The name deltoid is derived from the Greek letter delta, which looks like a triangle. Anatomy is filled with many amazing play on words and this is certainly one of them.
The deltoid is responsible for a wide range of movements including rotation of the arm, lifting your arm up in the air and pointing, and throwing something in an underhand manner. The deltoid has so many job responsibilities that the least you can do is prepare it for all the activities in does every day.
Regardless of whether on or you are an athlete or fitness enthusiast, stretching your deltoids as well as your other muscles every day is a great way to prevent injury and make sure that blood is always circulating to the area.
Lateral Deltoid Stretches
Lateral Deltoid Muscle
The lateral deltoid is the muscle that inserts at the top of the shoulder broadly and rests lengthwise down the arm until coming to an abrupt stop to point into triceps territory.
The lateral deltoid is the muscle you probably think of if someone were to ask you to point to your shoulder for whatever reason. It is described as lateral or away from the midline of the body because when you have your arms down to the sides—these lateral deltoids will face the outside of the body.
The lateral deltoid is responsible for allowing you to raise your hand and also helps you roll a bowling ball or juggle if you’re into that. If you’ve ever done a shoulder workout targeting the deltoids and, the next day, your arms will feel like they are glued to your sides, this means that the lateral deltoid has not been stretched out sufficiently before performing the strenuous activity.
The following are some great types of stretches designed with the lateral deltoids in mind.
Fixed Bar Stretch
To perform this stretch, you will need a stationary bar or other fixed apparatus that will although you to clench with both hands with a comfortable grip. For ease of explanation, we’ll explain it in a gym setting.
Before getting started with your workout for the day, walk over to the barbell racks and grab a barbell with your palm facing down. Do not attempt to lift the weight with one had, but instead, with a firm grip of the bar, begin rotating your body to the right. This rotation should not be a twisting motion. Instead, focus on pushing your chest into your right arm in a slow, controlled manner until you reach a maximum stretching point that brings with it no signs of pain.
Once at this max point, hold it in position for 30 seconds, you should feel your triangular lateral deltoid stretching out in a comfortable manner. After the first 30 seconds, lower your right arm to allow it to rest and do the same fixed angle stretch with your left hand grabbing the bar and rotating.
T Shaped Dynamic Deltoid Stretch
This stretch is a lot more fun to perform than the former. It is utilized quicker and is more of a controlled movement to help wake up the deltoid. This stretch is called the T because in order to get into starting position—you must extend your arms outward like wings.
The midline of your body will create the base of the T and your extended arms will work as the perpendicular top aspect of the letter. Once in this T position, make small circles in a clockwise manner, being sure to make each circle larger until performing ten complete rotations.
Don’t just make circles for the sake of making circles, however. Focus your mind with each circle, making sure that it is s perfect as possible. Once you are satisfied with your first ten circles, perform ten more in a counterclockwise manner. This stretching exercise is not only fun but will prime your deltoids for intense physical activity such as weight lifting.
Anterior Deltoid Stretches
ANTERIOR Deltoid Muscle
Anterior means in front of. The anterior deltoid is located to the side of the lateral deltoid that faces forward closest to your chest.
The job of the anterior deltoid is to allow the humerus or upper arm bone to move toward the clavicle, which is more commonly referred to as the collarbone. The anterior deltoid also works to allow you to lift your arm forward and across your chest. These stretches will ensure that your deltoids are in optimal shape to take on exercises that trigger these movements.
Doorway Deltoid Stretch
There is no shock here, but to perform this key anterior deltoid stretch, you will need to find a doorway. A significant frame is required because you will need something to grab on to. Once you have found your doorway, while standing, lay your back to the wall just short of the frame and grab onto the frame with your fingertips.
Make sure you have a good grip on the door way, then begin rotating your body away from the door using your hips as a pivot point. Rotate away from the door until you reach a point where you feel pushback, but no pain. Stay at this point for a few seconds and return to the original position of your back to the wall. Repeat this process ten times to allow for maximum effectiveness.
Throughout this entire process, make sure that you keep your arm stretched out and kept anchored by your grip of the doorway. Once you have completed ten successful rotations, it is time to face the wall and grab the doorframe with your other hand. Do ten rotations away from the door with this arm and you have successfully performed the doorway stretch to both deltoids.
Standard Chest Cross
This is the stretching exercise that everyone seems to be doing constantly at the gym. First, bring your right arm up in a bending motion that resembles a hammer curl or the beginnings of bringing food to your face. Once at the bend, take your left hand and clasp your right elbow.
Now extend your right arm as far across your chest as you can without causing any discomfort. Use your left hand as a guide to extend your right arm straight across your chest.
Do not just haphazardly swing your arm to the opposite side of your body, but instead focus on using the anterior deltoid to perform the action with slight pressing of the left hand to the right elbow. After adequately stretched, switch the roles of the arms and perform it on the left anterior deltoid.
Posterior Deltoid Stretches
POSTERIOR Deltoid Muscle
The posterior deltoid is the final piece to the shoulder muscle puzzle. It is located on the other side of the lateral deltoid and faces your backside.
You use your poster deltoids to move your arms away from your chest. It also allows you to move your arms to touch your own behind if you wanted to for some reason. The posterior deltoid is by far the most neglected of the three deltoid parts regarding both stretching and working out.
Here are some posterior deltoid stenches to make sure they do not get left behind.
Rear Deltoid Stretch
This stretch is very similar to the standard chest cross, but instead of extending your arm across your chest, you will instead stretch it across the front of your neck, allowing your hand to reach your opposite shoulder blade.
As previously stated, focus on using the muscle to perform the motion, using the hand of your vacant arm as an elbow guide. After adequately stretching one deltoid, switch arms and do the same for the other.
Tennis Conditioning Stretch
In this stretch, take your arm and extend it completely straight across your chest and level with your shoulders. Using your other arm, interlock the stretched arm underneath the elbow and slowly lift the extended arm upward by doing a biceps curl with the non-stretched arm.
After adequate stretching switch duties of the arms and perform the wake up on the other deltoid. This slow motion will surely be felt in your posterior deltoid.
Key Takeaways from Deltoid Stretches
Without adequate stretching prior to working out any body part, you will surely hinder your progress and take on bad habits that will lead to injury. To ensure that your deltoids are properly nourished with oxygen and blood, perform these stretches designed for all three heads of the triangular deltoid muscle. It may just totally change your workout for the better.