Exercising with Shoulder Impingement: A Step-by-Step Guide

Shoulder impingement workout

Are you dealing with shoulder pain and wondering if exercising with shoulder impingement can help relieve your symptoms?

You're not alone.

Whether you are looking to build muscle or shred some body fat, shoulder impingement can be a limiting factor to attaining your fitness goals.

This painful condition occurs when the shoulder's rotator cuff muscles and tendons become pinched between the head of the humerus and the bony roof of the shoulder. Known as the acromion, this structure can rub against the rotator cuff tear, causing inflammation, pain, and decreased range of motion.

With shoulder impingement, performing simple everyday activities like reaching up to get something from a cupboard or combing your hair can be pretty painful.

Fortunately, you don't have to let shoulder impingement affect your daily activities.

With proper exercises and modifications to your routine, you can exercise your way to an injury-free and painless shoulder.

But what specific exercises can help with shoulder impingement? Are there any activities you should avoid for speedy recovery?

These are questions we'll be answering in this article.

From specific exercises that help manage shoulder impingement pain to tips for optimal recovery, you'll find them all here.

Let's dive right in.

How Exercising Can Help with Shoulder Impingement

Do you ever wonder if exercising with shoulder impingement can help rather than make matters worse?

The answer is yes.

Exercising the right way can help reduce inflammation and provide relief from pain. Many physical therapists recommend exercise as a treatment for shoulder impingement because it strengthens muscles around our shoulders to help us move with a greater range of motion.

When done correctly, exercising can be an effective and safe way to manage shoulder impingement syndrome. You get to reduce pain, improve mobility, and increase strength all at the same entire time.

By strengthening the rotator cuff tendons, you help stabilize and support your shoulder joint, decreasing the chances of any further shoulder injuries or irritation.

To help you get started, we've compiled a list of exercises to help people with shoulder impingement.

Find out more in the next section.

Treating Shoulder Impingement with Exercising Activities

From scapula squeezes to chest stretches, various exercises can help reduce shoulder impingement pain and improve shoulder mobility.

Here's how they can help:

Internal rotation

One of the most recommended exercises for people with shoulder impingement is internal rotation.

It helps reduce impingement by strengthening and stretching the muscles around your shoulder joint. Simple ways to perform this exercise include using a resistance band or a cable machine.

To get started, stand with your back against a wall. Holding the cable or resistance band in one hand, rotate the arm inward towards your body. Make sure to keep your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle.

Once you reach the point of discomfort, hold the pose for 2-3 seconds before releasing. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions twice a day.

Scapula squeeze

Another exercise you can do to help with shoulder impingement is the scapula squeeze.

This exercise helps strengthen the muscles around your shoulder blades, providing stability and support to your shoulders. It also helps improve posture while reducing pain and discomfort.

Stand with your back against a wall and squeeze your shoulder blades together to do the scapula squeeze. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds before releasing. Repeat this set 10 times a couple of times throughout the day.

Chest stretch

Dealing with shoulder impingement can also make your chest muscles tight and sore.

When your chest muscles are tight, it can cause a decrease in your shoulder range of motion.

That's where a chest stretch exercise comes in. This relatively easy exercise helps stretch your chest muscles, relieving tension and tightness that might be causing pain.

Stand with your arms outstretched and clasp your hands together to perform a chest stretch. Then, pull your hands away from your body until you feel a gentle stretch in your chest muscles.

Hold for 30 seconds before releasing.

Scapula push and pull

Scapular exercises

Do you ever feel like your shoulder blades are stuck in a particular position?

If so, scapula push and pull exercises can help relieve the tension and improve mobility. This exercise helps target the muscles and tendons around your shoulder blades, providing a much-needed stretch.

Grab a light dumbbell or a resistance band to perform a scapula push and pull exercise. With one hand on the weight, the other on your shoulder blade, pull your shoulder blade away from your body and then back towards it.

You can also make a side-to-side motion with your shoulder blade.

Back shoulder stretch

Our shoulders are designed to move in multiple directions, so ensuring every angle is stretched correctly is essential.

The back shoulder stretch is an effective way to help strengthen the muscles at the back of your shoulders. It also helps reduce shoulder impingement by improving flexibility and range of motion.

Getting started with the back shoulder stretch is easy and can be done in any comfortable setting.

All you need to get started is a good attitude, some light weights or resistance bands, and commitment to your shoulder health.

Sit or stand with one arm behind your back and grab onto your wrist with the other hand. Gently pull the arm until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your shoulders.

Hold for 30 seconds before switching sides. You can also do this exercise in a seated or standing position.

Floor cobra raises

Ready to get down on the floor?

Floor cobra raises are a great way to alleviate pain from shoulder impingement for improved shoulder mobility.

This exercise helps strengthen your rotator cuff and shoulder muscles, which helps reduce your risk of injury. To do this exercise, lie on your stomach, elbows bent, and palms flat on the ground.

Your head should be lifted off the floor, looking straight ahead like a cobra. From there, squeeze your shoulder blades together while pushing down into the ground with your hands.

Hold for 10 seconds before releasing and repeating 10 times.

Wall angels

Are you looking for a simple way to improve your shoulder range of motion?

Wall angels can help you do just that. Fly like an angel with this isometric exercise, which requires standing up straight against a wall.

With your arms outstretched and palms facing forward, move your arms up and down like you're making snow angels against the wall. Keep your arms and back pressed firmly against the wall as you do so.

Hold a few seconds at the top and bottom of your range before repeating 10 times. Regularly performing shoulder impingement exercises can help improve mobility and reduce shoulder pain.

Shoulder impingement can be painful and uncomfortable, but with the right exercises, you can reduce your pain and improve your mobility.

Your best bet for reducing shoulder impingement is to perform chest stretches, scapula push and pulls, back shoulder stretches, floor cobra raises and wall angels regularly. With consistency and dedication to these exercises, you'll soon be on your way to stronger shoulders!

Let's explore some benefits of shoulder impingement exercises.

Benefits of Treating Shoulder Impingement with Exercising

The benefits of treating shoulder impingement with exercise activities are numerous. Some of them include the following:

Improved flexibility and range of motion

One of the primary benefits of exercising with shoulder impingement is that it helps to improve your flexibility and range of motion.

Dealing with shoulder impingement can be a painful experience that limits your ability to move and function normally. With poor flexibility and range of motion, it can be difficult to perform daily activities properly.

By performing one or more of the exercises we've outlined, you can help to improve your flexibility and range of motion. This way, you can return to your active lifestyle without worrying about pain or discomfort.

Strengthened rotator cuff muscles

Another significant benefit of exercising with shoulder impingement is that it can help to strengthen your rotator cuff muscles.

Remember, the rotator cuff muscles?

These muscles are integral in keeping your shoulder socket healthy and functioning correctly.

When they get weak or injured, it can lead to various issues, including pain and instability. Treating your shoulder to a few different exercises can help to strengthen your rotator cuff muscles, providing you with better stability and improved shoulder health.

Reduced pain and discomfort in your shoulders

Shoulder impingement is a condition that can bring about pain and discomfort.

With regular exercising, however, you can help reduce the pain and discomfort you experience. Strengthening your shoulder muscles and improving your flexibility will help to reduce pain and make it easier for you to move around without feeling frozen shoulders or tightness in the joint.

This way, you can return to enjoying life without worrying about shoulder pain.

Improved posture, coordination, and balance

Dealing with shoulder impingement can leave you feeling stiff and weak, making it challenging to move around and perform normal activities.

What's more, it can affect how you stand and move, making it hard to maintain proper posture. Imagine having to hunch over due to shoulder pain.

That'd be no fun!

Luckily, taking part in regular exercise can help to improve your posture for better coordination and balance. It can also help to reduce pain in the shoulder bone joint, allowing you to move more freely and with greater ease.

This way, you can enjoy life without worrying about a painful shoulder.

Reduced risk of injury

Leaving your shoulder impingement without treatment can increase your risk of developing further problems and injuries.

That's why finding ways to reduce the pain and strengthen your shoulder muscles is so important. Exercising is a great way to do both of these things; it helps reduce your risk of injury.

By performing any of the exercises we've outlined, you can help to reduce your risk of developing further issues and complications.

This way, you can return to enjoying everyday activities without any fear of injuring your shoulder.

Incorporating regular exercise into your treatment plan for shoulder impingement can help to bring about a variety of benefits.

Whether you are looking to improve your flexibility, reduce pain or strengthen your rotator cuff muscles, regular exercise can help make these goals a reality. It can also help reduce your risk of developing further issues and injuries.

However, getting to reap these benefits requires more than just exercising. You must also take particular before and after care measures to get the best results from your workouts.

Let's take a look at some of these measures to ensure you stay safe and healthy while exercising with shoulder impingement.

Before and After Care Tips for Exercising with Shoulder Impingement

While performing exercises for shoulder impingement can be beneficial, there are certain before and after care tips to get the most out of your routine.

Here's what you should do for better results:

Before your exercise

Getting your body ready for exercise is essential to any exercise routine. Before you start any workout, make sure to do the following:

Grab a snack

One of the best things you can do before exercise is to have some fuel in your tank.

Eating a small meal or healthy snack before exercising can help fuel your body with energy and nutrients to get the most out of your workout.

Snacks with complex carbohydrates, like whole grain pieces of bread, oatmeal, fruits, and vegetables, are all good options. They will give your body the energy to get through your workout.


Hydrate Shoulder impingement

As with any form of physical activity, staying hydrated is critical to maintaining energy and good health.

Studies have shown dehydration can lead to muscle cramps, fatigue, and dizziness. With exercising known to increase your body temperature, it's essential to make sure you drink plenty of water before and during your workout.

Make sure to drink plenty of fluids before exercising, particularly if you will be exercising in warm weather or for a long time. This way, you can stay safe and healthy while exercising without feeling overly thirsty.

Make sure you're wearing the right clothes and footwear

Another critical step in getting ready for a workout is making sure you've dressed appropriately.

You should wear loose-fitting clothes that won't restrict your movement and provide adequate coverage to keep you warm. Additionally, avoid wearing clothing with zippers or buttons near the shoulder joint, as this can cause discomfort while exercising.

When it comes to shoes, make sure to choose ones that are supportive and comfortable. This way, your feet can stay secure and protected as you exercise.

Carry out a warm-up routine

The importance of a warm-up routine before exercise cannot be overemphasized.

This is especially true when it comes to exercising with shoulder impingement, as doing so can help to reduce your risk of injury.

A good warm-up routine should include dynamic stretches as they can help to increase your flexibility and range of motion in the shoulder joint. Moreover, they can also help reduce the build-up of tension around the joint.

After your exercise

Now that you've finished your workout, it's time to look at what you should do to ensure your body is ready for the next session.

Cool down after your exercises

A cool-down routine is just as important as the warm-up, if not more.

After intense physical activity, it's essential to give your body time to adjust and prepare for the next session.

Cooling down allows your body to gradually slow down and relax after an intense workout. You can cool down after a workout by taking a cold shower or applying an ice pack to your shoulder joint.

This will help to reduce any inflammation and soreness, as well as help your body to recover more quickly.

Refuel with post-workout nutrition

After your exercise session, refueling your body with the right nutrients and calories is essential.

Eating a balanced post-workout meal or snack can help replenish your energy stores and repair muscle tissue broken down during the workout.

A good post-workout meal should include complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Examples of meals or snacks that are perfect for refueling after exercise include:


Just as it's essential to keep hydrated before exercise, it's equally important to rehydrate after your workout.

This is especially true if you've been exercising in hot weather or for an extended period. Drinking water or a sports drink will help to replenish any fluids lost during exercise and reduce the risk of dehydration.

Rehydrating after exercise helps to replenish the fluids lost during physical activity. It ensures that your body is adequately hydrated for the next session.

Use a massage tool

percussion massage gun for shoulder

While taking time to rest and recover from an exercise session is essential, a massage tool can help promote faster recovery time.

Massage tools, such as foam rollers and massage guns, can help to reduce muscle tension and break up any adhesions that may have formed in the shoulder joint. This will help improve your range of motion and reduce any pain or discomfort you may feel.

Moreover, using a massage tool will also help improve your circulation, which can accelerate the healing process.

These are just a few of the tips and tricks you can use when it comes to relieving shoulder impingement pain through exercises.

Remember to carry out a warm-up routine, cool down after your shoulder exercises and refuel with post-workout nutrition. Also, don't forget to rehydrate and use massage tools for faster recovery.

By following these simple tips, you can reduce any risk of acute injuries and ensure you're getting the most out of your workout! Next, we'll dive into when to avoid exercising with shoulder impingement.

When to Avoid Exercising with Shoulder Impingement

While exercise can be a great way to treat shoulder impingement, there are certain times when it is best to avoid using it as a treatment.

Here are some examples:

You feel chest pain

If so, exercising may not be a good idea as it can worsen your pain.

Chest pain can signify more serious conditions such as a heart attack or cardiac issue. What's more, any tightness in the chest should also not be ignored.

This way, you can quickly avoid further injury and get medical help.

An elevated heart rate

Another sign that exercising may not be good is if your heart rate remains elevated after physical activity.

An elevated heart rate usually indicates that your body is under some stress, meaning you should avoid any more strenuous activities. It's essential to take regular breaks between exercises if the symptoms persist.

Still, it is best to stop exercising and rest if you experience chest pain or an elevated heart rate.

Chills and headache

Chills and headaches can also indicate that incorporating exercises into your shoulder impingement treatment may not be a good idea.

Chills and headaches indicate your body is stressed due to physical activity, worsening your shoulder impingement condition. These can be signs of dehydration, exhaustion, and even heat stroke.

If you experience either of these symptoms, it is best to stop exercising and rest until they subside. This way, you can avoid further injury and ensure you're getting the most out of your workout.

Severe muscle burning or blurred vision

If you experience severe muscle burning or blurred vision during exercise, this is a sign that your body may be under too much stress.

This could be caused by excessive exertion, insufficient rest and recovery between workouts, or dehydration.

You should stop exercising immediately if you experience these symptoms and take a break from exercises that may aggravate the shoulder impingement. Giving your body enough rest and recovery is essential to avoid any further injury or strain on the shoulder joint.

Severe pain in the shoulder, which is worse with movement

Are you experiencing pain in the shoulder that gets worse with exercise?

If so, avoiding any exercises that may cause more strain on the joint is best.

While exercise can treat shoulder impingement, experiencing pain during or after exercise is a sign that the body may not be ready for physical activity.

It is best to stop exercising and rest until the pain subsides. This way, you can avoid further injury and ensure you're getting the most out of your workout.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have you got a few questions about exercising with shoulder impingement? You'll find answers here.

We've compiled some of the most frequently asked questions about treating shoulder impingement with exercise so you can decide what's best for you.

How often should I perform exercising routine to treat shoulder impingement?

Exercising for shoulder impingement can be beneficial. However, it's essential to remember that each person's needs differ.

Depending on the severity of your shoulder condition, it is possible to exercise every day or several times a day. However, listening to your body and modifying your routine as needed is always best.

If you experience discomfort during or after physical activity, it is best to stop exercising and rest until the symptoms subside.

Besides treating shoulder impingement with exercising, are there any other treatments available?

Besides treating shoulder impingement with exercise, several treatments are available.

Depending on the severity of your shoulder condition, your doctor may recommend physical therapy, steroid injections, or even surgery in some cases.

Other non-surgical treatments include massage therapy and acupuncture to help address any underlying muscular issues or imbalances. Massage therapy involves applying pressure to your shoulders to help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese practice that involves inserting tiny needles into specific points on the body. This helps to balance out any energy imbalances, which may help reduce inflammation and pain.

You can also use hot and cold therapy to reduce inflammation and swelling in the shoulder joint.

Are there any exercising routines I should avoid for shoulder impingement?

Yes, certain exercises should be avoided if you have shoulder impingement.

Identifying and avoiding the exercises that strain the shoulder joint is crucial. This will help reduce the risk of further injury and ensure you get the most out of your workout.

Exercises to avoid include overhead presses, push-ups, burpees, and any overhead activities.

Yes, certain exercises should be avoided if you have shoulder impingement. Any activity requiring excessive range of motion or strains the shoulder joint should be avoided. This includes shoulder presses, pull-ups, push-ups, and any overhead movement.

It is also essential to avoid activities that cause sudden jerking movements in your complex joints, such as tennis or racquetball.


While exercising with shoulder impingement may seem intimidating, it can be beneficial for treating the condition.

Popular exercises proven to reduce shoulder pain include scapula squeezes, push and pull activities, and others outlined in this post.

Benefits of these exercises include increased range of motion, reduced pain, and improved strength.

However, enjoying these benefits requires following some before and after tips for maximum benefit. This includes wearing the right clothes, grabbing a snack, warming up, and hydrating before your exercise routine.

Just as before your workout, staying hydrated after your exercise is also essential for maximum benefit. Other aftercare tips include refueling with a meal or snack afterward, cooling down to reduce soreness, and even using massage tools like massage guns.

If you are dealing with shoulder impingement but have certain conditions that make exercising difficult, it is essential to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise routine. Other scenarios when you should skip exercising include experiencing headaches, chills, severe muscle burning, or any other signs of distress.

This way, you can safely start an exercise routine that will help you reduce pain and improve your shoulder condition. Any questions? Feel free to contact the Fusion Recovery Team!

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