Staying In Shape During Separated Shoulder Rehab Therapy – What Exercises Can I Do?


Separated shoulder rehab therapy can be quite frustrating for active individuals, particularly if it prevents them from doing their normal exercise routines – such as swimming, playing sports, or lifting weights.

But it’s important to give yourself plenty of rest during separated shoulder rehab therapy. If you begin to use your shoulder muscles too soon, you risk re-injuring yourself – meaning you may have to go through another 4, 8, or even 12 weeks of physical therapy.

But if you love to exercise, chances are that you’re not going to be willing to just sit around while your shoulder heals. So we’ve put together some tips on exercising with a separated shoulder, and some great activities you can do to stay in shape. Let’s begin.

Our Tips For Exercising With A Separated Shoulder

When you have a separated shoulder, there are a few things you should keep in mind while exercising.

  • Avoid shoulder movement – Your shoulder should be kept isolated and in a neutral position, and not used for any kind of active, load-bearing activity. Your physical therapist may even recommend a sling or another type of immobilization device.
  • Take it slow to avoid re-injury – You are not actively trying to improve your fitness while recovering from your injury. You’re just trying to maintain it. Keep this in mind, and don’t exercise too hard.If you work too hard, you could become fatigued and have a higher risk of falling down or slipping, which could result in even more damage to your shoulder.
  • Listen to your physical therapist above everyone else – Did your physical therapist tell you not to exercise at all – or to avoid one of your favorite activities? If so, forget everything we just told you in this article. Their word is gospel. Always do what your therapist says – or else your recovery may take much longer, or you could become injured again.

The Best Exercises For People Recovering From A Separated Shoulder

With those tips for exercise out of the way, what are some great, low-impact exercises that can be done by people undergoing separated shoulder rehab therapy? Here are our top choices.

  1. Stationary Bicycles – Stationary bikes are great for people with separated shoulders, particularly if you can find a recumbent stationary bike that does not require you to support your upper body with your arms. Your legs will do all of the work, and you can get a fantastic cardiovascular workout without endangering the health of your shoulder.


  1. Walking And Hiking – Even just walking a few miles a day can help you maintain your physical fitness while undergoing separated shoulder rehab therapy, and prevent atrophy of your muscles.Light hiking is also okay, for the most part. However, you will need to take extra precautions to ensure you do not trip, slip, or fall. Using a walking stick with your good arm may be a good idea, to help you stay more stable.
  2. Ellipticals – Most ellipticals can be used hands-free, or you can use your health shoulder to support yourself and grab onto the machine, providing more stability. This exercise has no impact on your joints or shoulder, so it’s a good alternative for runners.
  1. Stair-Steppers – If you are confident that you can remain stable on the machine, a stair-stepper is a great way to get a fantastic cardio workout with an injured shoulder.

While you may not be able to run, ride a bicycle, swim, or do other common fitness activities while recovering from your shoulder injury, that doesn’t mean you have to be a “couch potato”! These exercises are all great choices while you’re recovering from separated shoulder rehab therapy.

Follow This Guide – Stay In Shape While Recovering!

By following our tips and trying out these safe, rehab-approved exercises, you can stay in shape while recovering – and you’ll be back to your normal athletic activities in no time at all.