Shoulder Workout

                          SHOULDER

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to your shoulder exercise program
The exercises in the program are designed to improve your shoulder
mobility, posture and the control of the muscles in your neck and
shoulder girdle. The stretch based exercises have been included
specifically to relieve posture-related neck pain, tension headaches
and pain or tension in the neck and shoulders.
The exercises are in order of progression, commencing with
awareness exercises and finishing with whole body movement. It is
important that you start at the beginning and work your way through
to the end.
As a routine you should aim to complete 6-8 repetitions of each
exercise, unless otherwise stated. Once per day is sufficient but
more often is better

EXERCISES

Every exercise has a name and a purpose, so that you can
understand what you are trying to achieve. The starting position
describes the position you need to adopt before commencing – there
is usually an image to help you understand. The exercise describes
the action required and again, the images will help. Progressions and
variations are made available for when you are performing the
exercise well and are ready for new challenges. The self check
identifies the commonly made mistakes and what you need to notice
to ensure they don’t occur to you.

SAFETY
Should you experience pain
with any of the prescribed
exercises, stop, re-read the
instructions and carefully try
again. If pain persists consult
your physiotherapist.

SHOULDER PULL DOWNS

PURPOSE
To learn efficient use of the shoulder blades and arms while maintaining a
neutral spine position.
STARTING POSITION
Lay on front with forehead resting on hands, legs outstretched.

EXERCISE
Find your neutral spine position and maintain.
Shrug both shoulders up toward ears, and then slide shoulder blades down
toward the buttocks.

PROGRESSION
1 PROTRACTION/RETRACTION: As for shoulder Pull Downs,
maintain distance between your ear and shoulder. Roll your
shoulders forward as through trying to curl them to touch. Then
slides the shoulder blades back along your back as though trying to
‘crack a walnut’ between the blades.
 VARIATION: Can be performed in sitting, standing and quadruped.

PRONE LOWER TRAPS

PURPOSE
To increase lower trapezius function and control.
STARTING POSITION
Lay face down with arms by your sides, palms down. Rest the forehead
comfortably on the floor.

EXERCISE
Lift the shoulders off the floor, sliding the scapulas down the back. Then lift
the hands about 5cm off the floor. Ensure the head stays on the floor, and
shoulders continue in a gliding movement down the back away from your
ears.

PROGRESSIONS
1 LOADED LOWER TRAP: As above, add hand weights. Use a
weight reasonably light, ½ -1kg should be adequate. Lead
movement with the little finger side of the hand

STOP SIGN WRIST LIFT

PURPOSE
To learn efficient use of the shoulder blades and arms, while maintaining a
neutral spine position/ strong centre.

STARTING POSITION
Lay on front, with forehead resting on a small pillow.
Arms in ‘stop sign’ position.

EXERCISE
Find your neutral spine position and maintain.
Gently glide the shoulder blades down the back. Keep the forearm and
wrist straight imagining that there is a metal rod from your elbow to the tips
of your fingers.
Exhale gently as you lift your left wrist off the floor, pivoting at your elbow.
Inhale as you relax.
Repeat on the opposite side.

PROGRESSIONS
1 DOUBLE ARM WRIST LIFT: As for Stop Sign Wrist Lift. Lift both
right and left forearms simultaneously. Inhale to lift, exhale to return.

STOP SIGN ARM LIFT

PURPOSE
To learn efficient use of the shoulder blades and arms, while maintaining a
neutral spine position.

STARTING POSITION
Lay on front, with forehead resting on a small pillow.
Arms in ‘stop sign’ position.

EXERCISE
Find your neutral spine position and maintain.
Keep the forearm and wrist straight imagining that there is a metal rod from
your elbow to the tips of your fingers. Gently glide the shoulder blades
down the back away from your ears.
Exhale gently as you lift your left wrist, then elbow off the floor, pivoting at
your elbow first, then lifting the elbow off the floor.
Inhale as you relax, placing the elbow down first, followed by the wrist.
Repeat on the opposite side.

PROGRESSIONS
1 CONTINUOUS ARM LIFT: As for Stop Sign Arm Lift. Lift the wrist
and elbow simultaneously pivoting at the shoulder joint and
ensuring that the shoulder blades glide in and downward toward the
spine.

2 DOUBLE ARM WRIST LIFT: As for Stop Sign Arm Lift. Inhale,
lifting both right and left arms simultaneously. Exhale to relax.
3 REACH: As for Stop Sign Arm Lift. Pause in the lifted position and
take a breath in. Exhale, reach the arm straight overhead, keeping
the space between the ear and shoulder. Inhale to draw them back
to ‘stop sign’ position. Exhale lower to the floor

DIAMOND PRESS

PURPOSE
To mobilise the upper back into extension. To learn to isolate the activity of
the upper back muscles from the lower back. To work appropriately with the
shoulder blades and the neck.

STARTING POSITION
Lay on front, with forehead resting on hands and fingers making diamond
shape.

EXERCISE
Find your neutral spine position and maintain.
Glide the shoulder blades gently down the back to create space between
the ear and shoulder.
Lift the head slightly, and reach the crown of the head forward to the edge
of the mat.
Reach the elbows wide and press the forearms into the floor as you
segmentally extend the upper back from the floor. As you lift the upper back,
keep the lower ribs in contact with the floor, and the lower back relaxed and
open.
Maintain your gaze to your fingers.
Slowly lower, keeping the length in the spine, then relax completely.

ARM ARCS

PURPOSE
To challenge the control of your trunk and ribs, with arm movements.
STARTING POSITION
Lay in the ‘rest position’ (on back with knees bent), hands resting by side.

EXERCISE
Find your neutral spine position and maintain.
Gently glide the shoulder blades down the back. Float the arms up to
shoulder height, lengthening the fingers to the ceiling, while maintaining a
neutral shoulder position.
Slowly lower hands back to your side.

PROGRESSIONS
1 ARM FLOATS 180o: As for Arm Floats 90°, lift arms to ceiling, and
continue reaching the arms overhead. Allow the shoulder blades to
glide up the back towards the ears. Stop if you feel your ribs
beginning to lift. Slowly lower hands back to your side.

2 ALTERNATING ARMS: Arms start lifted to shoulder height, fingers
pointing up to ceiling. Lift one arm overhead and lower the other
down to the floor, like scissors. Slowly return arms to shoulder
height and switch over.

QUAD KNEELING ARM REACH
PURPOSE

To challenge your awareness and control of neutral spine, and the strength
of your upper body.

STARTING POSITION
Kneel on hands and knees, with spine neutral and shoulders level.

EXERCISE
Find your neutral spine position and maintain.
Slide fingertips out along the floor then lift your hand, gliding your fingers up
to shoulder height.
Maintain a lifted position over your weight bearing arm, keeping the collar
bones wide.

1 ELEVATION/DEPRESSION:. Maintaining neutral spine position, lift
the shoulders up toward the ears, feeling the shoulder blades
separate. Gently, slide them back down toward your toes.

2 PROTRACTION/RETRACTION:. Maintaining neutral spine position,
press the chest up from the floor as you lift the breast bone through
the shoulder blades. Then slide the shoulder blades back and
toward the spine, as though trying to ‘crack a walnut’ in the shoulder
blades.

SNAKE ARMS

PURPOSE
To stretch the chest muscles, open the chest and improve ribcage mobility.
To enhance awareness of the shoulder blades.

STARTING POSITION
Lay in the sidelying ‘rest position’, with knees bent.

EXERCISE
Find your neutral sidelying position and maintain.
Reach top hand past bottom hand as far as you can, to release the muscles
between the spine and the shoulder blade.
Glide the shoulder blade back towards the spine, keeping elbow straight.
Bend elbow and slide hand along bottom arm, across chest and stretch out
on other side of body. Rotate the chest as you do so, keeping the pelvis in
neutral.
Follow hand with eyes, and allow the head to gently rotate.
Return hand to starting position by sliding hand back across chest and
bottom arm.

PROGRESSIONS
1 CHEST OPENER: Stretch top hand past bottom hand as far as you
can. Lift arm up, reach up and over, like your arms are a giant clam.
Feel the stretch across the front of your chest as you open out the
clam. Follow hand with eyes. Return hand to starting position by
bringing your arm back to rest on your other hand.

CHALK CIRCLES

PURPOSE
To improve chest and shoulder mobility.

STARTING POSITION
Lay on side with knees bent, hips stacked and arms stretched out in front at
shoulder height with palms together.

EXERCISE
Find your side lying neutral spine position and maintain.
Reach top hand forward as you pick up your imaginary piece of chalk.
Draw the biggest possible circle up around you with your head as the centre.
As your arm reaches your ear, turn the palm up and reach as long through
the fingertips as possible, to lengthen the arm.
Repeat in the opposite direction.
Allow the hand to lift from the floor as you need, as it will be more
comfortable fro the shoulder and you will get a better stretch.

ROLLER ARM SERIES

PURPOSE
An advanced exercise to challenge the control of your trunk and shoulder
blades. Will strengthen the arms and shoulders.

STARTING POSITION
Lay on back with head and tailbone on the roller, knees bent and feet hip
width apart. Hold weights in hands above shoulders.
Find your neutral spine position and maintain.

EXERCISE
Choose hand weights which are reasonably light as the purpose is to
challenge stability not to promote muscle bulk. 1-2kg hand weights should
be adequate. Follow the exercise progressions below.

PROGRESSIONS
1 HUG A TREE: Begin with weights in hands, arms lifted to shoulder
height and elbows soft. Slowly lower both hands toward the floor,
stop where you feel comfortable, maintaining the banana-like shape
of the arms. Return to the start position.

 VARIATION: Single Arm Hugs: as above, keep one arm
stationary while lowering the other toward the floor. Maintain
body position.

2 BALLERINA ARMS: To begin change to holding one weight end to
end with both hands. Keeping elbows soft and a neutral spine
position take both hands overhead as far as is comfortable before
the ribcage starts to lift or the back arch.

 VARIATION: Scissors: holding a weight in each hand, with
hands in line with shoulders, lower one hand toward the floor
the other overhead. Limit range of movement to maintain
neutral spine and rib position.

3 ARM STIRS: Begin with a weight in each hand and arms lifted to
shoulder height. Trace small circles on the ceiling. Repeat the
other direction.