Your shoulder provides a stable base of support for your elbow, forearm, wrist, and fingers to work from. If you have decreased strength in your shoulders, it is important to do weight bearing activities such as crawling, side-sitting, lying on your stomach, and wheelbarrow walking. 

These activities can help develop your shoulder strength: 

  • Bouncing a ball 
  • Pretend to write letters in the air to get your arms moving 
  • Jump-roping forward and backward 
  • Drawing or coloring while lying on your stomach 
  • Doing jumping jacks 
  • Swimming or playing volleyball 
  • Shooting baskets 
  • Catching a beach ball over your head with weights on your wrists 
  • Climbing on playground equipment 
  • Punching a bag or suspended ball 
  • Pouring water or sand from a pitcher 
  • Doing shoulder loops forward and backward 
  • Doing overhead dowel exercises with weights on your wrists 
  • Using a rolling pin to roll out clay 
  • Placing foam blocks on a mirror to encourage reaching and shoulder movements 
  • Pushing heavy equipment or objects like a stroller or grocery cart 
  • Doing wall push-ups 
  • Playing tug-of-war 
  • Doing crab walks, crawls and wheelbarrow walks 
  • Washing the car or windows 
  • Making angels in the snow 

Ask your therapist if you have any questions about the activities listed above.

Ideas adapted from Mary Benbow’s hand skills. 

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care providers. If you have any questions, talk with your doctor or others on your health care team.