Physical Therapy Shoulder Exercises

Shoulder problems are more common than everyone thinks. Whether it is general pain or a limited range of motion, there are a few exercises that can be practiced to keep the joints flexible, reduce pain, and improve balance and strength:

  • Scapular Squeezes (preferably done on a foam-roller): Holding light weights (2-3 pounds) lift arms straight up to the ceiling, palms facing each other. Reach straight arms to ceiling separating shoulder blades and keeping the neck neutral. Then, slide shoulder blades down back and squeeze them around foam roller (10 reps, 2x/day).⁠
  • Arm Scissors: Hold light weights and bring one arm down by your side and one back over your head. Keep ribs closed, abs engaged, and shoulders away from ears (10 reps, 2x/day).⁠
  • Shoulder External Rotation: lying on the side with a light weight in hand, bend elbow to 90 degrees and rest it on your hip. Lift weight toward the ceiling as if opening a book. Keep the upper body still and shoulder away from the ear (10 reps, 2x/day).⁠
  • Foam Roller Stretch: Lying on foam roller, start with arms in a “W” (elbows bent and hands in line with head) hold 30 seconds. Move arms up to form a “Y”, hold 30 seconds. Stretch arms straight over the head, hold 30 seconds.⁠
  • Brugger’s Exercise: Standing with a Thera Band in hands, palms up, elbows at 90 degrees. Start with elbows by your sides and rotate hands out to the side. Then, stretch hands out straightening arms. Keep the rotation as you bring elbows back in, then rotate hands back to neutral (10 reps, 2x/day)⁠.⁠

We recommend only doing these exercises under the supervision of a trained Physical Therapist and after a comprehensive evaluation of your condition. If you’re in the neighborhood, give us a call or start by filling out the form below:

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