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Exercises to gain large arm movement after breast cancer

There is a risk of micro-tears to tight tissues with forceful stretching. In this resource, you will learn safe and gentle ways to achieve large arm movements.


This series will train you in an approach that I've been using in my breast cancer rehab clinic for the last 15 years. These arm exercises are a way to gain arm range of movement when there is secondary tightness in the muscles after breast surgery and radiotherapy.


Although I will use the word stretches - these exercises will use a sequence of gentle stretch, muscle activation, and then relaxation to gain your best arm stretch position.


One exercise to target a specific tight muscle takes 60 seconds.


These exercises are suitable for use when your surgeon gives you permission to return to exercises above your head,  and should not be used when post-surgical wounds are still present.


Choose from FOUR  audio sequences to guide your practice for the front  chest muscles:


  1. Use a pane of glass to help with the tensioning process: a two-arm sequence (17 mins) or a single-arm sequence ( 8 mins)
  2. Use breathwork to combine arm exercise with meditation:  a two-arm sequence (17 mins) or a single-arm sequence ( 8 mins) 




When you become familiar with the steps, try going through the ROTB without the audio guide.


Both offer a way of being mindfully engaged with your body in a gentle and positive way.

Download and print the single-page reminder and the hand placement at the chest.



Back of shoulder exercises

Watch two short videos to learn my favorite back-of-shoulder stretches after your ROTB practice. These muscles quickly become overly tight following breast surgery and radiotherapy. 

These exercises can be performed separately or jointly - take approximately 5 mins.


  1. Latismus Dorsi  and Teres- 4 mins 
  2. Infraspinatus- 5 mins


Integrating these into your week

After learning each exercise, then you can decide which breath +body positioning exercises can be incorporated into your day.

You decide when it's best to relax and release tightness within your body - like just before going to the gym, before getting out of bed, or after sitting at the computer.


Receive a complimentary PDF guide to a gentle release for the infraspinatus muscle that can still remain tight after using the contract / relax exercises.  You will be instructed on how your partner/buddy can use their finger pressure to bring a release to persistently tight muscles.


This series will not cover how to bring a release to scarring and fibrosis.

If arm movement is still restricted after using these exercises, then you should consider a scar and adhesion assessment to develop your own manual release home program for stiffness in the skin and deeper scarring.



Receive at your email address a PDF  with the link for a Padlet and password.

The Padlet will have all the resources described above for you to use or download- It looks like the image above. Each resource is available on this one page. Go back to this page each time or download individual resources to your favorite device.

This resource to COPYRIGHTED to Denise Stewart 2022 and must not be shared with others.




Exercises to gain large arm movement after breast cancer

  • Your purchase is for your own private use and is not to share with others. 

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