Shoulder Joint Exercises and Stretches: Get Relief from Pain

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Shoulder Joint Exercises and Stretches

Holding Weight

The shoulder of a human being is made of three different bones, which are the humerus (upper arm bone), the clavicle (collarbone), and the scapula (shoulder blade). A shoulder joint is the most mobile joint of the human body, which also makes it far more prone to dislocation and injury than other joints. To prevent shoulder injuries and strengthen the shoulder muscles, adding shoulder strengthening exercises in the daily workout session is a smarter way to keep those shoulders agile.

Who is more prone to shoulder joint injuries?

You shouldn’t be surprised to know that athletes and weightlifters along with desk job workers top the list of people who are more prone to shoulder injuries.

Have a look at some of the reasons for why shoulder injuries are common and recurrent in the life of athletes, weightlifters and desk workers.

Problems Reasons for being in Desk Workers’ life Reasons for being in Weight Lifters’ life Reasons for being in Athletes’ life
Joint Stability Due to prolonged sitting in poor posture Prone to imbalance When instructions of movement patterns are not followed
Joint Mobility Prolonged sitting make joints stiff Improper or lack of joint mobility warm-ups Neglecting joint mobility drills
Flexibility Prolonged sitting causes passive fatigue Lifters ‘skip’ stretching Not applicable
Grip Position Lack in ergonomics & movements Excessive overhead and bench pressing Not applicable
Exercises to prevent shoulder injuries and strengthen shoulder muscles

Warm Ups & Stretching

Warm Up Exercise 1: Merry Go Round Arms Stretching

Revolve one arm at a time in a circular motion for a minute to stretch your body and prepare it for some serious workout. Be careful; do not jerk your muscles. Repeat with both arms.

Merry Go Round Arms Stretching

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Warm Up Exercise 2: Shoulder Roll
  • Stand straight with tightened abs and raise your shoulders to your ears as high as you can. Once in that position, roll your shoulders clockwise. Do 15 reps.
  • Repeat rolls in the anti-clockwise direction. Then relax.


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Warm Up Exercise 3: Virtual Alphabets
  • Grab a football or any other similar sized ball in both your hands and stand straight with your feet apart at shoulder width. Raise the arms to the shoulder level holding ball in front, and virtually draw all the alphabets pretty big & clear by outstretching your arms.

Virtual Alphabets

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Shoulder Strengthening Exercise
Strengthening Exercise 1: For Your Upper Back and Shoulders
  • Stand with the feet spread hip-width apart, keeping your knees relaxed. Hold a single dumbbell in one hand (2-5 pounds). Keep your hand parallel to the body, with the thumb placed against your thigh.
  • Lift your arm at a 45-degree angle, up to the shoulder height, pointing thumb-side down, while keeping your wrist firm.
  • While you lift your hand, hold the position for a second or two, and then return to the starting position.
  • Repeat 10 reps each side.

Shoulder Strengthening Exercise

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Strengthening Exercise 2: Fly with Weights
  • Lay on your back with your arms horizontally spread on the sides while holding light weights in your hands. (2 to 5 pounds)
  • Bring your arms up & forward toward the ceiling, keeping arms slightly bent.
  • Hold for 2 seconds.
  • Bring back your arms to the original position
  • Repeat 8 times.

Fly with Weights

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Strengthening Exercise 3: Side Laying
  • Lay on your side while holding a single dumbbell in one arm. Place towel between bicep and waist.
  • Slowly raise the arm up towards the ceiling until your arm is straightened up.
  • Hold for 4 seconds.
  • Return to the original position.
  • Repeat 3 sets from both sides, 8 times.

Side Laying

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Strengthening Exercise 4: Shoulder Press
  • Stand straight with feet spread wide apart, with abs tightened, shoulders back and a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Lift your arms straight overhead.
  • Hold for 2 seconds.
  • Bend your elbows and bring them at 90 degrees and then press back straight.
  • Do 15 presses.

Shoulder Press

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Strengthening Exercise 5: Prone T 
  • Lie on a bench facing down with elbow straight and arm dangling down towards the floor.
  • Set your scapula by retracting it towards your spine and downward toward your feet.
  • Slowly raise your arm keeping elbow straight, keeping the thumb in the upward direction.
  • Hold for 3 seconds.
  • Return to original position
  • Repeat 3 sets from both sides, 8 times.

Prone T

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Strengthening Exercise 6: Standing Pendulum exercise
  • Stand and hold onto a sturdy chair with your good arm.
  • Bend forward at the waist with knees bent to protect your back.
  • Relax your weak arm& shoulder blade and use body motion to swing your arm in small circles.
  • Stand tall and relaxed.
  • Repeat motion and change direction of circles.

Standing Pendulum exercise

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Strengthening Exercise 7: Shoulder Abduction with Therabandexercise 
  • Tie a theraband on a doorknob.
  • Stand to face a door, holding the band with one hand.
  • Straighten up the arm to pull the band away from the door.

Shoulder Abduction with Therabandexercise

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Do’s of Shoulder Workout               Don’ts of the Shoulder workout
Keep a bottle by your side & stay hydrated. Never skip warm up before the workout
Ask a fitness advisor the right way to do an exercise. Don’t lift to the point of muscle exhaustion. Know your body limits.
Find a weight that you can smoothly lift. Avoid jerking
Focus on your breathing while you exercise. Don’t set unrealistic goals.
In case of any pain, consult a physiotherapist. Never miss stretching after working out.


Content Reviewed by – Dr. Parmila Sharma