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Shoulder Strengthening Exercises

Exercises > Strengthening (Joints) > Shoulder Strengthening Exercises

 

The following shoulder strengthening exercises are designed to improve the strength of the muscles of the shoulder. You should discuss the suitability of these exercises with your physiotherapist prior to beginning them. Generally, they should only be performed provided they do not cause or increase pain.

Begin with the basic shoulder strengthening exercises. Once these are too easy, add the intermediate shoulder exercises. As your strength improves, the advanced exercises can then be added to the intermediate program.


Shoulder Strengthening Basic Exercises

To begin with, the following basic shoulder strengthening exercises should be performed approximately 3 times daily. As your shoulder strength improves, the exercises can be progressed by gradually increasing the repetitions, frequency or duration of the exercises provided they do not cause or increase pain.

Shoulder Blade Squeeze 

Begin this exercise standing or sitting with your back straight. Your chin should be tucked in slightly and your shoulders should be back slightly. Slowly squeeze your shoulder blades together as hard and far as possible provided it is pain free (figure 1). Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.

Shoulder Exercises - Shoulder Blade Squeezes

Figure 1 Shoulder Blade Squeeze

Shoulder Blade Shrug 

Begin this exercise standing with your back and neck straight. Your arm should be at your side, slightly away from your body with your palm facing forwards as demonstrated. Slowly elevate your shoulder blade towards your ear as far as possible provided it is pain free (figure 2). Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times on each side.

Shoulder Exercises - Shoulder Blade Shrug

Figure 2 Shoulder Blade Shrug (right arm)

Shoulder Blades Forwards Against Wall 

Begin this exercise standing with your back and neck straight and your hands against the wall as shown (figure 3). Your shoulder blades should be squeezed together fully in this position, your elbows straight and you should be leaning into the wall slightly. Keeping your back straight, slowly bring your shoulder blades forward allowing your arms to lengthen. Hold for 5 seconds and then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times provided the exercise is pain free.

Shoulder Exercises - Shoulder Blades Forwards Against Wall

Figure 3 Shoulder Blades Forwards Against Wall

Static Rotator Cuff Contraction 

Begin this exercise standing with your back and neck straight and your shoulders back slightly. Keeping your elbow at your side and bent to 90 degrees, push your hand out against the other hands resistance as hard as possible provided it is pain free (figure 4). Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times on each arm.

Shoulder Exercises - Static Rotator Cuff Contraction

Figure 4 Static Rotator Cuff Contraction (right arm)


Shoulder Strengthening Intermediate Exercises

The following intermediate shoulder strengthening exercises should generally be performed 1 - 3 times per week provided they do not cause or increase pain. Ideally they should not be performed on consecutive days, to allow muscle recovery. As your shoulder strength improves, the exercises can be progressed by gradually increasing the repetitions, number of sets or resistance of the exercises provided they do not cause or increase pain.

Resistance Band External Rotation

Begin this exercise standing with your back straight, shoulder blades back slightly and holding a resistance band as demonstrated (figure 5). Keeping your elbow at your side and bent to 90 degrees, slowly move your hand away from your body keeping your shoulder blade still. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions as far as possible provided it is pain free on each side.

Shoulder Exercises - Resistance Band External Rotation

Figure 5 Resistance Band External Rotation (left side)

Resistance Band Internal Rotation

Begin this exercise standing with your back straight, shoulder blades back slightly and holding a resistance band as demonstrated (figure 6). Keeping your elbow at your side and bent to 90 degrees, slowly move your hand towards your body keeping your shoulder blade still. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions as far as possible provided it is pain free on each side.

Shoulder Exercises - Resistance Band Internal Rotation

Figure 6 Resistance Band Internal Rotation (right side)

Resistance Band Pull Backs  

Begin this exercise in standing or kneeling with your back straight and holding a resistance band as demonstrated (figure 7). Slowly pull your arms backwards, squeezing your shoulder blades together as demonstrated. Hold for 2 seconds and return to the start position. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions provided the exercise is pain free.

Shoulder Exercises - Resistance Band Pull Backs

Figure 7 Resistance Band Pull Backs


More Intermediate Exercises

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Shoulder Strengthening Advanced Exercises

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Physiotherapy Products for Shoulder Exercises

 

  Physiotherapy Products for Shoulder Exercises

 

To purchase physiotherapy products to assist with shoulder strengthening exercises and shoulder rehabilitation, click on one of the above links or visit the PhysioAdvisor Shop.


Other Exercises

 

  Other Exercises

 


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