Shoulder Rehab Exercises for Better Bodyweight Training

Hey guys, this is a guest post and video I did for Logan Christopher’s site Legendary Strength. Logan is an incredible athlete and can perform some seriously impressive feats of strength.  He also happens to be a mentor who helped me get started with this blog years ago.  You can also learn more about Logan’s coaching at

No matter what the style of training that you prefer, I think it’s pretty safe to say that both increased strength and power can significantly improve your efforts. Whether it is strong man training, bodyweight training or good ole fashion body building, a nagging injury or pain can throw a serious wrench in the progress. So why are these common aches or pains so often overlooked or worked around?

I’d venture to say that most athletes simply don’t know what to do about it, and most doctors aren’t invested enough to lay out a solid pre or post rehab program without referring out. Usually it’s not until your arm’s ripped from its socket that there is significant attention paid to the area. It’s more of an afterthought than a priority.

But what if I told you that your potential strength and power is seriously hindered if there is an injury that is constantly overlooked. Think of it this way, the body is always more interested in self-preservation than any thing else. So if you’re nervous system sees a dysfunction at a joint, it will actually “turn down” the amount of power going through that joint, as an effort to protect it, even if your ego thinks otherwise. So if you have some sort of pain in your shoulder, you’ll never really reach your full potential when attempting to bench press that compact car.

From my experience, unless you actually have an “impact’ related injury like a car accident or a bone crushing tackle, the majority of injuries that I see are simply imbalance issues that are made worse by repeatedly pushing resistance through an unstable joint. Without correcting the imbalance.

Just by spending a fourth of the time you would be spending on your normal resistance training, you can make an enormous difference. I’ve seen chronic pains totally disappear in less than six weeks or last a life time when ignored. Your choice.

This video is a sample of a shoulder health program that is geared towards an A/C joint impingement or front shoulder pain (which happens to be one of the most common cases I see with my clients).

All of the exercises, stretches and activations in the video with exception of one, use only body weight as resistance. (An 8-12 lb Kettlebell, Dumbbell or jug can be used for the pendulum swing).


A couple of tips to add the video suggestions into your program:

  1. Start doing a 2:1 ratio of Pull exercises to Push exercises. A lot of times impingement issues are caused by an overdevelopment of anterior muscles and underdevelopment of posterior muscles.
  2. Stand up straight! Forward shoulder roll not only makes you look like an ape, but also closes down the A/C joint as well shortens the internal rotators at the shoulder joint.
  3. Start performing this shoulder health program as a warm up before any Pushing or Pressing workout.


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13 Responses to “Shoulder Rehab Exercises for Better Bodyweight Training”

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  1. Ann says:

    Hi Mike,

    I just found your site and wanted to tell you that your videos are great! Very professionally done and informative. I really like your exercise philosophy as well and the creativity of your exercises. I am a P.T. and I work in an outpatient orthopedic setting, and I now have some new ideas for home exercises for all of my patients who complain that they have no equipment at home! Keep it up!

    All the best,
    Ann (Airey) Wendel, P.T., A.T.C.

    • Mike says:

      So glad you found us! We will be posting a new video each with with some creative bodyweight training progressions, so keep checking back in. I’d love to hear any feedback you have as a therapist.

  2. Matt says:

    Hey Mike, I’ve found your shoulder rehab routine very helpful and effective. Do you have any suggestions for creative strength exercises for the shoulders? I ultimately would like to master the handstand push-up but was wondering if you had any other varying shoulder exercises that I could apply to workouts. Maybe you could even do an article about something like this in the future?

    • Mike says:

      Hey Matt! I would be glad to post some shoulder strength exercises. We’ve got a lot of new videos and posts coming up, but i’ll make sure we fit that in soon. Thanks!

  3. Dean priore says:

    Are there excersises I should stay away from when recovering from an a/c joint injury?

    • Mike Fitch says:

      Hey Dean, that’s a bit of a complex question. So much depends on what point you are in your rehabilitation. I can tell you though that in the early stages, it’s important to work more on pulling movements that develop your posterior shoulder girdle like Rear delts, external rotators, rhomboids and low traps. In the beginning try staying away from pushing and pressing (Chest press, overhead pressing) movements that will add stress to the A/C joint. An easy rule of thumb is, if it hurts, don’t do it.

  4. Ted says:

    Hey Mike. I took your animal flow workshop when you came to New Jersey. I was working at Proactive sports therapy and I am animal flow certified. I made the transition to body weight training due to the contentious injuries I face with weight training. I love this website and I find this section very helpful. It was a pleasure meeting you and keep up the good work

    • Mike Fitch says:

      Awesome Ted! That’s great to hear. Keep me updated on your progress and we’ll keep getting videos out.

  5. Lisa Lee Ananias says:

    Thanks! I have an old, nagging AC separation injury that I have been worried about. After over 5 years of being stressed out and sidelined I am just discovering my fitness once again, courtesy of my neighborhood park & some determination! But at close to 40, I have been nervous about “really” hurting myself again. These are some great tips I’m going to work with until I can get an appointment with my doc!

    • Mike Fitch says:

      Hey Lisa, let me know how you’re progressing with your rehabilitation and thanks for the comment!

  6. Ashley says:

    This is one of the best exercise videos I’ve seen. I’m excited to try these exercises! Thanks for the video tutorial.

  7. Jon says:

    Awesome rehab/prehab routine! You explain/show it very clearly and it looks easy to follow. Thanks so much! I’ll definitely try this out.


  1. […] this exercise, and if you experience pain, stop the movement. You can check out our article Shoulder Rehab Exercises for Better Bodyweight Training in order to strengthen the shoulder stabilizers and surrounding musculature if you find that this a […]

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