The Amazing Doorwell Stretch for Chest, Shoulders and Back – Recommended by our Physiotherapist

Door Well Stretch to offset slouching, computer use and help with shoulder pain


  • Stretches the upper body, ribs, lungs, shoulders and arms
  • Helps to lengthen shortened pectoral minor muscles which are a key factor in poor posture habits (slouching factor)
  • Lengthens spine and brings fresh blood flow to upper extremities of the body
  • Allows for increased expansion of the lungs when inhaling arms
  • higher than shoulders which refreshes the oxygen in the lower lobes of
  • the lungs
  • Energizes body and helps to centre mind
  • Stimulates lymph flow in the underarm area
  • Releases tension in the shoulder blade region.
  • Stimulates nervous system
  • If you suffer from high blood pressure that is untreated, please do not lift your hands above the height of your head in the doorwell. Get approval from your health care provider
  • Not recommended if there is serious shoulder, neck or back problems
  • Do not arch your back when creating resistance in the doorway. Move your body against the resistance, as a unit

Key Points

  • Soften down and lengthen up from the waist
  • Soften gaze
  • Breathe slowly and deeply through nose
  • Stand just in or before the threshold of the door
  • Start with palms of hands on the door well by the shoulder height
  • Draw body forward as a unit
  • When twisting, feel the resistance under the arm towards the centre of the breast


  • Find a door well that is of average width and is available to you to do a stretch where you are blocking the entrance/exit of it
  • Stand just in the doorway. Start in neutral standing position, feet are hips width apart
  • Bring awareness to nostril breathing
  • Allow your body to lengthen from the waist up, on the inhale. You should feel this expansion happening on all inhales. This is subtle but present
  • Gaze is softened
  • Bring hands up to shoulder height and place palms on the door way (see video). Forearms and elbows can also be along the door way. Experiment with them on and off the doorway.
  • On an exhale, begin to move your body through the door way as though it is moving through the doorway. Press into the hands and feel the stretch through the chest and into the shoulder blades in the back.
  • Use the breath to stretch. Do not arch back when moving through the doorway. The body moves through as a whole.
  • Using the breath, inhale to receive energy and then deepen the stretch on the exhale. Soften down from the waist and up from it at the same time
  • Do for a minute or two and then release, shake out your arms if you like and feel refreshed and stretched.
Advancing the stretch
  • Move hands up the doorway and continue the stretch
  • If you would like to really dig into the pectoral stretch, twist your body using your chest to stretch and your hips, going from the right side stretch to left side stretch. Exhale as you stretch.
  • If there is any pain, stop and back up to where there is no pain but a good extension stretch.
Consider This
  • In anatomy the shoulder blade is the bone that connects the upper arm bone with the collar bone. If the pectoral minor is shortened then it is pulling on the shoulder blade and potentially forcing them into a forward slouch position. Slouching patterns happen very slowly over time. As the body adapts to this pattern, the pectoral minor muscles shorten. Because these muscles are attached to the scapula (shoulder blades) they can play a part in shoulder pain and discomfort.  Lengthening the pectoral minor muscles will aid in mobility of the shoulder blades as well, plus it will help in keeping the shoulders back and not slouching forward!
  • When adding the twist to the stretch it massages and stimulates internal organs providing improved blood flow and fresh oxygen
  • Do not arch your back when creating resistance in the doorway. Move your body against the resistance, as a unit
  • Raise hands up the door well one ‘hands-length’ at a time using the inhale to move the hand higher and the exhale to stretch into it.
  • Repeat this stretch as often as possible. It feels great and aids posture, lymph movement, shoulder pain and energy. Not bad for one simple stretch!




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