Shoulder Impingement Exercises Shoulder Impingement Exercises

8 Easy and Comforting Shoulder Impingement Exercises

Shoulder Impingement Exercises are necessary for the list of physical fitness, But why? Shoulders are complicated joints vulnerable to injuries and do most of the work in a day.

Ever felt some pain or friction in the shoulders during a movement? It’s common and can also be considered Shoulder Impingement syndrome if it occurs more frequently. Taking care of it is necessary to reduce the risk in the future. You get the most benefits from performing SI exercises, not just reducing shoulder pain.

Know what shoulder impingement is and also its treatment through shoulder impingement exercises through this article. 

Absolute Best Shoulder Impingement Exercises (Self-Treatments)

1. What is Shoulder Impingement? 

Shoulder impingement is a condition or injury of the shoulder muscles/ rotator cuff muscles, and its pet name is Swimmer’s Shoulder. It is a common cause of shoulder pain, weakness, and limitation of movement due to rotator cuff tear by the shoulder blade of the shoulder joint. The shoulder pain becomes unbearable when the arm is moving upwards. 

Shoulder Impingement Exercises
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1.1 Symptoms of Shoulder Impingement: 

  • Pain or difficulty in reaching the arms overhead.
  • Weakness in the shoulder.
  • Pinching feeling in the shoulder, even with a little movement.
  • Pain or difficulty reaching the behind of the back.
  • Difficulty in elevating the arm.
  • Dull and constant pain in the upper arm and shoulders. 
  • Arm and shoulder pain worsens at night ( especially on the painful or affected side).
  • Often frequency of shoulder pain comes and goes for some time.
  • Swelling and tenderness in the shoulder appear bigger than usual and might be excruciating to the touch. 

1.2 Causes of Shoulder Impingement: 

Shoulder Impingement Exercises
Image by Andremcenroe from Pixabay
  • Shoulder Impingement can be caused by overuse of the shoulder. 
  • Active use of shoulders over time repeatedly will lead to Shoulder Impingement. 
  • If the shoulders are moved rapidly in an upward and downward motion, then it might be a risk of Shoulder Impingement. 
  • The age of the person 
  • Injuries in the upper body 
  • Bony abnormalities
  • Shoulder instability and stiffness
  • Poor coordination of muscles to perform specific movements  
  • Poor posture 
  • Weak rotator cuff muscles 

1.3 Prevention: 

  • Maintaining a good posture.
  • Stretching the shoulder muscles, neck, arms, and chest can work wonders. 
  • Strengthening the shoulder muscles. 
  • Practicing perfect techniques for overhead actions and throwing motions.
  • Massaging regularly to alleviate pain in the shoulder muscles. 
Shoulder Impingement Exercises
Image by: Karl Solano. Pexels. Copyrights August 15th, 2019

1.4 Diagnosis:

  • A physical examination of the shoulder can be done to see if any inflammation, redness, or tenderness is there. 
  • Checking for signs f injury, bruising, or swelling on the shoulders. 
  • Performing some series of arm movements to check abnormalities can be done. 
  • The other way is to do Tests & Scans to know the other possible causes. 

1.5 Treatment: 

  • Rest 
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs 
  • Physical therapy 
  • Elastic therapeutic tape
  • Heat 
  • Icing
  • Regenerative Medicine 
  • Surgery 
Shoulder Impingement Exercises
Image by: Karolina Grabowska. Pexels. Copyrights June 25th, 2020

Surgeries are mainly done to prevent friction between the rotator cuff and the shoulder muscles by widening the space. 

Avoid activities that need an upward movement of the arms to reduce shoulder pain.

Physical therapy is the safest, easiest, and gentle one that works better without side effects for Shoulder Impingement. It utilizes exercises and stretches to strengthen the muscles of the shoulders while restoring motion and reducing friction.  

2. Shoulder Impingement Exercises: 

Shoulder Impingement Exercises
Image by ScottWebb from Pixabay

Shoulder Impingement exercises – the best and easiest way to reduce Shoulder impingement syndrome as they come under physical therapy. SI Exercises restore, normalize, strengthen, and control shoulder movements. They also reduce and check the pain and friction in the Shoulder. Shoulder Impingement exercises also reduce the risk of injury and promote healing in the affected area of the shoulders. Here is the list of easy SI exercises to perform whenever the pain starts. These SI exercises are easy to perform and have benefits other than Shoulder Impingement Treatment.

2.1 Aim of SI Exercises: 

Shoulder Impingement exercises aim to reduce the friction between the rotator cuff, tendons, and shoulder blades. Shoulder Impingement exercises help reduce pain in the upper body. Shoulder Impingement exercises give importance to give full mobility in the shoulder muscles by reducing stiffness.

Shoulder Impingement Exercises - Ask Doctor Jo

This Shoulder Impingement exercises help rehabilitate, regain, and maintain right shoulder movements.

  • Wall Slides: 

It’s among the easiest Shoulder Impingement exercises, as the wall supports the arm and lightens the weight or load on the shoulder. It is a pleasant exercise to reduce the pain upper arm and shoulder muscles. 

Stand straight, facing towards a wall by holding a towel or normally with both hands. 

  1. Keep your arms straight and at shoulder level or just below it. 
  2. Try to put your feet closer to the wall as close as possible.
  3. Slowly slide your arms up to the extent you can.
  4. Be paused for a moment there.
  5. Return to the starting position slowly.
  6. Repeat it 10 times – two times a day. 

Do every moment slowly and without any pain. The intensity of the workout can be increased by standing on an unsteady surface or a pillow. 

Wall Slides | Shoulder Health

  • Dead Hangs / Monkey Hangs: 

Dead hangs are one of the best shoulder impingement exercises that work on both shoulder impingement and strengthen the muscles responsible for shoulder strength, mobility, and endurance. 

  1. Set the secure overhead bar or pull-up bar. 
  2. Use a bench or a chair to reach it. 
  3. Grip the bar; at this time, take care that shoulder arm width apart. 
  4. Now, slowly move your legs up from the bench or chair.
  5. Lift your legs so that your body shapes to be in a sitting position.
  6. Stay there for about 20 – 30 seconds. 
  7. Don’t give much support to your legs.
  8. Now come to the normal position or starting position slowly. 
  9. Repeat the same 10 times. 

How to dead hang

  • Side-laying Shoulder Rotation: 

Side-laying Shoulder Impingement exercises help strengthen the external and internal rotators in the shoulders. Both exercises help position the shoulder joint and stabilize the rotator cuff as the shoulder experiences a gentle stretch. 

External Rotation Laying:

  1. First, lay on the unaffected or painless side.
  2. The other hand should be perpendicular to the body, touching the ground at 90 degrees.
  3. Now slowly rotate your arm upward at 90 degrees angle. 
  4. Now move it back to the same position. 
  5. Now, try to hold something light in weight.
  6. Repeat the same steps by holding it.  
  7. Do it with both hands and lie on the other side.
  8. Do it about 10-20 times.

Shoulder Exercise - Side Lying External Rotation - Zion Physical Therapy Video

Internal Rotation Laying: 

  1. Lay down on the side to work out. 
  2. Now slowly put your forearm parallel to the floor.
  3. Now rotate the shoulder so the forearm is near the stomach and the arm points upward. 
  4. And now, slowly move it back to its initial position. 
  5. Now take a little weight and repeat the same motion. 
  6. Do it 10-20 times. 

Sidelying Shoulder Internal Rotation With Dumbbell

  • Chest Stretch / Doorway Stretch / Pec Stretch: 

Chest stretch reduces the tightness and stiffness in the shoulder and chest muscles. It also helps get rid of future issues. It also promotes proper posture and helps in better breathing. Chest Stretch is the best one to follow of all Shoulder Impingement Exercises.

  1. Stand in a doorway or door frame.
  2. Put elbow and forearm on it, slightly below shoulder height. 
  3. Now move the body a bit forward, gently moving away from the doorframe.
  4. Until it feels like a stretch in the chest, the moment should happen.
  5. Once felt, stay and hold there for at least 5 – 10 seconds. 
  6. Then relax by getting back into the normal position. 
  7. Repeat 10 times. 

Chest Stretches for Tight or Sore Muscles - Ask Doctor Jo

  • Shoulder Squeezes / Scapular Retraction: 

It is the simplest and easiest of all Shoulder Impingement exercises. It helps in relieving the pain in shoulder muscles, mid-back pain, neck pain, and upper arm stiffness. 

  1. Slowly raise the shoulders 
  2. Then roll them back and down 
  3. Now squeeze and hold in the same position
  4. Hold it for a few seconds
  5. Repeat multiple times. 

Shoulder Squeezes - Ask Doctor Jo

  • Crossover Arm Stretch:

It is a regularly done exercise among all Shoulder Impingement exercises. Whenever people feel pain in the shoulder or back, they do this exercise to feel the stretch that relaxes all the upper body muscles. 

  1. Stand stiff and straight.
  2. Lift the affected or painful arm.
  3. It should be straight out in front of the body, perpendicularly. 
  4. Consider it should be below shoulder height. 
  5. Hold the arm for 5 seconds. 
  6. Relax and get back to the initial position
  7. Repeat 5 times.

Cross Arm Stretch

  •  Shoulder Blade Flexes: 

It is one of the best Shoulder Impingement exercises that stretches in arms and shoulder blades and strengthens the shoulder muscle, reducing friction between the rotator cuff and tendons. This is also a regularly followed exercise to feel the stretch for relaxation among all the Shoulder Impingement exercises. 

  1. Put the back straight 
  2. Keep arms at sides with palms facing forward
  3. Squeeze the shoulder blades towards the back, gently 
  4. Hold for a few seconds
  5. Repeat multiple times.

Setting and Activating the Scapula - Ask Dr. Abelson

3. Precautions To Follow Before & While Doing Shoulder Impingement Exercises

  • Never control your breath while doing Shoulder Impingement exercises.
  • Each moment of every Shoulder Impingement exercise should be done slowly and consciously. 
  • Every movement of Shoulder Impingement exercises should be controlled with small changes in the position and at a very slow pace. 
  • While doing Shoulder Impingement exercises, most of the support to the body should be given by the shoulders and hands. 
  • If pain is experienced during any Shoulder Impingement exercises, stop doing them immediately and relax for a while. 
  • Apply a hot pack to prepare muscles ready for the exercises.
  • If the muscles swell, apply an ice pack to reduce it. It can be used anytime.
  • Massaging with a softball at the shoulder point will alleviate pain in the Shoulder Impingement. 

Know more about exercising, which might also help reduce shoulder impingement syndrome – Armpit fat Exercises.

SHOULDER IMPINGEMENT: 8 Exercises and Strategies to Treat it For Good


Shoulder Impingement is among the most common, frustrating problem in day-to-day life. Many methods can control its effects, but the only way to correct a Shoulder Impingement without any side effects is through Shoulder Impingement exercises. They work awesomely and bring back the normality in the shoulders. The key to getting rid of Shoulder impingement is consistency in performing the Shoulder Impingement exercises. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Can shoulder impingement be cured with exercise?

A1. It’s best for your shoulder, but you can do some light exercises to stretch the muscles in the arm, shoulder, and chest in conjunction with strengthening your rotator cuff. These exercises will help to avoid worsening shoulder pain impingement.

Q2. How long does it take for a shoulder impingement to heal?

A2. It may take as much as six months, for a shoulder impingement to recover. Some severe impingements can take as much as a year to heal. Nevertheless, within two to four weeks, you ought to have the ability to resume your regular activities once again.

Q3. Should I massage shoulder impingement?

A3. Shoulder impingement syndrome is often a precursor to bursitis, tendinopathy, and rotator cuff injury. As in the previous examples, relaxing and reducing the tension in the muscles with deep tissue massage techniques can reduce this compression and allow more space for the shoulder joint to move freely and not impinge.

Q4. How should I sleep to avoid shoulder impingement?

A4. If you’re still experiencing pain, you’ll have to try sleeping on your back. Sleeping on your front is likely to cause pain for all forms of shoulder impingement, so try to stick to your back or side.

Q5. Is yoga good for shoulder impingement?

A5. It also helps heal rotator cuff tears, frozen shoulders, and shoulder impingements. The ISSA’s Yoga Instructor certification program is a great way to learn more about yoga and the benefits it offers.


Last Updated on March 4, 2023 by Agnes