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Top Three Exercises For Shoulder Pathology


By Biagio Mazza

Today, we are going to go through the top three exercises that you can do for shoulder pathology. Keep in mind with all of these, they should never hurt. If they hurt either you're doing it wrong or we need to do something different for your particular pathology.

The first exercise is called a shoulder pendulum. On shoulder pendulum, what you are going to do is bend forward and put weight on your opposite hand.

  • If I'm working my left hand, I'm going to put weight through my right hand into my knee and I'm just going to let myself hang and let the shoulder just gently move in a circle in one direction, circle in the other direction. I'm going to go for about 25 times.
  • If you want to, you can add a light weight, so you can add a one to two pound dumbbell.
  • Put it in between the fingers and let it hang in that position just to provide some distraction.

Great exercise for just getting some good lubrication to the shoulder joint that needs to have fluid exchanged to help with healing.

The second exercise that I really love is scapular pinching. So, scapular pinching just means taking the shoulder blades and holding them back together. There's a certain way I really like to teach this to be done and that is to...

  • Open up the palms and pull the shoulder blades back
  • From that position, slowly slide down the rib cage from there and hold
  • You'll build up to a minute of time with that shoulder blade pinched behind you.

And then the final exercise that I really like are shoulder isometrics. Isometrics just means a contraction without motion. So with the shoulder, your rotator cuff, external rotators as you bring your hand that way, tend to get very weak. So you can strengthen them with an isometric. All you do is...

  • Choose a shoulder to strengthen -- Place that arm straight down on the side and bend that elbow to a 90 degree angle
  • Put your hand opposite hand on the outside the wrist of the side you're trying to strengthen
  • Pull the shoulder blade back and then gently push out with the bent arm.

So you will be pushing out with the opposite hand against the resistance of your arm to try to build up some endurance and strength. You don't have to do it against your own hand. You can do this in a door jamb or against anything that's stable that you're going to be pushing there so it doesn't move. You'll build up time with this as well, up to 30 seconds.

Check out THIS video for a video demonstration of each exercise.

Again, these should never hurt.