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Koya Mine, Takashi Nakayama, Steve Milanese and Karen Grimmer


Posterior shoulder tightness (PST) and glenohumeral internal-rotation deficit (GIRD) can contribute to shoulder pain suffered by athletes engaged in overhead sporting activities. Stretching is a common intervention to resolve PST and GIRD, but it has weak evidence of effectiveness to date.


This systematic review aimed to collect and synthesize effectiveness data from English- and Japanese-language randomized controlled trials (RCTs) investigating stretching interventions for PST and GIRD.

Evidence Acquisition:

7 English databases and 3 Japanese databases were searched from inception until December 5, 2015. Only English- and Japanese-language RCTs were considered. Risk of bias in the included studies was assessed using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database scale. Data were synthesized qualitatively.

Evidence Synthesis:

Eight English-language and 2 Japanese-language papers of low to high quality were included. There was moderate evidence for positive immediate and short-term effects of cross-body stretch on PST and GIRD in asymptomatic young subjects. Moderate evidence was found to suggest that active sleeper stretch might not be more effective than no intervention to improve PST and GIRD in the short term.


Cross-body stretch can be effective to improve PST and GIRD in asymptomatic young subjects immediately or in the short term. Further study with methodological rigor is necessary to investigate the long-term effectiveness of stretching interventions on PST and GIRD in symptomatic patients.

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Michelle A. Sandrey

ROM and decrease posterior shoulder tightness. Two stretches that have been used in the past is the sleeper stretch and horizontal adduction stretch (also known as the cross-body stretch), with and without scapular stabilization. 1 – 3 By concentrating on a stabilization of the scapula, the posterior

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Elif Turgut, Irem Duzgun and Gul Baltaci

in asymptomatic shoulders, a 4-week stretching program with cross-body stretch resulted in increased mobility in glenohumeral range of motion. 16 Similarly, in this study, we applied the cross-body stretch for 6 weeks and it was resulted in gains in posterior shoulder flexibility and increased self

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Federico Jose Villalba and Melina Soledad Martínez

, Macrina LC . The modified sleeper stretch and modified cross-body stretch to increase shoulder internal rotation range of motion in the overhead throwing athlete . J Orthop Sports Phys Ther . 2013 ; 43 ( 12 ): 891 – 894 . PubMed ID: 24175603 doi:10.2519/jospt.2013.4990 24175603 10.2519/jospt.2013

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Julien Le Gal, Mickael Begon, Benoit Gillet and Isabelle Rogowski

dominant glenohumeral joint. Stretching exercises are commonly recommended to restore glenohumeral mobility. 10 A recent meta-analysis, however, highlights that there is little to moderate evidence on the effectiveness of the cross-body stretch and sleeper stretch exercises, performed alone or in