Standing Horizontal Shoulder Abduction


Horizontal shoulder abduction is a great way to strengthen your shoulder and upper back muscles. Targeting these muscles helps promote good posture, and strengthening these muscles helps avoid injuries while doing everyday activities such as lifting or reaching.

Set up

Stand tall with your feet hip width apart. You may also perform this exercise seated on a chair if you have poor balance or feel unsteady on your feet.

Hold both arms straight out in front of you about shoulder width apart with your palms up and your elbows extended.  

Your arms should be at about a 90 degree angle to your body.


Keeping your arms straight and at chest level, bring both arms out to the sides while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Then slowly return to your starting position.

Think about squeezing a pencil between your shoulder blades as you perform this exercise.


  • Do not flare your ribs as you squeeze the shoulder blades together.
  • Your spine should stay in a neutral position.
  • Be careful not to round your shoulders or elevate your shoulders as you do this exercise. Your shoulder blades should just be squeezing back.
  • Be sure to keep your arms straight and level throughout the movement. Don’t bend your elbows or allow your arms to move up or down.
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