6 Upper Body Exercises To Do At Home

6 upper body exercises

Doing upper body exercises for improved mobility and strength can provide a break from prolonged seated desk work. Try this group of 6 upper body exercises using your arms as your resistance and eventually progress the exercises by using cans of soup as 1 pound weights.

Scapular Retraction with External Rotation 

Stand with back against a wall (progression: holding a theraband or a pair of small weights in your hands) palms facing up. Keep your elbows pulled in at your sides and squeeze your shoulder blades back and together, allowing your arms to rotate out to the side. Repeat 10 times.      

Shoulder Flexion

Raise one arm at a time. 

Begin in a standing position with arms by your side. Slowly bring one arm forward to shoulder height. Hold at the top and then slowly lower arm back to starting position. Repeat 10 times and then switch to the other arm for 10 repetitions.     

Shoulder Abduction  

Raise one arm at a time.

Begin in a standing position with your arms by your side. Slowly bring one arm out to the side with your thumb pointing upward. Bring your arm to shoulder height, pause, then slowly lower back down to starting position. Repeat 10 times and then switch to the other arm for 10 repetitions. 

Prone Ts (middle trap arm raise exercise)

Raise one arm at a time.

Lie on your stomach with a pillow under the chest and stomach and a towel roll under the forehead. Start with arms resting out to the side. Try to pull your shoulder blade towards your spine (without shrugging), and slowly lift your arm out to the side in a “T” position with your thumb up.  Repeat 10 times then switch to the other arm for 10 repetitions.   

Prone Ys (lower trap arm raise exercise)

Raise one arm at a time

Lie on your stomach with a pillow under the chest and stomach and a towel roll under the forehead. Start with arms resting out to the side. Try to pull your shoulder blade towards your spine (without shrugging), and slowly lift your arm out to the side in a “Y” position with your thumb up.  Repeat 10 times then switch to the other arm for 10 repetitions.

As with any exercise, you might experience fatigue or tiredness of the arm(s). This feeling should go away once you have completed your set of 10 repetitions. If you experience pain in the shoulder, stop the exercise and do not continue the exercise until you have consulted a physical therapist.

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