Shoulder Exercises

EXERCISES

RANGE OF MOTION (ROM) AND STRETCHING EXERCISES

These exercises may help you when beginning to rehabilitate your injury. Your symptoms may resolve with or without further involvement from your physician, physical therapist or athletic trainer. While completing these exercises, remember:

  • Restoring tissue flexibility helps normal motion to return to the joints. This allows healthier, less painful movement and activity.

  • An effective stretch should be held for at least 30 seconds.

  • A stretch should never be painful. You should only feel a gentle lengthening or release in the stretched tissue.

ROM - Pendulum

  • Bend at the waist so that your right / left arm falls away from your body. Support yourself with your opposite hand on a solid surface, such as a table or a countertop.

  • Your right / left arm should be perpendicular to the ground. If it is not perpendicular, you need to lean over farther. Relax the muscles in your right / left arm and shoulder as much as possible.

  • Gently sway your hips and trunk so they move your right / left arm without any use of your right / left shoulder muscles.

  • Progress your movements so that your right / left arm moves side to side, then forward and backward, and finally, both clockwise and counterclockwise.

  • Complete __________ repetitions in each direction. Many people use this exercise to relieve discomfort in their shoulder as well as to gain range of motion.

Repeat __________ times. Complete this exercise __________ times per day.

STRETCH – Flexion, Standing

  • Stand with good posture. With an underhand grip on your right / left hand and an overhand grip on the opposite hand, grasp a broomstick or cane so that your hands are a little more than shoulder-width apart.

  • Keeping your right / left elbow straight and shoulder muscles relaxed, push the stick with your opposite hand to raise your right / left arm in front of your body and then overhead. Raise your arm until you feel a stretch in your right / left shoulder, but before you have increased shoulder pain.

  • Try to avoid shrugging your right / left shoulder as your arm rises by keeping your shoulder blade tucked down and toward your mid-back spine. Hold __________ seconds.

  • Slowly return to the starting position.

Repeat __________ times. Complete this exercise __________ times per day.

STRETCH - Internal Rotation

  • Place your right / left hand behind your back, palm-up.

  • Throw a towel or belt over your opposite shoulder. Grasp the towel/belt with your right / left hand.

  • While keeping an upright posture, gently pull up on the towel/belt until you feel a stretch in the front of your right / left shoulder.

  • Avoid shrugging your right / left shoulder as your arm rises by keeping your shoulder blade tucked down and toward your mid-back spine.

  • Hold __________. Release the stretch by lowering your opposite hand.

Repeat __________ times. Complete this exercise __________ times per day.

STRETCH - External Rotation and Abduction

  • Stagger your stance through a doorframe. It does not matter which foot is forward.

  • As instructed by your physician, physical therapist or athletic trainer, place your hands:

  • And forearms above your head and on the door frame.

  • And forearms at head-height and on the door frame.

  • At elbow-height and on the door frame.

  • Keeping your head and chest upright and your stomach muscles tight to prevent over-extending your low-back, slowly shift your weight onto your front foot until you feel a stretch across your chest and/or in the front of your shoulders.

  • Hold __________ seconds. Shift your weight to your back foot to release the stretch.

Repeat __________ times. Complete this stretch __________ times per day.

STRENGTHENING EXERCISES

These exercises may help you when beginning to rehabilitate your injury. They may resolve your symptoms with or without further involvement from your physician, physical therapist or athletic trainer. While completing these exercises, remember:

  • Muscles can gain both the endurance and the strength needed for everyday activities through controlled exercises.

  • Complete these exercises as instructed by your physician, physical therapist or athletic trainer. Progress the resistance and repetitions only as guided.

  • You may experience muscle soreness or fatigue, but the pain or discomfort you are trying to eliminate should never worsen during these exercises. If this pain does worsen, stop and make certain you are following the directions exactly. If the pain is still present after adjustments, discontinue the exercise until you can discuss the trouble with your clinician.

  • If advised by your physician, during your recovery, avoid activity or exercises which involve actions that place your right / left hand or elbow above your head or behind your back or head. These positions stress the tissues which are trying to heal.

STRENGTH - Scapular Depression and Adduction

  • With good posture, sit on a firm chair. Supported your arms in front of you with pillows, arm rests or a table top. Have your elbows in line with the sides of your body.

  • Gently draw your shoulder blades down and toward your mid-back spine. Gradually increase the tension without tensing the muscles along the top of your shoulders and the back of your neck.

  • Hold for __________ seconds. Slowly release the tension and relax your muscles completely before completing the next repetition.

  • After you have practiced this exercise, remove the arm support and complete it in standing as well as sitting.

Repeat __________ times. Complete this exercise __________ times per day.

STRENGTH - External Rotators

  • Secure a rubber exercise band/tubing to a fixed object so that it is at the same height as your right / left elbow when you are standing or sitting on a firm surface.

  • Stand or sit so that the secured exercise band/tubing is at your side that is not injured.

  • Bend your elbow 90 degrees. Place a folded towel or small pillow under your right / left arm so that your elbow is a few inches away from your side.

  • Keeping the tension on the exercise band/tubing, pull it away from your body, as if pivoting on your elbow. Be sure to keep your body steady so that the movement is only coming from your shoulder rotating.

  • Hold __________ seconds. Release the tension in a controlled manner as you return to the starting position.

Repeat __________ times. Complete this exercise __________ times per day.

STRENGTH - Supraspinatus

  • Stand or sit with good posture. Grasp a __________ weight or an exercise band/tubing so that your hand is "thumbs-up," like when you shake hands.

  • Slowly lift your right / left hand from your thigh into the air, traveling about 30 degrees from straight out at your side. Lift your hand to shoulder height or as far as you can without increasing any shoulder pain. Initially, many people do not lift their hands above shoulder height.

  • Avoid shrugging your right / left shoulder as your arm rises by keeping your shoulder blade tucked down and toward your mid-back spine.

  • Hold for __________ seconds. Control the descent of your hand as you slowly return to your starting position.

Repeat __________ times. Complete this exercise __________ times per day.

STRENGTH - Shoulder Extensors

  • Secure a rubber exercise band/tubing so that it is at the height of your shoulders when you are either standing or sitting on a firm arm-less chair.

  • With a thumbs-up grip, grasp an end of the band/tubing in each hand. Straighten your elbows and lift your hands straight in front of you at shoulder height. Step back away from the secured end of band/tubing until it becomes tense.

  • Squeezing your shoulder blades together, pull your hands down to the sides of your thighs. Do not allow your hands to go behind you.

  • Hold for __________ seconds. Slowly ease the tension on the band/tubing as you reverse the directions and return to the starting position.

Repeat __________ times. Complete this exercise __________ times per day.

STRENGTH - Scapular Retractors

  • Secure a rubber exercise band/tubing so that it is at the height of your shoulders when you are either standing or sitting on a firm arm-less chair.

  • With a palm-down grip, grasp an end of the band/tubing in each hand. Straighten your elbows and lift your hands straight in front of you at shoulder height. Step back away from the secured end of band/tubing until it becomes tense.

  • Squeezing your shoulder blades together, draw your elbows back as you bend them. Keep your upper arm lifted away from your body throughout the exercise.

  • Hold __________ seconds. Slowly ease the tension on the band/tubing as you reverse the directions and return to the starting position.

Repeat __________ times. Complete this exercise __________ times per day.

STRENGTH – Scapular Depressors

  • Find a sturdy chair without wheels, such as a from a dining room table.

  • Keeping your feet on the floor, lift your bottom from the seat and lock your elbows.

  • Keeping your elbows straight, allow gravity to pull your body weight down. Your shoulders will rise toward your ears.

  • Raise your body against gravity by drawing your shoulder blades down your back, shortening the distance between your shoulders and ears. Although your feet should always maintain contact with the floor, your feet should progressively support less body weight as you get stronger.

  • Hold __________ seconds. In a controlled and slow manner, lower your body weight to begin the next repetition.

Repeat __________ times. Complete this exercise __________ times per day.