Rebuild Physiotherapy

88 Queens Quay W #2500

Toronto, ON  M5J 0B8

Tel:  (416) 888-1487

Email:  info@rebuildphysiotherapy.com

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  • Eric Lau

5 Simple Physiotherapy Exercises to Fix Shoulder Pain

Updated: Feb 5

Feeling pain in the front of your shoulder? In many cases this is due to a condition called “anterior shoulder impingement”. In this condition the rotator cuff tendons, which connects to the front of the shoulder, begin rubbing into one another which causes pain. This impingement is due to a muscle imbalance. Muscles such as the pectorals major, minor, subscapularis, and latissimus dorsi are too tight and pulls the shoulder forward. Whereas muscles such as the posterior deltoid, infraspinatus, and teres minor, are too weak to counter balance the anterior shoulder tension. This muscle imbalance cause the shoulder joint to glide forward causing this impingement of the rotator cuff tendons. Manual therapy such as active release, joint mobilization, and acupuncture are very effective at releasing muscle tension. Here are some exercises I prescribe to my patients to strengthen and rehabilitate the shoulder. Follow us on instagram @rebuildphysiotherapy for full videos of these simple shoulder exercises to fix your shoulder pain.


1) 90/90 external rotation to overhead press

  • Holding a resistance band, step onto the other end to anchor it to the ground, and lift up your elbow.

  • Keep your upper back straight and neck in a neutral position.

  • Slightly pinch your scapula back toward your spine engaging your scapular stabilizers.

  • Externally rotate your shoulder then overhead press.

  • Slowly lower hand and internally rotate your shoulder back to starting position.


90/90 Shoulder External Rotation Exercise

2) Isometric external rotation wall slides

  • Tie a resistance band into a loop.

  • Place your hands between the loop and pull the band apart until hands are shoulder width apart.

  • Slightly pinch your scapula back toward your spine engaging your scapular stabilizers.

  • Keeping your hands and elbows perpendicular to your body. Slide your hands up the wall.

  • Slowly lower your hands back down keeping your scapular stabilizers engaged.

  • During this exercise reach up overhead as high as possible with your shoulders and avoid doing this by arching your back.


Isometric Shoulder External Rotation Exercise

3) Kettle bell overhead presses

  • Slightly pinch your scapula back toward your spine engaging your scapular stabilizers.

  • Holding the kettle bell upside down will challenge the rotator cuff and scapular stabilizers.

  • With your elbow pointed out to the side, press the kettlebell overhead.

  • Perform this exercise slowly keeping the kettlebell balanced

  • Regression 1: Overhead pressing in the sagittal plane (keeping your elbow forward).

  • Regression 2: Overhead pressing in the scapular plane (keeping your elbow slightly out to the side).


Kettlebell Overhead Shoulder Press Exercise

4) External rotation

  • Classic rotator cuff drill.

  • Placing a rolled towel between your elbow and obliques. This is very important because this position will create more recruitment of the rotator cuff external rotators during this exercise.

  • Slightly pinch your scapula back toward your spine engaging your scapular stabilizers.

  • Keep your upper back straight and neck in a neutral position.

  • External rotate your shoulder

  • Slowly internally rotate your shoulder as you keep your scapula retracted and stabilizers engaged.


Shoulder External Rotation Exercise

5) Reverse Snow Angles

  • Lye, stomach down, onto a yoga mat with your head resting on a rolled towel.

  • Slightly pinch your scapula back toward your spine engaging your scapular stabilizers.

  • While maintained a scapular set position reach arms overhead keeping elbows straight.

  • Slowly lower arms back down to side.

  • Progression: Perform this exercise holding onto light weights.


Reverse Snow Angel Shoulder Exercise