It’s important to know how to improve your shoulder strength for desk-workers. The shoulders tend to get overlooked and the focus can be more on the neck, which is where a lot of people will feel tension or pain.

Watch the video below or continue reading, where we’ll explain some easy exercises you can do.

As we said above, the shoulders are important because if they’re strong they can support the arm and can also take the tension away from the neck.

Try the following exercises. We’ll take you through a few variations, starting with the easier versions through to harder stuff. Pick a level that’s challenging but not too difficult.

Start here:

This variation gets you used to the movement that you’ll be doing throughout.

Grab a weight (we’re using 3kg in the video/photo) and lie down.  Hold onto the weight and start with the elbow straight and hand up towards the ceiling. Raise the arm straight up towards the ceiling, lifting the shoulder off the floor/mat and lower down.

Repeat 3 x 6-8 times.

How to Improve Shoulder Strength for Desk Workers - starter exercise.

Try on a foam roller

If you’ve got a long foam roller then try this exercise lying on it. The benefit of doing this exercise on a foam roller is that you can get the arm going through a larger range of movement.

The movement is the same as above. Raise the arm up and lower it down. On the foam roller, you can lower the arm down even more than if you were on the floor, as the floor would stop you.

Repeat 3 x 6-8 times.

Inclined – helps increase resistance

If you’re happy with the above exericses and want to increase the weight/resistance through the shoulders, try this variation.

All you need is a wall. You aiming to incline yourself to get your body-weight through the arms.

Step quite far away from the wall, place your arms shoulder width apart. Check the chin is tucked in and the neck nice and long, in line with the spine. Lower the chest down, squeeze the shoulder blades together and then push the chest as far away from the wall as you can do. It’s mimicking the shrug you’ve been doing lying on your back.

How to Improve Shoulder Strength for Desk Workers - inclined on a wall.

Watch Out Though…

The danger is that you start to go into a press-up position, which isn’t what we’re after.

Challenge yourself

If you really want to challenge yourself then try this variation. It will get more of your body weight into the exercise. Your options are:

  1. Get into your push up position on your knees
  2. Or get into the full push up position

How to Improve Shoulder Strength for Desk Workers - challenger yourself in the press-up or 4-point kneeling position.

If you’re on your knees, push your weight forwards so you get your weight onto your arms. Check the chin is tucked in, the neck nice and long and in line with the spine. Lower the chest down to the floor and squeeze the shoulder blades together, then push the chest as far away from the foor as your can do. Lower the chest to the floor and then raiseup.

Repeat 3 x 6-8 times.

If you want to really challenge yourself then get into your full push-up position and repeat the above movement.


You’ll need to commit to 6 weeks of the exercises. It takes about 6 weeks to start to see a difference in muscle strength.

3 x 6-8 repetitions.

Repeat 2-3 times a week.


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Remember – Listen to your Body!

Please remember to listen to your body. Get any aches and pains checked out sooner rather than later.


As with all information given for exercises and exercise programs, when using our exercise videos or information, please use your common sense and don’t do anything that will hurt you. By performing any fitness exercises, you are performing them at your own risk. PhysioFit Health will not be responsible or liable for any injury or harm you sustain as a result of information shared on our website or YouTube channel. This includes emails, videos and text. Thanks for your understanding.

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