Shoulder Strengthening Exercises

by PhysioAdvisor Staff

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 strengthening 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




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