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Shoulder, Upper Back, and Arm Exercise: Overhead Arm Stretch

To start, stand tall with your ears, shoulders, and hips in line. Your feet should be slightly apart, positioned just under your hips. Focus your eyes directly in front of you. Stay in this position for a few seconds before starting the exercise. This helps increase your awareness of proper posture. You can also do this exercise sitting up in a sturdy chair. Before doing this exercise, talk with your healthcare provider to make sure it's safe for you to do.

Woman with both arms raised and slightly to back.

Woman with arms raised overhead, palms up, fingers inward.

Woman with arms to sides, elbows bent, palms up.

Reach overhead and slightly back with both arms. Keep your shoulders and neck aligned and your elbows behind your shoulders:

  • With your palms facing the ceiling, turn your fingers inward. You can also do this exercise holding weights if directed by your healthcare provider or physical therapist.

  • Take a deep breath. Breathe out and lower your elbows toward your buttocks. Hold for up to 5 seconds, then return to starting position.

  • Repeat 3 times, or as directed by your healthcare provider or physical therapist.

Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith RN MSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Turley Jr PA-C
Online Medical Reviewer: Thomas N Joseph MD
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2020
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