Shoulder Mobility Exercises

Shoulder mobility exercises are usually done in the early stages of rehabilitation as and when pain allows. This obviously depends on how bad your injury is and what stage of rehabilitation you are at. The aim is to increase the pain-free range of movement at the shoulder. Pendulum exercises are the most basic and should be done as soon as pain allows. Later use of a pole or wand can help increase the range of movement further.

Pendulum Exercises


  • To mobilize the shoulder joint in the early stages of rehabilitation

Teaching Points

  • The athlete stands as shown with the bodyweight resting on the uninjured shoulder.
  • Keeping the injured shoulder relaxed, bodyweight is shifted between the feet to initiate a back and forwards motion.
  • Standing with the feet level and at shoulder width, transferring the weight from right to left can be used to increase side to side movement.

Pole Mobility Exercises

Wand exercises use a long pole such as a broomstick to move the injured arm. The other arm powers the movement and the injured arm is kept relaxed as it is moved throughout its range of motion.


  • To increase shoulder flexibility and mobility.


  • Use the pole or stick to navigate the injured arm to avoid excess stress
  • Follow the movements shown in the videos; flexion, lateral rotation, medial rotation, abduction and horizontal flexion/extension.

Superior Capsule Stretch

To stretch the top of the shoulder a rolled up towel can be placed between the bent elbow and the body. The other hand pulls the elbow inwards.


  • To increase superior capsule mobility and shoulder extension.


  • A rolled up towel is placed between the arm and the side of the body.
  • With the elbow bent, the athlete pulls the elbow towards the body using the other hand.

Standing Chest Press

This exercise strengthens the serratus anterior and increases shoulder flexibility. A resistance band is required for this exercise.


  • To strengthen serratus anterior and increase shoulder flexibility


  • Athlete anchors the elastic band at chest level and holds one end in each hand.
  • Starting with the arms raised to chest level and elbows bent, the athlete pushes straight forwards until the elbows are straight.

Muscles worked:

  • Pectoralis major
  • Serratus anterior