Pushing Pink Elephants

Standing Exercise

 Please consult your doctor before starting an exercise routine


Wall Climbing


You can do wall walking (or wall climbing) several ways, exercising one or both arms at a time. The different angles work your rotator cuff muscles in different directions, increasing your range of motion.


Climbing the Front Wall - Facing the Wall


  • Stand facing the wall, with your toes about 8 or 10 inches away from the baseboard. Place your hands on the wall at about eye level. This is your starting position.
  • Walk your fingers up the wall, climbing as high as you can. Feel your shoulder joint and arm muscles working together. Walk your hands straight up the wall, without going off at an angle. Move your body towards the wall, if you are able to reach up that high. Hold your hands at the highest point you can manage for about 15 seconds.
  • Relax your arms and let them slide down to your starting position.


Repeat the Front Wall Climb 3 to 5 times. Your goal is to be able to raise your arms overhead as far as possible.


Climbing the Side Wall - Side to the Wall


  • Stand with your surgery side to the wall, with your heel about 8 or 10 inches away from the baseboard. Place one hand on the wall at about eye level. Move this hand about 2 hand widths forward (or at a 30 degree angle from your body). This is your starting position.
  • Now walk your fingers up the wall, climbing as high as you can. Feel your shoulder joint rotating and your upper arm muscles stretching. Walk your hand up the wall, straightening your elbow as you go. Move your body towards the wall, if you are able to reach higher. Hold your hand as high as you can manage for about 15 seconds.
  • Relax your arm and resume your starting position.


Repeat the Side Wall Climb 3 to 5 times with each arm. This helps work your shoulder joint and upper arm muscles for greater flexibility.


Corner Push-Ups


After breast or shoulder surgery, your chest muscles may feel tight and rigid. One way to get those muscles moving again is by doing some corner push-ups. If you don't have a corner with enough clear wall and floor space to use, find an open doorway to use instead. The idea is to use your body's own weight to passively exercise those chest muscles.


  1. Walk up to a corner of a room and rest both forearms on the wall, having your upper arms level with the floor. While standing up straight, take about half a step backwards. This will be your starting position.
  2. With your back straight, and keeping your forearms and feet still, lean gently into the corner until you feel a good stretch. You should feel your shoulder blades moving in towards your spine. Hold this position for about 30 seconds, then gently return to Position 1.


Repeat this exercise three times, and then take a rest break. Be sure not to bend your spine or scoot your arms along the wall while doing the corner push-ups. If you can't lean into the corner very far, that's OK - just do what you can. Move gently and smoothly. Stop if you feel pain. Over time, you will be able to increase your range of motion.


Towel Stretch


For the towel stretch, you'll need a long soft bath towel. During this exercise you will use one arm to passively exercise the other. Do not bend forward, twist your body, or stretch to the point of pain. Your goal is to loosen up your affected shoulder, so you can reach the middle of your upper back.


  1. Stand up straight with the towel draped across your right shoulder. Hold the front of the towel in your right hand and the back of the towel in your left hand, behind your back. You're now in your starting position.
  2. Use your right hand to gently pull down on the towel. This will stretch your left arm and cause your left shoulder to rotate. When you feel your left arm stretching, hold that position for about 30 seconds and then relax.


Do the towel stretch 3 times, then switch arms. Stretch your other arm 3 times. Perform the towel stretch twice a day. If you don't see improvement right away, don't worry - shoulder rotation can take several weeks to restore


There are many other exercises that can help you regain good range of motion in your arm, shoulder, and chest muscles. If you need help learning these exercises or want professional guidance, find a good therapist. The disciplines of Pilates, physical therapy, sports medicine, and orthopedics can be of great help.



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