10 Easy Shoulder Pulley Exercises To Release Your Pain Fast

10 Easy Shoulder Pulley Exercises To Release Your Pain Fast


Shoulder pain is very common nowadays, it happens more often after in injury or surgery. Therefore, the demand of physical therapy and shoulder exercise is increasing. Except following rehabilitation treatment with the supervision of physical therapist, a well-structured exercise program would also help you recovery and strengthen your shoulder muscles.

shoulder pain

Introduction and Scope

Shoulders are involved in almost every activity we do daily; whether you want to pull, lift, carry, press, hold, or reach. And this can result in us experiencing some degree of pain or discomfort in our shoulders.
In fact, research suggests that 18 to 26 percent of adults are affected by shoulder pain. Some common causes include:
●Bursitis (Joint Inflammation)
●Dislocated Shoulder
●Frozen Shoulder
●Torn Cartilage
●Septic Arthritis
●And others
No need to fret though. You can always take some steps to alleviate your shoulder pain. In this blog post, we will recommend some of the best shoulder pulley exercises you can do to relieve shoulder pain and restore flexibility.

Why Does Your Shoulder Pain Need Physical Therapy?

Like many people, if you also believe that physical therapy is only needed after surgery then you are wrong. Physical therapy is as beneficial for relieving chronic shoulder pain as for shoulder recovery from surgery.
Even studies endorse the effectiveness of physical therapy in treating shoulder conditions causing pain. Your therapist may prescribe you treatments like ice therapy or heat therapy to reduce inflammation and relax the muscle. He may also curate an at-home exercise program to help restore your shoulder’s range of motion, flexibility, and strength.
Among these exercises, pulley exercises for shoulders are highly practical.

Benefits of Shoulder Pulley Exercises

Keepufitness shoulder pulley exerciser over the door supplier

The benefits of exercising your shoulder via pulley are extensive. The following are some major advantages of shoulder pulley exercises.
Promote shoulder’s range of motion (ROM)

  • Promote shoulder muscle strength
  • Reduce pain in arms and shoulders
  • Increase shoulder’s overall mobility
  • Increase blood flow to the shoulder joints
  • Elevate chronic pain and restore normal function of hands
  • Comfortable and convenient to perform

10 Best Shoulder Pulley Exercises You Can Do

Following are the best shoulder pulley exercises you can do at home or at the gym.

At Home

#1. Low Pulley Forward Raise


This forward raise variation will activate various muscle groups in your shoulders such as front deltas and help improve shoulder flexion. Moreover, this exercise is great for improving muscle strength and will lead to better body optimization. Hence, no more shoulder pain or discomfort. Here are the steps you need to follow to do a low pulley forward raise.

  1. Stand facing the order while the pulley will be attached to the middle of the door.
  2. Keep your both elbows straight and grab the pulley handles with both hands.
  3. Now, pull down the pulley with your unaffected arm.
  4. When you do this, your affected arm will move forward and up.
  5. Move the affected arm as far as possible and hold the position for 2 to 3 seconds.
  6. Then use the pulley to allow the affected arm to slowly return back down to a relaxed position.
    Perform at least 2 – 3 sets of 8 – 12 repetitions of forward raise. You may increase or decrease your sets and repetition based on your current fitness level.

#2. High Pulley Forward Raise

You can do this variation in two positions; sit facing the door and sit with your back to the door. Like low pulley forward raise, it will also help improve shoulder flexion and work multiple muscle groups of the upper body. It is a perfect exercise for anyone dealing with bad shoulder joints. Follow these steps to do a high pulley forward raise the right way.

  1. Sit either facing the door or with your back on the door, while the pulley is attached to the top.
  2. Grab the handles of the pulley with both hands and bring the pulley down with a non-painful arm.
  3. This will move your affected arm forward and up.
  4. Make sure your elbow is straight while doing so.
  5. Pull your arm up as far as possible till you feel a slight strain on your shoulders.
  6. Hold the position for 5 to 10 seconds before allowing your affected arm to return back to the relaxed position.
    Do at least 2 – 3 sets of 8 -12 repetitions of this pulley exercise as well.

#3. Shoulder Pulley Exercise While Laying Down.

When you have a pulley at home, there are endless possibilities of how you can exercise your shoulders. All of these variations will help you maintain a range of motions, and improve the strength and overall health of the shoulder. Follow these steps to do the pulley exercise while laying down.

  1. Attach the pulley to the bottom of the door and a little above the hinge of the door.
  2. Lay down on your unaffected side while the painful shoulder stays up.
  3. You can also place a pillow under your neck if you have any issues.
  4. Hold the pulley handles with both your hands and use your unaffected arm to elevate the painful arm.
  5. Make sure your shoulders stay low and at a distance from your neck.
    Repeat the movement 8 – 12 times and do 2 – 3 sets for optimum effect.

#4. Hands Behind The Back

This is another great shoulder pulley exercise that can help with limited mobility and engage your shoulder flexor muscles. Follow these steps to do the shoulder pulley exercise with your hands behind the back.

  1. Stand with your non-painful shoulder side towards the door while the pulley is attached to the top.
  2. Hold the pulley handles with your non-painful arm in the front and the affected arm behind your body.
  3. Pull down the pulley with your unaffected arm which will elevate your painful side behind the back.
  4. Try to take the arm as up as possible and then hold that position for 5 to 10 seconds.
  5. Bring back the affected arm to the original position.
    You can perform 8 – 12 repetitions of this variation in 2 – 3 sets.

#5. Pulling In Outward Rotation

Here are the steps you need to follow to do an outward rotation with the pulley at home.

  1. Attach the pulley at your elbow level.
  2. Hold the pulley handles with both hands.
  3. Stand at a distance so that your arm does not touch the door while doing the rotation as your affected side will be towards the door.
  4. Place the rolled towel between your affected arm’s elbow and your body.
  5. Now you need to gently pull the handle with your non-affected side which will cause your affected side to move away from the body.
  6. Though make sure the arm does not move too far away.
  7. Hold the arm in the position where you feel slight strain for 5 to 10 seconds.
  8. Then bring it back to the relaxed position.
    8- 12 repetitions and 2 – 3 sets of this pulley exercise will be sufficient.

At Gym

For all the pulley exercises you will be doing at the gym, make sure the weight is minimal so that there is no extra pressure on your shoulders. You can consult your trainer for the best advice.

#6. High-to-Low Rows

This is one of the best shoulder recovery exercises for people who want to train their shoulders at the gym. This exercise is great for the upper back and thoracic muscles which will help improve the stability of your shoulder joints.

  1. Set the pulley to your head height and attach the D-handle to the cable.
  2. Grab the handle with your affected hand and take two steps away from the pulley.
  3. Kneel down on the opposite leg. For instance, if your right arm is affected then kneel down on your left leg while taking a large step backward with your right leg.
  4. Holding the handle with your affected hand, pull the pulley towards your body.
  5. Make sure your arms and torso stay straight.
  6. Before returning your arm to its original position, squeeze your shoulder blades.
    Perform 2 – 3 sets of 8 – 12 repetitions each based on your ability.

#7. Lateral Raises


These are good movements to add to your routine that will help strengthen your muscles. Follow these steps to do lateral raises with your affected arms.

  1. Set the pulley at the bottom and attach the D-handle to the cable.
  2. Stand with your unaffected arm by the side of the pulley and your affected arm is on the other side.
  3. Holding the handle with your affected arm, raise it straight up to a position where it’s parallel to the floor.
  4. Then lower your arm back down to the original position.
  5. Focus on isolating the movement to make your shoulder and arm muscles do most of the work.
    Repeat the movements 8 – 12 times and do 2 – 3 sets for the best results.

#8. Upright Row

If you are having mobility issues or want to strengthen the front part of your shoulder, then this is an ideal exercise to add to your routine. Since you will be doing it at the gym, you can use either rope or straight bar attachments. Follow these steps to perform the upright row with the pulley the right way.

  1. Once you have selected your attachment, set the pulley at the lowest point.
  2. Grab the attachment with both hands and take a step back from the pulley machine to add some tension.
  3. Pull the attachment straight up toward your chest keeping your elbows bent.
  4. Stop when your elbows reach shoulder level.
  5. Then go back to the original position and repeat the movements.
    2 – 3 sets of 8 – 12 repetitions would be ideal for this exercise. Though you can always adjust the repetition and sets based on your ability.

#9. Internal Rotation

Internal rotation is an excellent pulley exercise for shoulders that will increase their mobility, strength, and stability. It is quite similar to the outward rotation exercise we discussed above with slight changes in the movement. Here’s how you can do internal rotation with the pulley.

  1. Attach the D-handle and set the pulley at your elbow height.
  2. Stand with your affected side perpendicular to the cable and grab the handle with that hand.
  3. Take two steps away from the pulley and band your arms to 90 degrees.
  4. This will elevate the weight stack a little and make your shoulder rotate externally. Keep your elbow locked. This will be your starting position.
  5. Inhale, and then internally rotate your shoulder by bringing the D-handle across your body.
  6. Hold for 1 to 2 seconds when your hand touches the torso.
  7. Then slowly return back to the original position.
    Do at least 8 – 12 repetitions and 2 – 3 sets of this exercise

#10. Crossover Lateral Raise

If you want to challenge your shoulders’ entire range of motion (ROM), then crossover lateral raise is the best exercise to do. The exercise is great if you are having limited mobility issues on side muscles.  Here are the steps you need to follow. While the exercise are without putting too much strength. usually done using both hands.

  1. Select the lowest weight that you can lift with one shoulder
  2. Set the pulley at the bottom and stand next to it with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  3. Go across your body and grab the handle with your affected arm.
  4. Bend your elbow to 10 to 30 degrees and raise your arms sideways.
  5. Stop when it levels your shoulder and hold the position for 2 to 5 seconds.
  6. Make sure that you don’t rotate your arm while stirring up.
    You can do at least 10 – 12 repetitions each set.

Further to above shoulder exercises with over the door pulley, you can also use a Physical Therapy Band to help you speed up the recovery and increase shoulder flexibility.

Final Words

Shoulder pulley exercises are a great way to regain normal function of your arm. The key away from this guide is that physical therapy for shoulders is viable for anyone suffering from bad shoulders.
Though you must remember that pulley shoulder exercises that you will be doing at the gym must be done under the trainer’s super vision. They will help you perform movements correctly, maintaining the right technique and posture. Besides, you should avoid lifting heavy weights till you’re in physical therapy.
All shoulder pulley exercises mentioned above target specific muscle groups. So whichever shoulder muscle you want to work on, choose your exercises and stretches accordingly.

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