You want to have muscle strength and gains! First, you need to be sure you have the basic stability to assure proper form when performing the movements. Engaging in shoulder stability exercises is the foundation for you to improve your range of motion to maximize your movements. We've listed the most efficient ones here for you to master.


You are likely already doing shoulder stability exercises when you focus on your upper body during a workout routine. As you strengthen your shoulders, you want to be informed about what exercises will help you improve your stability for this area. The combination of the shoulder’s continued functioning between mobility and stability makes it a likely candidate for several shoulder issues or injuries. You want to do everything in your power to prevent those issues from happening.


You want shoulder stability exercises because they are the basis for improving your shoulder mobility and strength. Your shoulder is a complex joint made up of three bones: your collarbone (clavicle), your shoulder blade (scapula), and your upper arm (humerus). These bones combine with the associated muscles, tendons, and ligaments, allowing your arm to rotate or hinge from your torso. You want this joint to be mobile enough to do a range of dynamic movements and stable enough to push, pull, and lift heavy objects.


Resistance Band Row

Using a resistance band is one of the easiest shoulder stability exercises for beginners. If you’re newly focused on building up shoulder strength. This is also a helpful movement to do for physical therapy after an injury as you’re retraining your shoulders.

You begin standing a few steps back from the base in which you attach the resistance band. Grab the band with both hands, and with your arm extended straight, you will pull the band, bringing your arms to a 90-degree angle. You will rotate your arm so your hands face upwards, then you should press out of this position extending so that your arms are straight again. Do the reverse movement to get back to the start, bringing your arms down and rotating so your arms are flat and straightened at the finish.

Arm Circles

To begin with these shoulder stability exercises, you can use your own body weight resistance. As you progress with the movement, you can hold a light weight for extra resistance. You want to make sure you aren’t arching your lower back while doing the movement. To assure your back stays straight throughout the exercises, stand straight with your chin pulled back.

Standing with your feet hip-width apart, decide if you want to let your arms hang loosely at your sides or to hold light weights. Lift your arms upward to a horizontal position and rotate them to make small circles with your hands. Hold this horizontal position for the duration of your reps, then slowly lower your arms again. You can do ten to twelve reps per side, alternating between forward circles and backward circles.

Reverse Inchworms

A common movement for stretching, the reverse inchworm is an effective way to develop anti-extension core stability. The standard inchworms will challenge your anterior core and shoulder stability. We suggest you perform the reverse inchworm to increase the effectiveness of the movement as you drive the upward rotation of your scapula.

Bent over with your hands firmly to the ground, round your back and walk your feet back one foot at a time as you exhale deliberately with more force. Actively push through the floor during the entire exercise, protracting the shoulder blades while activating your serratus anterior. Keep your ribs drawn down and maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement. Once your body is extended, then you should walk your hands back one at a time towards the feet.

Pole Prone Lift

As you can see from our suggestions for shoulder stability exercises, some will require lightweight objects before you progress to heavier weights. For the Pole Prone Lift, you can use a broomstick or a light pole to perform the movement. Trust your judgment, and be mindful of the amount of weight you’re using; it is better to start low and increase once it gets easy.

Lie facedown on the floor with your arms above you while holding onto the pole extended out from your head. Keeping your arms extended and head facing down, lift the pole a few inches from the ground. As you do this, tense your rhomboid muscles rather than using your upper trapezius muscles. The aim is to see how much you can turn on your stabilizing muscles while turning off your mobilizing muscles like your traps. At the top of the movement, hold the pole there for 30 seconds before bringing it down slowly.

Single-Arm Lateral Raise

Single-arm lateral raises are a great middle-delt isolator that also works your core. Performing one arm at a time can help even out imbalances you may have with each side. As you maintain your form, be careful when choosing your grip if you have rotator cuff issues.

Standing with a dumbbell in one hand, use your other hand to grab something steady for support while leaning toward your lifting arm. Keeping your torso straight, start with the dumbbell by your side, and lift the dumbbell to your side with your elbow slightly bent. Bring your arm upward until it’s parallel to the floor while keeping your torso stationary to minimize swinging. After pausing at the top of the movement, lower the dumbbell back down slowly.

Dumbbell Reverse Flyes

This exercise targets your shoulders and your upper back, so you’ll want to make sure that your back is flat to ensure that it counts as one of your shoulder stability exercises. As you perform this movement, monitor how far you bend forward, progressing toward getting your torso nearer to parallel to the ground.

Hold a dumbbell in each hand as you bend at your hips until your torso is just past a 45-degree angle. With your feet shoulder-width apart, let the dumbbells hang straight down from your shoulders. Keep your arms bent slightly with your palms facing each other as you raise your arms out to your sides as if making a T-shape. Keep your torso still, your back flat, and maintain the bend in your elbows as you pause at the top of the movement and slowly return to starting position.

Kettlebell Hold

If you have access to kettelbells, the kettlebell hold is one of the most effective shoulder stability exercises. It’s an easy movement in which you lie on your back and hold a kettlebell in the air. Your arm will be straight up, exactly perpendicular to your body.

You don’t want to bend your wrists inward while holding the kettlebell, so make sure that your wrists remain straight throughout the movement. As you hold the position, let the weight of the kettlebell drop your arm into its socket. The aim is to see how long you can hold it for. Since this is harder than it looks, start with a 1-minute hold, then increase the hold to 2 or 3 minutes depending on your ability.

Bus Driver

The bus driver is another movement to help with shoulder stability that looks easy but provides a challenge as you do it. Start by grabbing a weight plate that isn’t too heavy - you can always increase as you go. You will want to extend your arms by locking your elbows out in front of you, then rotate the plate like a steering wheel moving fully to the right and fully to the left. Focus on maintaining a slow and controlled motion while preventing your arms from dropping.

Dumbbell Front Raise

Standing with your shoulders back and holding a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, raise one arm at a time. Keep your knuckles faced out and rotate your wrists so your palms are facing the floor as you bring the dumbbell to eye-level. Once you return the dumbbell at your side, do the same motion with your other arm. Stay upright and avoid leaning toward either side to control the movement and limit any swinging motion.

Seated Dumbbell Military Press

Sit down with your back against a vertically adjusted bench with a dumbbell in each hand. With each dumbbell up to your thighs, bring the dumbbells up to shoulder height. Once the dumbbells are at shoulder level with your palms facing out, you must press them straight overhead. You will need to keep your arms at 90 degrees, and you don’t want your elbows to drop below your ears.


For proper stability, you want to keep your joint structures in optimal positions throughout the range of motion. By choosing a variety of shoulder stability exercises, you’ll provide more freedom of movement within your range of joint mobility. If you feel you’re new to exercising for shoulder stability, do exercises that require your own body weight resistance, like arm circles and inchworms. You can then progress to using a resistance band or light weights as you build strength and stability.

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