Last Updated: August 8th, 2022

The shoulder press is one of the most effective and popular exercises to strengthen your shoulders. It improves the strength and size of your shoulders and works on your triceps, and trapezius muscles. If you are performing these exercises while standing, you will be strengthening your core while also stabilizing your spinal area.

However, before performing this exercise, you should have good mobility in your shoulder. Many of us suffer from bad shoulder mobility due to bad posture, lifestyle, or due to age.

Then how to do shoulder press with bad shoulder mobility?

In this article we are going to discuss just that…so read on…

How To Do Shoulder Press With Bad Shoulder Mobility

How to do shoulder press with bad shoulder mobility?

To do shoulder press with bad shoulder mobility, you will have to improve the mobility of the rotator cuff muscles. For this one of the primary exercises, you can do is to do stick rotation. This improves any stiffness of these muscles and improves the overall mobility of your shoulders.

The mobility of your shoulder is dependent on your rotator cuff muscles. These muscles are made up of four separate muscles called:

  • Supraspinatus
  • Subscapularis
  • Infraspinatus
  • Teres minor
Rotator cuff muscles (Image curtsy: Sports-health)

Subscapularis – This is a large triangular-shaped muscle located at the front of the shoulder. It helps rotate the head of the humerus towards the body.

Supraspinatus – This muscle is located at the top of the shoulder and also runs along the back. It is responsible for helping to raise the arm away from the side. This is the smallest of the 4 rotator cuff muscles.

Infraspinatus – This is a thick triangular-shaped muscle located on the back of the shoulder blade. It is mainly needed for providing force for moving the shoulder away from the shoulder.

Teres Minor – It is present below the infraspinatus and at the back of the shoulder. It helps in movements of the shoulder towards the midline of the body and also movements behind the body.

Warm-up exercises for shoulders

Before you even start to do shoulder workouts, you will have to warm up your shoulder muscles first. Perform these exercises to warm up your shoulders properly:

Shoulder rotation with a stick

This exercise removes any stiffness of the rotator cuff muscles and improves the range of motion of the shoulders. It works on all the 4 muscles of the rotator cuff muscles together.

Equipment – A stick or a pipe with a 1-inch diameter and around 5-6 feet long.

Shoulder Rotation


  • Stand holding the stick in front of you, parallel to the ground with your hands around 4 feet apart.
  • Your feet should be hip-width apart with your back straight.
  • Now rotate the stick with both hands and take it to the back as much as possible.
  • If the distance of the hand feels narrow and you cannot take your hands’ full-back, then increase the gap of the hand. This will help you to complete the full range of motion.
  • Once you can do this movement easily try to perform the same with reduced hand distance.

Elbow Rotation

This helps rotate the shoulder blade inwards and create better motion for your shoulder.

Equipment – A stick or a pipe having a 1-inch diameter and 5-6 feet of length.

Elbow Rotation


  • Hold the stick outside your upper arm just above your elbow.
  • Now pull the stick with your left hand towards your left while holding the other side of the stick firmly with your right hand.
  • Your elbow should twist inside.
  • Twist your elbow as much as possible.
  • Do this 20 times 3 sets, for each elbow.

Raises Arm Twists

It works on the Infraspinatus and Teres Minor improving their overall strength and mobility.

Equipment: Not applicable.

Raises Arm Twists


  • Stand with your legs hip-width apart.
  • Raise your hands to your shoulder level.
  • Now while keeping the hands straight, twist your arms backward so that the palms face back.
  • Now twist your arms forward so that your palms face front.
  • Do this 20 times, 3 sets.

Shoulder Internal/External Rotation

This exercise helps in balancing out the rotator cuff muscles for shoulder stability. Also, it helps to avoid shoulder injury and improves workout performance.

Equipment – Not Applicable

Shoulder Internal/External Rotation


  • Stand with your legs hip-width apart.
  • Raise your arms to your shoulder level.
  • Bend your arms at the elbows so that your palms are facing forward.
  • Now make a fist out of your palms.
  • Now rotate the arms in such a way that your fists point downwards maintaining the bend in the elbows.
  • Now again rotate your arms upwards in such a way that the fists point upwards to the ceiling maintaining the bend in the elbows.
  • Do this 20 times for 3 sets.

If you still want to perform shoulder press with your bad shoulder mobility, you can do that…However, you will have to use a multi-machine to perform this exercise.

Shoulder press using a multi-machine

Before performing a shoulder press, you should always focus on improving your shoulder mobility. Even if you have good shoulder mobility, you should always warm them up first by doing the above routine.

With the above routine, the mobility of your shoulder should improve in a couple of weeks. If that is too much of a wait for you, then you can use a multi-machine to perform a shoulder press, provided you are performing the warm-up exercises prior to that.

The benefit of using a multi-machine is that your form for a shoulder press with be proper and you will have fewer chances of injury.



  • Adjust the weight of the multi-machine according to your strength.
  • Sit on the seat and make your back straight against the back support.
  • Hold the handles as you would do for a shoulder press.
  • Pull down the handles to your shoulder height.
  • Hold for a couple of seconds.
  • Return to the handles to the starting position.
  • Do this 15-20 times for 3 sets.
  • As you get stronger, increase the weight. Also, shift to a non-assist shoulder press when you have sufficient shoulder mobility.

How to do a shoulder press with a shoulder injury?

If you have a shoulder injury, you should first allow the injury to heal. Doing shoulder press without getting healed properly will only increase the injury and may make the damage permanent. Once, you have healed, work on your shoulder stability and mobility to do a shoulder press.

Improving shoulder stability after injury

To improve shoulder stability after injury or in general, there are a couple of exercises that you can do. These exercises are very effective and you will be able to see the results in a couple of weeks.

Here is the routine that you can follow:

Shoulder touch

  • Start with your body in a high plank position with your wrists aligned with your shoulder.
  • Spread your legs a bit so that your torso doesn’t move or the movement is minimal.
  • Now touch your left shoulder with your right palm and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat with your left hand.
  • Do this 20 times with each hand, 3 sets.
  • When raising your hand to your shoulder, make the movement slow and don’t use momentum.
  • When doing the hand movement, keep your torso movement as minimal as possible.

Wall ball rolling

This exercise will improve the strength of your shoulders and will improve their stability. This can be used by people of any age and even older people.

Equipment – A small medicine ball.

Wall ball rolling


  • Stand 2-3 feet away from the wall facing it.
  • Hold the ball against the wall at your shoulder height with your hand stretched out.
  • Make small circles with the ball by rolling it clockwise with your right hand stretched.
  • Again do this motion anticlockwise.
  • Do this 10 times clockwise and anticlockwise and for 3 sets.
  • Repeat with both hands.

Hand Step-up

This improves your shoulder balance and strength. Also, it improves the stability of your shoulders.

Equipment – A stepper or a step of a staircase, an exercise mat.


  • Place a stepper at the top of your mat.
  • Place your palms just behind the stepper and go into a push-up position.
  • Now from here perform the same actions as you would do in a step-up but with your hands.
  • Do this for 20 counts and 3 sets.

Shoulder Push-ups

This helps to improve the strength of your rotator cuff muscles and improves the stability of your shoulders. It is also called Pike push-up.

Equipment – An exercise mat


  • Come into a push-up position.
  • Now come into an inverted V-shape by lifting your hip.
  • Now try to bend your elbows and try to touch the floor with the top of your head.
  • Go back to the inverted V position.
  • Do this 20 times, 3 sets.


Doing shoulder press with bad mobility is possible. However, you have to make some adjustments to adapt it according to your body’s capacity.

Also, not only that, to have an injury-free experience, you will have to focus on improving your shoulder’s mobility and stability. However, with time and a little bit of patience, you will be able to do a shoulder press without any support.

Follow the above routine and you will be amazed to see the results…

How To Shoulder Press With Bad Shoulder Mobility
Saurav Sarkar - CPT 2

Sourav Sarkar (Reviewer, CPT)

Certified fitness trainer and an ex-professional bodybuilder, he has trained more than 500 fitness enthusiasts and has more than 15 years of on-the-job experience.

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