A major way to prevent shoulder injury is by keeping the muscles surrounding the shoulder joints strong. Overuse, age, and sports are the three main causes of injury to the shoulder. With the amount of work it does and flexibility it has, the shoulder is one of the most susceptible body parts to injury.

While it would be ideal to make it to the gym or a workout class every day, most of us have busy lives with many responsibilities. That doesn’t mean health should take a backseat on your priority list, though. Sometimes, it helps to get creative and make time in your schedule for small workout routines that result in big benefits.

Exercising and specifically strengthening your shoulders can prevent several types of injuries, like damage to the labrum, rotator cuff tendons, or articular cartilage. Our medical and physical therapy team recommend these three, easy, at-home exercises to strengthen and tone your shoulders, and ultimately avoid future injury.

Walk Outs: Standing up straight, bend the knees slightly and fold at the waist to bring the hands all the way to a flat position on the floor. Walk your hands out until you are in an extended plank position (think: top of a pushup). Make sure your back is straight, shoulders are pressed away from the ears, and stomach is held tight. Hold the plank position for 5 to 10 seconds, and walk the hands back to your feet. Stand up all the way. Repeat 15-25 times.

Pike Pushups: If you do yoga, you know the position “downward-facing dog.” If you aren’t familiar with this term, go into plank position, and then draw your hips toward the ceiling, so that your body makes an inverted V shape. Your spine should be straight and heels should drop toward the ground (it’s okay if they don’t reach). Keeping your gaze toward the belly button and the inverted V shape in your body, bend your elbows. The degree to which you bend them is up to you; it should be challenging but not impossible. Straighten the elbows back to the start position. Repeat 15-25 times.

Plank with Shoulder Taps: Come into plank position and engage the core, quads, and shoulders. Keeping the rest of your body as stable as possible, tap your right hand to your left shoulder, and return it back to the floor right away. Then tap your left hand to your right shoulder, and bring it back down. Repeat 15-25 times, with one repetition equaling both a right and left tap.


It’s important to note that if you feel any pinching or pain during these exercises, you may need to adjust form. If you have pain that was pre-existing or persists for days after exercising, you should get your shoulder looked at by a doctor.


While these exercises should be challenging, they should never result in sharp or pinched sensations, as they’re meant to strengthen and, ultimately, protect the shoulder from injury. If you are experiencing intense shoulder discomfort or pain, contact our office today for a personalized consult and care plan with Dr. Snyder.

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