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The Best Exercise For Pinching Shoulder Pain

Disclaimer: Although I am a licensed physical therapist, I am NOT your physical therapist. Everything in this blog is for educational purposes only and not meant to replace any advice you have received from your Doctors.



Your shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint... often compared to a golf ball sitting on the tee because the head of your humerus is much larger than the area it sits on.

Surrounding your shoulder joint is something called the joint capsule. The joint capsule is a fibrous tissue that surrounds and encapsulates the joint like a sac. It serves many purposes but for today's topic the main purpose of the joint

capsule is to provide stability to the shoulder joint. In other words, to help keep that golf ball balancing on the tee...

The problem comes in when that joint capsule gets TOO stiff and the head of your humerus does not have enough space to move around.

→ Imagine trying to move a soccer ball around inside of a shoe box... not much space for that ball to actually move around in.

When your shoulder does not have enough space to work with inside the joint capsule, that is when you get decreased range of motion, shoulder pain, or shoulder pinching.

SOOO for the real reason you have read this far...

This is the number 1 exercise to do to increase that joint workspace to get more range of motion and stronger shoulders with less pain!

Functional Range Conditioning (Frc) 's

SHOULDER CAPSULE C.A.R.S (controlled articular rotations)

Below are 2 videos of shoulder capsule cars... one version with a bent elbow and one version with a straight elbow. Both should be done routinely to improve your shoulder pain

**Disclaimer: when you first watch these ↑ and when you first try them... they will seem too easy. BUT if you do these correctly, they should be tough and tiring!

Let's break it down...

  1. No matter which version of the exercise you do, you need to start by BRACING YOUR ENTIRE BODY. Brace your core, squeeze your hand in a fist, squeeze your glutes and leg muscles... basically make your body stiff so if someone came over and tried to push you over, you would be sturdy like a rock!

  2. Then, while maintaining that bracing you will rotate your shoulder in one direction AS FAR AS YOU CAN GO without losing that brace or cheating by moving another part of your body.

  3. When you reach that end range, brace even more and PUSH AND HOLD that position for 5 solid seconds. I'm talking 5 Southern seconds (not 5 New York seconds).

  4. After your 5 second hold, slowly release and repeat in the opposite direction

Start with doing 3 reps in each direction (for 6 total reps) and building your total rep number to anywhere between 8-12 reps. You can also build up your HOLD time to closer to 10 seconds 💦

NOW, I stand by my claim that these are the number one best exercise to do to improve your shoulder joint workspace. BUT it needs to be done CONSISTENTLY for 2-3 months!

Ideally, 2-3x day, 5-7 days a week. But if you get these in at least 1x day 3 days a week you will see results

The good news is, these are quick to get done and can be done anywhere!

Here is another video of shoulder capsule cars to check out that I posted on my Instagram ⇩

As you can see, there are many different positions that you can complete your shoulder capsule cars.

And you want to practice these in as many different positions as you can!

You need to be able to move, reach and lift your shoulder in more than one position right? For sure! So you should get stronger in more than one position as well.


Your shoulder capsule cars shoulder be PAIN FREE. So if you get to your end range and feel a pinching pain, back off into a range that does NOT have any pain. Or perhaps you can stick to your very end range but make your PUSH and HOLD less intense.

⇧ That will insure you are giving your tissues enough stimulus to create changes, but not overdoing and creating more injury.

Lastly, if you're not totally sure this is the exercise your shoulder needs at the moment download this FREE SHOULDER SCREEN at the link below.

This 5 minute do-it-yourself shoulder screen allows you to do the exact screening process I run all of my patients through to get them on the path to PAIN FREE SHOULDERS IN 3 MONTHS.

And after the screen tells you exactly what your shoulder needs, over the following 3 days you will receive exercise videos to follow based on your screen results!

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