14 Frozen Shoulder Exercises To Do At Home | Kickstart Your Recovery

Written by on May 6, 2022 — Medically reviewed by Mich Torres (PT)

Doing specific frozen shoulder exercises at home is a great way to jumpstart your recovery. But to maximize their benefits, there are certain things you have to remember.

Frozen shoulder -or adhesive capsulitis- usually takes a long time to recover from. (1) Improvement may not happen overnight, but it will pan out as long as you stay consistent.

Also, you might feel some discomfort after doing certain exercises. Use this as a learning tool to know your shoulder’s capability at the moment. With that said, tap on each link below easily navigate through the content:

4 Range of motion exercises for frozen shoulder

For these exercises, you’ll move your shoulder joint only through its available pain-free range. Don’t push through the pain, you risk increasing the symptoms instead of easing them.

Do these exercises a few times per day to help maintain your current joint and muscle mobility, regardless of which stage of frozen shoulder you’re in. (2)

PS: If you already overcame frozen shoulder and want to prevent it, try these exercises instead.

1) Shoulder rolls

  • Start either sitting or standing with your arms relaxed by your side.
  • Slowly, shrug both your shoulders up as high as you can towards your ear.
  • Then, pull them back by slowly squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  • Finally, relax your shoulders as you go back to starting position.
  • Repeat 10 times.

2) Finger walk

  • Stand facing a wall, about a foot away.
  • Use the tip of your fingers to touch the wall at your hip level, keeping your elbows bent.
  • Slowly “walk” your way up the wall until pain permits.
  • Steadily “walk” your way down and back to starting position.
  • Repeat 10 times.

3) Arm circles

  • Sit on a chair or at the edge of your bed with your back straight.
  • Place the hand of the affected arm on that same shoulder.
  • Slowly, draw circles with your elbow in a clockwise manner.
  • Go as wide as your pain allows you to.
  • Repeat 10 times.
  • Then, go in a counterclockwise direction and repeat 10 times.

4) Tabletop slides

  • Sit on a chair with a table in front of you.
  • Place a small towel on the table and place the hand of your affected side on it.
  • Use the towel to slide across the table, as far as you can until you reach the point of pain.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.
  • Repeat 10 times.

4 Stretching exercises for your frozen shoulder

Stretching is important to regain some of your shoulder’s range of motion. This can be done by improving the flexibility of either your affected joint capsule or the muscles that surround it.

Admittedly, stretching tight soft tissues can be a painful experience. Please refer to the “Hacks to prepare your shoulder” section in the article to make stretching more tolerable.

5) Pectoralis stretch

  • Stand in the middle of a doorway, one foot in front of the other.
  • Place your forearms against the wall.
  • Raise each arm to your side, to about a 90-degree angle to your torso.
  • Step forward. You should feel a stretching sensation on your chest, near your collarbones.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Then, slide your forearms up to form a “V” position with your arms.
  • This time, the stretching sensation should be near your breastbone.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.
  • Repeat the whole sequence 3 times.

6) Crossbody arm stretch

  • Start in either a sitting or standing position.
  • Place your sore arm across your body.
  • Use the forearm of your unaffected arm and hook it over the elbow of your sore arm.
  • Pull the injured arm across your body.
  • You should feel the stretch at the back of your sore arm
  • Hold this for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

7) Weighted pendulum stretch

  • Stand at the back of a chair and place your unaffected arm over it as support.
  • With your feet hip-width apart, bend at your hips and keep your back straight.
  • Grasp onto a light object with your affected hand – like a 5lb dumbbell, a filled large bottle of water, or a wrist weight for example.
  • Shift your weight in a clockwise manner and use your body’s momentum to let your arms swing freely.
  • Repeat 10 times.
  • Then shift your body the opposite way, in a counterclockwise direction.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Do your best to keep the shoulder muscles of your affected arm relaxed. This is important to stretch and relax the capsule!

8) Sleeper stretch

  • Lay on the side of your affected shoulder.
  • Place your involved arm in front of you.
  • Bend your elbow at a 90-degree angle with your fingers pointing to the ceiling.
  • Use your good arm to push down on the forearm of your other arm.
  • Go as far as you can go or until pain permits.
  • You should be feeling the stretch at the back of your affected shoulder.
  • Hold this for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

4 Frozen shoulder strengthening exercises

Even with shoulder pain and tightness, strengthening exercises can be key for encouraging pain relief on your frozen shoulder.

This is because they minimize the loss of muscle size from disuse, making your recovery easier. Also, strengthening can reduce pain and muscle spasms by promoting relaxation and boosting circulation. (2)

9) External rotation holds

  • Stand next to a wall, with your affected shoulder facing it.
  • Bend that elbow at a 90-degree angle.
  • Place a rolled towel between the wall and the back of your hand.
  • Now, push your fist outwards, towards the wall.
  • You should feel the effort on your shoulder.
  • Hold this for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat 10 times.

If this causes shoulder pain, you’re likely pushing too much. Push just enough where you can feel your shoulder muscles stiffening.

10) Internal rotation holds

  • Stand in a doorway with the same position as above.
  • Place the palm-side of your fist towards the wall, with the rolled towel between them.
  • Next, place the rolled towel between the palm-side of your fist and the wall
  • Push your fist inwards, towards the wall.
  • You should feel the effort around your pectoral area.
  • Hold this for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat 10 times.

11) Banded shoulder blade pull

  • Sit with both knees straight in front of you.
  • Loop the middle part of the resistance band under your foot.
  • Hold onto both ends of the band with each hand.
  • Slowly, pull the resistance band towards you by bending your elbows and squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  • Once the band is near your torso, slowly return to starting position.
  • Repeat 10 times.

12) Wall push up

  • Stand with both palms touching the wall at chest level and elbows straight.
  • Slowly bend your elbows and pull your shoulder blades back.
  • Keep your back upright as you lean towards the wall.
  • Lean in as close to your chest as possible while keeping good form.
  • Slowly push back with your arms to the starting position.
  • Repeat 10 times.

2 Wand exercises for a frozen shoulder

A wand, in the form of a cane or broomstick, can be used to assist you when doing either range of motion or stretching exercises.

Here are some common ways to use it:

13) Shoulder flexion with wand

  • Start in a standing position.
  • Hold both ends of the wand, preferably with your palms facing toward you.
  • While keeping both your elbows straight, slowly lift the wand over your head or until pain permits.
  • Slowly bring it back down to starting position.
  • Repeat 10 times.

14) Gear shift exercise

  • Sit on a chair or edge of your bed.
  • One end of the wand will be firmly on the floor, while you hold the other one.
  • Moving your end of the wand in a clockwise direction, as wide as you can go.
  • Do this 10 times.
  • Follow this up by moving in the opposite direction, in a counterclockwise manner. Do this 10 times.

This will help: 10 wand exercises for shoulder problems.

3 hacks to prepare your shoulder before any exercise

Use these tips to get the most out of your exercises:

1) Take pain medications

Pain medications like NSAIDs may help you do more or go farther without being held back by your shoulder pain. (3)

However, it might take some time before you feel the effect. You might want to consider taking one an hour or two prior to your exercises.

2) Do heat therapy

Heat therapy effectively reduces pain, enhances blood flow, and promotes flexibility in your soft tissues. (4) Research even suggests that it may lead to more shoulder motion gains when combined with stretching. (5)

Do it half an hour before your exercises for better results. Or pair it with other home treatments for frozen shoulder.

3) Walk for a few minutes

Walking can be a convenient way to warm up. For a frozen shoulder, the natural swinging motion of your arms might help in loosening up your shoulder joint.

It also helps stimulate the release of your happy hormones – endorphins. (6) These chemicals not only improve your mood, but they can also help you manage pain as well.


What is the fastest way to heal a frozen shoulder?

A corticosteroid injection can quickly ease pain and stiffness during the early stages of our frozen shoulder. (7)

Can frozen shoulder be cured by exercise?

Yes, but patience is a must! You may need to do exercises regularly for possibly weeks or months to see its effects.

What should you not do with a frozen shoulder?

Avoid swinging your arm carelessly or carrying heavy objects – these activities can make the pain worse.

Conclusion: Frozen shoulder treatment at home

Doing home exercises is extremely beneficial to recovering from frozen shoulder. Plus, you don’t need a ton of equipment, it’s cost-effective, and can be done anytime.

However, it’s not a quick-fix solution to cure frozen shoulder. It can take a while before you see results. If you want to recover quicker, seek professional medical advice from your doctor or physical therapist.

Learn more: Best 10 treatments for frozen shoulder.


  1. Mezian K, Coffey R, Chang KV. Frozen Shoulder. [Updated 2021 Sep 1]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482162/
  2. Kisner, Carolyn, et al. Therapeutic Exercises: Foundations and Techniques Seventh Edition. Seventh Edition. F.A. Davis Company, 2017. https://books.google.com.ph/books?id=pN3KswEACAAJ&source=gbs_book_other_versions
  3. Ghlichloo I, Gerriets V. Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) [Updated 2021 May 12]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547742/
  4. Malanga, Gerard A et al. “Mechanisms and efficacy of heat and cold therapies for musculoskeletal injury.” Postgraduate medicine vol. 127,1 (2015): 57-65. DOI: 10.1080/00325481.2015.992719
  5. Nakano, Jiro et al. “The effect of heat applied with stretch to increase range of motion: a systematic review.” Physical therapy in sport: official journal of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Sports Medicine vol. 13,3 (2012): 180-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2011.11.003
  6. Craft, Lynette L., and Frank M. Perna. “The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed.” Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry vol. 6,3 (2004): 104-111. doi: 10.4088/pcc.v06n0301
  7. Koh, Kim Hwee. “Corticosteroid injection for adhesive capsulitis in primary care: a systematic review of randomised clinical trials.” Singapore medical journal vol. 57,12 (2016): 646-657. doi: 10.11622/smedj.2016146

2 thoughts on “14 Frozen Shoulder Exercises To Do At Home | Kickstart Your Recovery”

  1. Shoulder exercises for swimmers can be done with or without weights, and they can be performed in the water or on land. Swimmers who perform these exercises regularly often find that their shoulder pain decreases and their range of motion increases.

  2. A good massage can help to improve your circulation, range of motion, and flexibility, as well as reduce muscle tension and pain. It can also be a great way to relax after a tough workout. There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re looking for a post-workout massage.


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