10 Effective Exercises For Bursitis And Shoulder Rehabilitation June 23, 2017

The shoulder joint has the greatest range of motion in the human body. This is not surprising since our hands are busy, even if we are not standing. Whether we are sitting or reclining, our shoulders keep our bodies balanced. Furthermore, lifting any weight always puts a direct strain on our shoulders. Being the most used joint also means that the shoulders are prone to several problems. Some of them may arise due to direct injury from accidents or sports, while others are caused by posture problems or overuse. The most common of the latter are bursitis, tendinitis, muscle strain, frozen shoulder and inflammation of the rotator cuff.

Exercises for Bursitis and Shoulder Rehabilitation:

The shoulder joint has three main bones – humerus (upper arm bone), clavicle (collar bone) and scapula (shoulder blade). These bones are accompanied by muscles, ligaments and tendons, which give the shoulder its superior mobility. Since these bones are placed close to each other, they have a tendency to rub against each other, which causes further injury. This situation is prevented by small sacs of fluid called bursa, which provides a cushioning and lubricating effect. Bursitis, which is the result of repeated pressure on the bursa, causes pain and swelling in the shoulder area. Severe bursitis needs medical evaluation and treatment, but mild bursitis can be treated at home with ice packs or by doing stretching and strengthening exercises, focusing on shoulder rehabilitation. Here are some easy bursitis shoulder exercises to maintain good mobility and strong shoulders.

Note: Be gentle with the exercises and avoid sudden movements.

10 Effective Shoulder Bursitis Exercises:

Given below are some of the shoulder bursitis treatment exercises.

1. Floor Slide:

Shoulder Bursitis Exercises - Floor Slide Pinit

Image: Shutterstock

  1. Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor and arms stretched out on either side.
  2.  Bend elbows to 90 degrees, so that fingers are pointing up.
  3. Keeping your shoulder blades pressed to the ground; slowly slide your arms over the head till they are completely extended. Then bring them down slowly and repeat 12 times, keeping shoulder blades pressed to the ground throughout.

[ Read: Exercises for Flabby Arms ]

2. Crossover Arm Stretch:

Shoulder Bursitis Exercises - Crossover Arm Stretch Pinit

Image: Shutterstock

  1. Stand straight with arms by your side, shoulders relaxed.
  2. Pull one arm across the chest as far as possible, feeling the stretch in the back of the shoulders. Be sure not to pull or put any pressure on the elbow.
  3. Hold for 30 seconds and release. Repeat it with the other arm.

3. Shoulder Flexion:

Shoulder Bursitis Exercises - Shoulder Flexion Pinit

Image: Shutterstock

  1. Lie on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Hold an exercise ball in your hands and raise your arms straight up so that they are perpendicular to the floor.
  3. Keeping your shoulders in contact with the floor throughout, move your arms overhead till they reach the floor, holding the ball. 4. Return to start and do 10-12 reps. Keep shoulders pressed to the ground all the time.

4. Hand Walk:

Shoulder Bursitis Exercises - Hand Walk Pinit


  1. From a standing position, bend over from the waist and get into a push up position, supporting your body on your palms, and toes and back straight.
  2. Walk with toes towards hands, keeping knees straight.
  3. When you start feeling a stretch, walk hands back out. Repeat 8-10 times. Keep stomach tight and knees straight throughout.

5. Shoulder Shrug:

Shoulder Bursitis Exercises - Shoulder Shrug Pinit


  1. Stand with feet slightly apart and knees slightly bent, arms by your side, holding light weights. Keep your shoulders down.
  2. Shrug your shoulders up to as far as you can go, and then release. Do 10-12 reps.
  3. Remember not to roll your shoulders and limit movement to an up-down motion.

6. Military Press:

Shoulder Bursitis Exercises - Military Press Pinit


  1. Stand straight, feet hip width apart and arms grasping dumbbells.
  2. Raise forearms up, elbows bent, palms facing forward and dumbbells near your shoulders.
  3. Raise the dumbbells straight up, extending arms fully, without locking elbows. Keep back straight throughout.
  4. Lower arms to bent position and repeat 8-10 times.

[ Read: Exercises To Keep Your Arms In Shape ]

7. Deltoid Raise:

Shoulder Bursitis Exercises - Deltoid Raise Pinit


  1. Stand straight with feet slightly apart, arms grasping dumbbells and hanging down the front of your body.
  2. Raise your arms out the sides till they are parallel to the floor, palms facing down. Do not move your wrists and keep your elbows in slightly bend position.
  3. Lower your arms and do 8-10 reps.

8. Upright Row:

Shoulder Bursitis Exercises - Upright Row Pinit


  1. Stand straight with knees slightly bent and a dumbbell in each hand, palms down in front of your thighs.
  2. Raise both elbows till arms are parallel to the floor, without twisting your wrists.
  3. Lower your arms to starting position and do 8-10 reps. Keep your back straight throughout and restrict the motion to your arms and shoulders.

9. Prone Reverse Fly on Swiss Ball:

Shoulder Bursitis Exercises - Prone Reverse Fly on Swiss Ball Pinit


  1. Lie with your chest on a Swiss ball, using your toes to keep your body stable and legs as straight as you can manage.
  2. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand and let your arms hang down in front.
  3. Pinch your shoulder blades together and feel the tension as you raise your arms up by the sides in a wide arc. Keep a slight bend in your elbows.
  4. Hold for a couple of seconds and slowly lower your arms. Repeat before your hands hit the floor. Do 8-10 reps.

[ Read: Benefits of the Isometric Exercises ]

10. Diagonal Back Stretch:

Shoulder Bursitis Exercises - Diagonal Back Stretch Pinit


  1. Kneel on the floor with your buttocks resting firmly on your heels. Rest your arms by your sides. Keep your back and neck straight and erect.
  2. Stretch your arms out to shoulder height and palms facing up. Bring your right arm up to the sky and bend the right elbow so that the right palm touches the upper back under the neck.
  3. Bend the left elbow, and move the left hand to the middle of your back and palm facing out.
  4. Stretch both arms towards the centre of your back and try to hook your fingers together. If this is too hard, hold a strap in your right hand and let your left hand grasp on to it.
  5. Try not to arch your back as you stretch your arms and shoulders. As you keep doing this exercise and your shoulders get stronger, you will be able to do away with the strap. It is extremely important to follow correct posture and form for all the exercises to prevent any injury. These exercises for shoulder bursitis are listed in increasing order of difficulty, so it would be a good idea to start with the first couple of exercises and then gradually build up, as you get stronger. It is also important to note the position of the elbow in all the cases. Regular workout of the shoulder joints will keep them in perfect condition and capable of action all the time!

Have you ever suffered from Bursitis? How did you recover from it? Do shareyour ideas on shoulder bursitis exercises with us in the comments section.

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