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3 Tips for Strong and Healthy Shoulders After 55

For years, while working in Physical Therapy, I helped many people rehab through shoulder injuries including rotator cuff tears and repairs, shoulder impingement, frozen shoulder, and even shoulder replacements. From this experience plus my years of providing personal training to women over 55, I know that achy, stiff, and painful shoulders can be a common complaint. 

Most people think this is “just the way it is now,” but it doesn’t have to be!

When I started working with Karen in our virtual fitness sessions, she was struggling with lifting her new grandbaby, had difficulty reaching overhead, and felt achy and tight in her shoulder. She felt like she had lost a lot of strength in her upper body. She also had some pain and tightness with reaching. But with the right exercises and guidance she no longer has pain in her shoulders, can lift her granddaughter who is even bigger now, and even got a few compliments on how toned her arms are!

Here are the 3 best tips for strong and healthy shoulders. 

Sit Up and Take a Deep Breath: Your Posture Affects Your Shoulders! 

One of the best things you can do for your shoulders is focus on improving your posture. Raise your hand if you carry tension in your neck and shoulders? (This is your quick reminder to sit up tall, take a deep breath in, and drop your shoulders down and away from your ears.) 

Carrying tension in our shoulders and our neck coupled with the fact that too many activities cause us to have a posture with rounded forward shoulders such as driving, using our phones, laptops, and computers, cooking, and more, causes the space in our shoulder joints to decrease and puts more tension on the muscles and tendons. 

Focus on your best posture with a proud and open chest, shoulders down and relaxed, and your head in a neutral upright position, this will allow your shoulders to have less aches, pains, tightness, and keep the muscles in the best position to keep you strong. Check out these posture exercises you can do any time:

Strong and Sexy Shoulders: Strength Training

Many strength training exercises focus on the front of our shoulders and body. To build strong and healthy shoulders it’s important to not only work the muscles around our shoulders but to build strength in our midback and the muscles around our shoulder blades to build stability for our shoulders.

Start with strength training exercises under shoulder height, only progressing to overhead presses after you’ve built stability to shoulder height. The majority of exercises you perform should focus on the back of your shoulders versus the front. Check out this quick and straight-forward shoulder strength training routine:

Consistency Is Key

Consistency is key when building strong and healthy shoulders. Focus on daily postural movements and mobility and strength training exercises 2-3 times a week. Working with a personal trainer is one of the best ways to ensure you stay accountable, have good form, and push yourself just the right amount without aches and pains. 

Many of our members in our virtual fitness programs at Vitality Fitness and Wellness have built strong, healthy, and sexy shoulders! Join my upcoming LIVE workshop: Thrive after 55: Strong Sculpted Shoulders.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Do you struggle with achy and stiff shoulders? When you reach up to open a cabinet do you feel pain and frustration? Are you struggling to brush your hair or lift objects you once could with ease? 

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I’ve been experiencing shoulder pain while reaching up and didn’t have a clue why, or what to do about it. Thank you so much!


Excellent exercises and very achievable.. I have the “hunch” from years of working at a desk, computer etc. Thank you!!

The Author

Aubrey Reinmiller is a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant, Certified Personal Trainer and Senior Fitness Specialist, and Functional Aging Specialist focused on helping those over 50 to reinvent aging! She offers online small group and private fitness solutions through Aubrey authored Reinvent Aging: The Over 50 Fitness Guide to Improve Energy, Strength and Balance.

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