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Recently, I decided to implement shoulder rehab exercises into my routine.
After about 6 months of nagging pain, I decided to find out what was really going on.
Fortunately, I have an uncle who is a doctor and only lives a couple hours away. This is great for avoiding the hospital! Especially while muzzle wearing is still popular… I digress.
This past Independence Day, after everybody finished desert, I said “Uncle T, how about an adjustment and diagnosis?”
We’re similar in the sense that we jump head first into a challenge, so he immediately busts out his chiropractic (he’s a chiropractor, virologist and medical science researcher at Stanford) table, adjusts me and proceeds to do a series of tests… Turns out, what I thought was a minor muscle tear or two, was actually AC joint separation, torn deltoid, partially torn trap, and a torn muscle in my neck. Holy crap!
I’ve been lifting heavy things, riding my mountain bike, off roading in my pickup, fighting with my buddies, playing backyard rugby and generally running a muck for the last 6 months with a broken upper body!
Point is, I decided to take a different approach with my training, more specifically my upper body training as the area from my elbow up, hurts the most lately. If you’ve been experiencing nagging shoulder pain like I have, perhaps it’s time for you to consider the same.
Seven Effective Shoulder Rehab Exercises
It’s been just over a month of my new implementation and I’m feeling great with minimal pain to report. My muscles are functioning better and are no longer visually deformed looking at the former tear/strain sites.
If you’ve been suffering with a shoulder injury, these exercises could be just what you need to recover. The following exercises are not intended to replace your doctor’s advice, but if you’re a self healer like me, I do recommend them – with caution.
Here are the exercises that I’ve been utilizing to rehab my shoulder; check them out and let me know what you think:
Shoulder Rehab Exercises
After a shoulder injury, it’s important for you to rebuild the strength, while restoring your range of motion.
Until the area has fully healed, it’ll be dangerous to do your regular training routines. Because of this, you’ll want to do the following shoulder rehab exercises with care. If you experience any pain while doing these rehab exercises, consider a consult with your doctor [1,2,3,4].
The Pendulum Maneuver
This is perhaps one of the more common shoulder rehab exercises that will be recommended to you. For this exercise, you are going to naturally work on swinging your arms in an effort to restore your full range of motion.
- You will begin by placing your uninjured hand on the back of a secure piece of furniture.
- Now, begin to bend your upper body forward, allowing your torso to become parallel with the floor.
- You will then allow your shoulder to relax naturally and slowly swing your injured arm.
- Five circles counter clockwise, and 5 circles counter-clockwise can be a great starting point, with you working to eventually increase the number of circles that you will be able to do.
Shoulder Blade Squeeze
This is one of the shoulder rehab exercises you can do while sitting in a chair.
- With a straight back, begin to move your shoulder blades in a backwards motion, but keeping your arms at both of your sides.
- You will now slowly squeeze as tight as you can, without causing yourself any pain.
- When you reach that max point, count to 10 and then allow your shoulders to slowly relax.
Shoulder Internal Rotation Grip
Stretching your muscles as part of your shoulder rehab exercises, will help ensure that blood circulation resumes naturally in your body, which can promote healing.
- This exercise is as simple as gripping each end of a towel with one hand behind your head and the other behind your back, clasping the towel while you breathe normally and relax the muscles in your face.
- Do this for a count of 10 and release. If you feel sharp pain, spread your grip or stop completely. Listen to your body.
Hanging Bodyweight or Walkup Exercise
This shoulder rehab exercise is exactly what it sounds like.
- You are going to grasp the pull up bar or something of the sort and completely relax with your feet still on the floor for a bit of support or of if you’re not in excess pain you can utilize your entire bodyweight.
- You should feel a very gentle stretch and loose after each session.
Over time gravity starts to reshape our shoulder joint. When you hang you are stretching the ligaments in your shoulder back out.
Dumbbell Scapular Retractions
You basically set up like you are going to do a dumbbell row on a flat bench.
- But you never row, you simply keep your arm fixed and lift with your shoulder.
I’ve been doing both light barbell and dumbbell shrugs for years.
- Stand with your arms at your sides and hold very light (two to five pound) dumbbells.
- Shrug your shoulders and hold that position for a count of two to three seconds.
- Repeat four to eight times resting 30-45 seconds between sets [21,22,23,24,25].
External / Internal Rotations
With a more severe injury your strengthening should initially be isometric, meaning contracting the muscles without movement.
- Start by standing with your side to a wall and shoulders at your side.
- Now, with your arm that is against the wall, bend it 90 degrees at the elbow.
- Place the back of your wrist/hand against the wall and try to rotate the arm at the shoulder against the resistance of the wall.
If you’re experiencing severe or prolonged pain be sure you speak with your doctor before doing any of these shoulder rehab exercises.
Consistency is key to success.
The goal will be to get your body back to where it was, without doing anything that could potentially result in lasting damage to your shoulder. Once you’ve reached your previous baseline, utilizing these exercises for long term maintenance is a great idea.
Health by choice, not by chance.
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