Shoulder Rehab Exercise: Stretch, Stabilize, Strengthen!

Shoulder rehab exercise is becoming more and more prevalent as the population not only ages, but also becomes more active.

The shoulder girdle making up the scapula or shoulder blades, rotator cuff muscles, and deltoids for the most part is highly vulnerable to injury due to its complex nature and improper movement patterns.

Many shoulder injuries and conditions are related to movement and postural patterns, age, and trauma to the joint.


When we do shoulder rehab exercise properly depending on the health and the condition of the joint; we can hopefully alleviate and prevent most of these traumas from occurring in the first place.



There are many different types of shoulder injury relating to: instability or dislocation, rotator cuff tears, impingement syndrome, and the infamous frozen shoulder.

What these shoulder conditions or injuries have in common is the shoulder rehab exercise that will bring you back to a healthy functioning.


The shoulder pain injury exercises should all have these three things in common: Stretching, Stabilizing, and Strengthening!


Shoulder Rehab Exercise: Stretching

– This is the first step in restoring proper range of motion and function back to the joint. Doing this first will help to restore circulation and healing.

I have listed below what I believe to be one of the best range of motion exercises for shoulder muscles to begin restoring circulation and range back to the joint.


shoulder pendulum swing image
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Shoulder Pendulum Swing:


Purpose: To gently increase the range of motion in the shoulder complex without any resistance. Good exercise to begin getting range after frozen shoulder.

Position: Standing bent over at the waist with your abdominal muscles tight, arms are dangling loosely from the shoulder. Relax the arms completely.

Action: Move the arms in small circles from shoulder to fingertips. Circle clockwise and then counterclockwise.

Repeat this rotator cuff exercise about 10 times each direction making the circles larger as you are able.


Shoulder Injury Exercise: Stabilizing

– Strengthen the muscles that stabilize the shoulder joint complex focusing primarily on the scapula or shoulder blades. One of my favorite shoulder injury rehab exercises for stabilizing the shoulder complex is listed below.


shoulder injury exercise image
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Elbow Press: From a Cobra position


Position: Lying on your stomach with your elbows flexed and under your shoulders, lift your chest so your upper body weight is supported on your forearms.

Movement: Actively press or pull your body forward with your elbows pressing into the mat and towards your body. Feel the chest widen as you draw the shoulder blades together working the muscles of the upper back. Keep the back of the neck long and shoulders down.


Shoulder Rehab Exercise: Strengthening

– These would be specific shoulder injury exercises designed to work the muscles of the shoulder joint including the rotator cuff muscles, deltoids, and those that support the shoulder blades.

Some of the best ways to begin strengthening the muscles of the shoulder joint complex involve lying prone on a bed or table so the shoulder joint is stable. You can see these and more in the newly revised shoulder ebook.

This allows you to strengthen the muscles from a stable base reducing the chance for re-injury.


shoulder rebab exercise image
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Prone(face down) Lying Exercises:

Do these with both arms for 8-12 repetitions 4-5 times per week until strength returns. Then, progressively add weights 2-5 pounds max and do them every other day.

Shoulder Extension and Flexion:

Purpose: Strengthen the posterior rotator cuff and shoulder muscles.

Position: Lying face down on bench or table with one arm hanging just off. Head is turned away from the arm hanging down.

Action: Extend the arm up and back with palms face up just until it is parallel with the floor. Then, exted the arm up and overhead, as shown with thumb up.

Repeat for 8-12 repetitions.


Leave shoulder rehab exercise and check out more ways to exercise your shoulders for rehab and just general strength and flexibility here.



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