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Shoulder Exercises

helping patients to manage their muscle and joint problems

Exercises to Improve your Muscle & Joint Problem

Below are a series of exercises which aim to improve muscle strength and joint movement of the lower limb.

They are provided in 3 different levels of difficulty. 

These exercises are provided to support the exercises provided within the MSK assist app. If you feel that the exercises you have been provided are too difficult or have become too easy, try the exercises below to find the level that suits you. 

Important Information

  • The exercises provided are intended for your personal use and for informational purposes only.
  • Stop the exercises if they make your symptoms worse or cause new pain.
  • Exercise is not without its risks and this or any other exercise program may result in injury. They include but are not limited to: risk of injury, aggravation of a pre-existing condition, or adverse effect of over exertion such as muscle strain, abnormal blood pressure, fainting, disorders of heartbeat and very rare instances of heart attack.
  • To reduce the risk of injury, before beginning this or any exercise program, please consult a healthcare provider for appropriate exercise prescription and safety precautions. The exercise instruction and advice presented are in no way intended as a substitute for medical consultation.
  • MSKnote disclaims any liability from and in connection with the information and exercises provided on this website. 
  • The use of any information provided on this site is solely at your own risk.

Basic Level Exercises

Shoulder Pendulum (flexion)

Stand beside a table with the hand of your unaffected shoulder on the table and feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Bend at the hips approximately 75 to 90 degrees and let your affected arm hang down toward the floor.
Shift your weight forward and backward, letting your arm swing freely front to back.
Continue for 30 seconds.
The aim is to do 3 – 5 times per day.

Active assisted shoulder abduction

While holding a pole/cane palm face up on the injured side and palm face down on the uninjured side, slowly raise up your injured arm to the side.
Repeat the exercise for 30 secs.
The goal is to do 3-5 sets.

Supine Shoulder flexion (bent elbow)

Lying on your back with your affected arm by your side and your elbow bent. Push you hand up towards the sky gradually straightening your arm. Return to the start position.
Repeat for 30 secs.
The aim is to do 3-5 sets.

Shoulder flexion - table slide (sitting)

Sitting, place both hands on a table in front of you. Slide both hands forward on the table. This will cause a stretch feeling in the affected shoulder.
Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
Repeat the exercise for 30 seconds.
The goal is to do 3-5 sets.

Isometric shoulder flexion

Stand facing a wall. Make a fist and then press your fist into the wall. Maintain a bent elbow the entire time.
Hold the stretch for 5/10 secs and repeat the exercise for 30 seconds.
The goal is to do 3-5 sets.

Moderate Level Exercises

Shoulder flexion (wall slide)

Stand facing a wall and place both hands on the wall. Stand close enough to the wall to ensure your elbows are bent. Use your fingers to walk up the wall as far as you can. Walk your fingers back down to the start position.
Repeat the exercise 5 times.
The aim is to be 3-5 sets.

Shoulder Abduction

Standing with feet shoulder width apart and arms by your side. Move one arm away from your body and up towards your head. Ensure the arm remains straight. Go as high as you can before returning to the start position in a controlled manner.
Repeat for 30 secs.
The aim is to do 3-5 sets.

Assisted shoulder internal rotation

Stand up straight. Take a towel and drape it over your good shoulder.
Reach behind your back with your symptomatic arm and hold the other end of the towel. With your top hand pull the towel straight up so that your back hand comes up towards your shoulder blade.
You will feel this stretch in the front of your shoulder.
Hold the stretch for 10 seconds.
Repeat the exercise for 30 seconds.
The goal is to do 3-5 sets.

Supine Shoulder flexion (weighted)

Hold a weight in the hand of the affected arm. Lying on your back with your affected arm by your side and your elbow bent. Push you weighted hand up towards the sky gradually straightening your arm. Return to the start position.
Repeat for 30 secs.
The aim is to do 3-5 sets.

Resisted shoulder external rotation

Hold one end of the resistance band with your hand on your affected side. Then your other hand on your unaffected side should hold the resistance band approx 40cm along. With your elbows bent and your hands out in front of you move the affected hand away from your body ensuring the unaffected arm does not move. You should feel a resistance.
Repeat the exercise for 30 seconds.
The goal is to do 3 sets.

Advanced Level Exercises

Shoulder abduction with weight

Stand with feet shoulder width apart.
Hold on to a weight in the arm to be exercised.
Lift arm outwards and as arm reaches 90 degrees allow arm to rotate so palm faces forward.
Control the lowering action of the arm back to the start position.
Exercise can be progressed by using a heavier weight.
Repeat the exercise for 30 seconds.
The goal is to do 3-5 sets.

Reverse fly with resistance band

Standing with feet shoulder width apart.
Fix the resistance band to something solid infront of you.
Holding onto the resistance band with both hands, gently squeeze shoulder blades together and then pull both arms backwards.
Control the action of returning the arms back to the start position.
Repeat the exercise for 30 seconds.
The goal is to do 3-5 sets.

Resisted shoulder Flexion

Hold one end of the resistance band in one hand by your side and stand on the remainder. Pull the band in an upwards direction with a straight arm. Try to get to at least shoulder level and higher.
Repeat the exercise for 30 seconds.
The goal is to do 3-5 sets.

Shoulder - resisted internal rotation with trunk rotation

Stand up straight with your feet shoulder width apart.
Attach a resistance band to a sturdy object above head height.
The band should be on the same side to the arm you will exercise.
Hold the other end of the band in your hand.
Pull the band diagonally down and towards your body in a steady motion allowing your body to rotate.
Your arm should finish across your body.
Control the movement as you bring your arm back up to the start position.
Repeat the exercise for 30 seconds.
The goal is to do 3-5 sets.

Wall push up

Standing at a wall, place your arms out in front of you with your elbows straight so that your hands just reach the wall. Next, bend your elbows slowly to bring your chest closer to the wall. Maintain your feet planted on the ground the entire time.
Repeat the exercise for 30 seconds.
The goal is to do 3-5 sets.

How can videos help me?

The videos complement the information provided by MSK assist. Through carrying out the principles discussed in the videos with the helpful advice, exercises and tools in MSK assist, will allow you to effectively manage a range of common MSK conditions.

What next?

Follow this simple 3 stage journey to access useful advice.

  • Click "let's Begin' button to visit the body chart page to find the affected area
  • Select a condition
  • Enter your email address for instructions on how to get advice via the free MSK assist app