Arm Rotations: A Chest,
Shoulder and Back Exercise

Arm rotations are a simple, effective chest, shoulder and back exercise that stretch and loosen your shoulders, chest and upper back muscles. It's an ideal warm up exercise before sports, breathing exercises or meditation - virtually any activity where you need to boost blood circulation and loosen your upper body beforehand. Arm rotations can also be done as an exercise for shoulder pain, or as a frozen shoulder exercise, and for toning your upper arm muscles. If you have a history of shoulder problems though, check with your health professional before trying this or any other kind of shoulder rotation exercise.

Arm Rotations - Chest, Shoulder and Upper Back Exercise


1. Stand straight with your feet about shoulder-width apart and your arms hanging by your sides.

Bend your knees a little.

Sink your weight into your legs.

Look ahead throughout the exercise.

2. Slowly begin swinging your arms up above your head, around behind your body and down again in as wide a circle as you comfortably can.

Keep going around and around, gradually getting faster - keep it soft though, don't force it.

Feel your shoulders and chest stretching with each rotation.

Do 20-30 backward rotations, then do 20-30 forward rotations.


  • Loosens your shoulder joints & muscles
  • Stretches your upper back & chest muscles
  • Stretches your intercostal muscles (between your ribs)
  • Expands your ribcage
  • Warm-up exercise before sports & other activities

  • Breathe freely & evenly throughout the exercise
  • Try it as an exercise for shoulder pain & exercise for frozen shoulder
  • Focus on the exercise, not on external distractions
  • Swing your arms in as wide a circle as possible, but keep it fluid & soft - don't force it, especially if you have shoulder problems

For more chest, shoulder and back exercises, including arm exercises, try:

Chest Expander
Pull Ups
Upper Back Loosener & Shoulder Roll
Back Twist
Neck Twist + Acupressure
Hand & Wrist Exercises

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