Exercises for Shoulder Tendonitis

Shoulder Tendonitis can be managed with following some general exercise guidelines. Of course, as part of the overall treatment program, utilize ice therapy to help minimize localized pain and swelling. In addition, avoid all aggravating activities.




It is important that both stretching and strengthening exercises be performed pain free. Shoulder stretching may result in discomfort, but pain should be avoided. For shoulder tendonitis secondary to shoulder stiffness, start with following the stretching exercises and move on to the strengthening exercises as mobility increases. If shoulder stiffness is not present, proceed directly to the shoulder strengthening exercises.


Shoulder Tendonitis Stretching Exercises


shoulder flexion

Supine Shoulder Flexion

Lying flat on your back, grab a stick/golf club/bat with both hands, shoulder width apart. Keeping elbows straight, lift both arms up and overhead, using the uninjured shoulder to control the movement. Stretch the shoulder in this overhead position to the point of discomfort but not pain. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds, repeat 3 times.



side lyling sleeper stretch

Posterior Capsule Stretch

Keeping elbow straight and in a thumb up position, move injured shoulder across body toward the opposite shoulder. Use the opposite arm to provide an extra stretch by moving the arm closer to the opposite shoulder. To minimize pain, keep arm slightly below shoulder level. A stretch should be felt in the back of the shoulder. Hold 10 to 15 seconds, repeat 3 times.



shoulder abduction stretch

Standing Wall Abduction Stretch

While facing a wall, walk the injured arm up overhead until a stretch but no pain is felt in the shoulder. Hold for 10 seconds. While keeping the arm in this overhead position, rotate your body away from the wall. Hold for another 10 seconds. Repeat this process 3 times.



shoulder external rotation stretch

Table External Rotation Stretch

Place yourself in a sitting position along side a table. Rest your arm on the table with the elbow in a 90 degree flexed position. Keeping your forearm and elbow flat on the table, lean your body forward until you feel a stretch in your shoulder. Hold this stretch 10 to 15 seconds and repeat 3 times.



shoulder hand behind back stretch

Hand Behind Back Stretch

Utilizing a towel, grab the towel with the uninjured arm with the towel falling behind your back. Grab the towel with the injured arm. Use the uninjured arm to raise the towel up, bringing the involved arm across the back and up toward the opposite shoulder blade. Keep your low and upper back in an upright position as rounding forward will lessen the stretch. Hold stretch for 10 to 15 seconds and repeat 3 times.





Shoulder Tendonitis Strengthening Exercises

shoulder external rotation strengtheing

Side lying External Rotation

While lying on your uninjured side, tuck a rolled up towel between your injured arm and elbow. Using a light weight (2 lbs – 3 lbs) and keeping your elbow flexed at a 90 degree angle, slowly rotate your arm from next to your body up toward the ceiling, then lower back toward your body. Perform 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions. Make sure to perform movement in a slow controlled fashion. Because the rotator cuff muscles are endurance muscles, when the exercise becomes easy, increase the number of repetitions before increasing the weight.



shoulder scaption strengthening

Standing Shoulder Scaption

Start in a standing position, using a light (2 lbs to 3 lbs) weight. Begin with your arms at your side. Lift arms up (at a 30 degree angle from straight out to the side) to shoulder height. Make sure to lead with the thumbs and keep your elbows straight. Avoid shrugging your shoulders by focusing on keeping your shoulder blades in a down and back position. Perform 3 sets of this slow movement, 10 to 15 repetitions. Over time, when the exercise becomes easy, increase the difficulty of the exercise by increasing the number of repetitions before increasing weight.



shoulder rows

Shoulder Rows

Attach a thera-band resistance band to a door. While facing the door in a standing position, grab the thera-band with both elbows extended. Move both arms backward while allowing the elbows to flex. Finish with squeezing your shoulder blades together. Avoid shrugging your shoulders by focusing on keeping your shoulder blades in a down and back position. Perform 3 sets of this slow movement, 10 to 15 repetitions. Over time, when the exercise becomes easy, increase the difficulty of the exercise by increasing the number of repetitions before increasing weight.



shoulder press up

Shoulder Press Up

Use a sturdy table or chair. Keeping your arms in a straight position, shift your weight forward so your body is supported by your arms. Slightly lift your body up by contracting the muscles around your shoulder blades. The amount of movement will be small. Repeat 3 sets of 10 repetitions.


Relieving your shoulder pain will take time and persistence. Follow these shoulder tendonitis exercises on a consistent basis to help you take control of your shoulder pain.




Return to Top

Return from Shoulder Tendonitis Exercises to Joint Pain Treatment Home