Dislocated Shoulder Exercises

The following Dislocated shoulder exercises form part of our Dislocated shoulder rehabilitation program. Created by elite sports physiotherapist Paul Tanner it includes stretching & mobility, strengthening, movement control and functional exercises.

Stretching & mobility exercises

Begin mobility exercises as soon as pain allows.

Neck retraction exercises

Sit in an upright position, and bring your head back over your shoulder blades, in effect attempting to make a double chin. Hold the neck retraction, then release your neck back towards the neutral position. Make sure to glide back naturally.

Scapular setting

In a slightly flexed position, sit up in a good posture, bring your shoulder blades together and give them a squeeze.


1) In a bent-over position keeping the arm relaxed gently swing it forwards and backwards as far as it feels comfortable.

2) In a bent-over position take your arm out to the side as far as feels comfortable.

3) In a bent-over position draw a big circle with your arm, making the circle as big as you can, keep your arm relaxed.


Place your arm so that it is slightly above horizontal, with your palm against the wall. Turn your body away from the wall, keeping your hand firmly against the wall, this will stretch your pec to the side nearest the wall.

Posterior capsule

Bring your arm up to shoulder level and gently pull it across your body, and use your other hand to pull the arm in until a stretch is felt in the shoulder.

Strengthening exercises

These exercises specifically strengthen the shoulder muscles. It is important you avoid abduction at the same time as external rotation (moving your arm up and out sideways) in the earlier stages. This is because your shoulder is weakest and most susceptible to dislocating in this position.

Shoulder flexion

Stand with your back against the wall, maintaining a good posture. Keeping your thumbs forward, bring your arms up over your head as far as you can (touching your thumbs against the wall). Keep your back against the wall, and lower your arms back down to your sides.

Shoulder internal rotation

Start with the band attached to a fixed point on your side. Hold another end of the band in one hand, with the elbow bent and the upper arm by your side. Keep the elbow by your side, move your hand towards your stomach as far as is comfortable, and slowly return to the starting position.

Shoulder external rotation

Wrap the resistance band around something stable, and hold the other end standing so that the band crosses the body. Keep the elbow bent to 90 degrees and the upper arm by the side. Rotate the shoulder to pull the band away from the body.

Mid to inner-range pectoral fly

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and start with your arms out to the side, just below shoulder height. Keep a small bend in the elbows as you bring your arms forward so that your hands meet in front of your chest, and slowly return to the starting position.

Functional exercises

Upright row

Stand on a resistance band and pull both hands up towards your chin, Keep your back straight and hold for a second at the top. Slowly relax on your way down.

Single-leg drop jump

Start on the step, then hop off. Hold on to the landing for a couple of seconds and repeat.

Bent over row

Put your knee on the bench, and with your arm fully extended pull the dumbbell up towards your chest. Squeezing your shoulder blades at the top.

Functional exercises

Single-leg drop jump

Start on the step, then hop off, hold on the landing for a couple of seconds and repeat.

Depth drop stick landing and hold

Start on the step, then hop off, hold on the landing for a couple of seconds and repeat.

Force Absorption exercises

Start in a plank with your abdomen balancing on the ball and your hands on the floor, maintain your balance! Keep your core nice and tight, move your body weight onto one side, reach up and touch the shoulder, and come back down. Repeat this on the opposite side.

Throw and catch

Throw the ball towards the ceiling, and catch it before it hits your chest.

Plyometric press up

Start in a press-up position on your knees, and keep your core tight. Lower your body as if you’re going to do a pushup until your chest is almost touching the floor. Push up with force so your hands leave the ground, and land lightly on the ground, moving into your next rep immediately.

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