6 Exercises to Help with Shoulder Pain

Pain in the shoulder is a very common condition. According to a recent study, shoulder pain affects 18-26% of adults at any point in time.

Strengthening the muscles in the shoulder is essential for avoiding shoulder injuries and discomfort in the shoulder.

Strong shoulder muscles will also give the shoulder the stability and power it needs to function at its optimal capacity.

Exercises for Shoulder Pain

Muscles in the Shoulder

Recent studies have highlighted the importance of the strengthening the scapular and muscles in the shoulder and neck for helping to prevent shoulder pain. These muscles include your rotator cuff muscles (infraspinatus, supraspinatus, subscapularis, teres minor), deltoid, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids and trapezius.

These muscles help move the shoulder joint as well as stabilise the shoulder to assist in pain free and full movement. The muscles play an important role when lifting objects above the head, pushing, and pulling, and when performing common movements such as picking up objects, brushing your hair and driving.

Why Isn’t My Shoulder Pain Getting Better?

Even though you might be targeting your shoulder muscles at the gym, this doesn’t necessarily indicate that the correct shoulder muscles are working during that exercise. 

Common reasons contributing to your shoulder pain: 

  • Stiff Upper Back: having a stiff or reduce mobility in the upper back or thoracic spine will not allow your shoulder to optimally move throughout the joint space as it decreases the space within the shoulder joint. 
  • Rounded Shoulders – this will not allow you to effectively activate the important needed in the posterior shoulder as these muscles are likely to be on stretch 
  • Poor Movement Patterns – if your shoulder is stiff and weak this will not allow you to effectively move it resulting in poor movement patterns. Overtime, this poor movement will become automatic and used throughout daily activities, not just exercise. 


Scapular Setting
  • Hold a light resistance band with elbows tightly locked to your side and bent at 90 degrees. Pull the band squeezing your shoulder blades together ensuring that your shoulders are depressed
  • 3 x 12 sets
Scapular Setting
External Rotation Step Out
External Rotation Step Out
  • Tie a band to a door handle. Stand to the side of the doorknob, hold the band with the outside arm keeping your elbow locked by your side and bent at 90 degrees. Step out away from the door, hold for 3 seconds and step back towards the door.
  • Ensure you are not shrugging your shoulders and your shoulders are in a depressed position 
  • 3 x 10 sets on each side 
Lat Pull Down 
  • Place a light resistance band in a window or a door at head height. Hold the band in 1 hand with your arm straight and pull down the band towards the floor, drawing your ribs down to your pockets.
  • 3 x 10 sets on each side
Lat Pull Down
Banded Wall Climb
Banded Wall Climb
  • Place a band around both wrists with elbows and forearms against a wall just below shoulder height. Spread the arms, keeping tension on the band and slowly slide your forearms up the wall as high as you can tolerate and then slide back down
  • 3 x 15 sets
Capsule Stretch 
  • Lying on your side placing your shoulder and elbow at 90 degrees. Pull your arm down rotating it towards the floor and hold.
  • 3 x 30-60 sec holds on each side
Capsule Stretch
Thoracic Rotations
Thoracic Rotations
  • Place yourself next to a wall in a half kneeling position with hands behind your head. Rotate your upper body, arms and head towards the wall making a semi-circle motion with your arms. Rotate back towards your starting position 
  • 3 x 12 sets on each side

This article was written by Physiotherapist – Laura Bravo, from our Precision Physio Concord clinic. If you would like more information, or feel you might benefit from a session with one of the Precision Physio team, you can either come into our clinics, or work with us online.

How Do I Book An Appointment?

We’re taking the health of our clients, members and staff very seriously and our preference would be for you to call to book an appointment so that we can make sure to explain our approach to keeping you safe. You can call any of these numbers to schedule a session:

Online Consultations

Evolving with the current environment, we are also now offering online appointments, meaning that we can support anyone who is unable to leave their home. Sessions are done via our state of the art Telehealth system and as long as you have a laptop or tablet with an inbuilt camera, or a phone with camera, we can help!

To learn more about online consultations, please call us on any of the numbers listed above.

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