Isometric Shoulder Exercises

Isometric or static shoulder exercises are performed using an immovable object such as a wall or possibly a partner to provide resistance. The joint does not move at all but the muscles will contract. They are used in the earlier stages of shoulder rehabilitation where joint movement may be painful.

Isometric shoulder flexion

The arm is moved slightly in front of the body, with the fist touching a wall in front. The athlete tries to list the arm upwards against the resistance of the wall. Hold for 5-10 seconds.

Isometric extension

The athlete stands with their back to a wall and the arm just behind them. They try to push the arm back against the wall. Hold for 5-10 seconds.

Isometric abduction

The athlete stands side-on to a wall and tries to push the arm out to the side against the wall. Hold for 5-10 seconds.

Internal (medial) rotation

The arm is bent at the elbow and the wrist pushed against the wall as if trying to rotate around to the stomach. Hold for 5-10 seconds.

External (lateral) rotation

The arm is bent at the elbow and the wrist pushed back against the wall as if trying to rotate outwards. Hold for 5-10 seconds.

Bouhler Shoulder Exercises

Bouhler exercises are excellent for the shoulder blade muscles and the mid-back.


  • Strengthens the middle back muscles and the lower trapezius. 


  • Static muscular contractions using the wall as resistance. Ensure the abdominals are tightened and the back is flat against the wall.
  • Exercise 1 - Patient pushes the thumbs to the wall, hold for 5 seconds, relax and repeat.
  • Exercise 2 - The patient pushes the backs of the hands into the wall. Hold for 5 seconds, rest and repeat.
  • Exercise 3 - The arms are positioned at a 45-degree angle from horizontal and then pushed back into the wall. Ensure the elbows are straight and shoulder blades retracted (pulled together).

Muscles worked:

  • Rhomboids
  • Lower trapezius.


  • Perform the same movements in a prone lying position (on the front)

Similar exercises: 

  • Seated Row
  • Reverse Fly

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