Shoulder Health

By Greg Finch


 Daily Shoulder Strength & Health Program

Here are some exercises & actions for reducing surfing shoulder pain. Overall shoulder health, strength, and mobility is the focus.

  • Warm up prior to ANY elevated work incorporating the shoulder.
  • Take note of range of motion and level of discomfort in shoulders.
  • Roll shoulders at the same time starting from back to front and then front to back.
  • Take left arm across body at chest level and LIGHTLY pull across with the right arm. Focus on stretching the supraspinatus. 
  • Movement - Elevate - Traction - Heat (METH) this is replacing the old ice method. Who knew METH was good for you 😀 only as the method though not the spin your live into an abyss kind. That type is muy muy no bueno.
  • Any of the exercises below that use weights can be done using just isometric contraction (opposing muscle resistance) or everyday items like soup cans. The opening of your grip can improve ability to isometrically contract even with the light weight

Exercises for Surfing Shoulder Pain

Doorway Stretch

Doorway Stretch

■ Stand in a doorway with one foot straddling the threshold and your hands on the door jamb, elbows at your side

■ Shift your weight onto the forward foot until you feel a pull in your shoulder and chest

■ Exhale and actively stretch for two seconds using the door jamb as your assistant

■ Release the pressure, then repeat 10 times

■ Repeat in these three positions

  1. Elbows at your waist
  2. Upper arms parallel to the floor
  3. Reaching as high as you can

■ If your range is restricted by joint tension or pain, go as high as you can, increasing your range as you are able.

Reduce surfing shoulder pain Shoulder Extension

Shoulder Extension 

■ Lie on stomach and with arm hanging off the side of the bed

■ Hold a hand weight and slowly raise your arm up until it is level with side and next to body 

■ Hold then slowly return to start and repeat

Reduce surfing shoulder pain Shoulder Protraction

Scapular Protraction 

■ Lie on back holding a hand weight

■ Keep elbows straight push hands up towards the ceiling, hold, return to start and repeat

■ Alternating between both shoulders

■ Take note of range of motion and level of discomfort.

front raise

Front Arm Raise

Alternating between both shoulders. Take note of range of motion and level of discomfort.

Reduce surfing shoulder pain lateral arm raise

Lateral arm raise both arms 

  • The dumbbell lateral raise is a good exercise for reducing surfing shoulder pain. Grab a set of dumbbells and stand straight up with the dumbbells at your sides.
  • Your palms should be facing your body. You should be holding the dumbbells slightly off your body, as this keeps the tension on the side delts. This is your starting position for the exercise.
  • To execute, slowly raise the dumbbells up to around shoulder height. It's important that you do not let your wrists go above your elbows while raising the weight, as this will take the work off the side delts and put it on the front delts.
  • Pause at the top of the movement, and then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.
  • Do not let the dumbbells touch your body, and then raise them for the next rep.
bent over row stretch

Bent over row stretch

Bending at your hips, lower your torso until it's almost parallel to the floor, arms hanging from your shoulders. 

(a). Raise your arms out to shoulder height, bending your elbows 90 degrees 

(b). Without moving your elbows, rotate your forearms up as far as you can 

(c). Reverse the motion to return to start. That's one rep.

Do 12 to 14.alternating between both shoulders. Take note of range of motion and level of discomfort.

Reduce surfing shoulder pain stretch yoga plex

Stretch yoga plex

Start in downward dog, palms and heels flat on the floor, back straight. 

(a). Slowly bring your right foot between your hands 

(b). Rotate your torso to the right as you reach your right arm toward the ceiling 

(c). Reverse back to start. Repeat on the other side. Continue alternating until you've done five or six on each side.

The Surfer's Shoulder

This article by Dr. Aimee Perreira, MD University of Hawaii, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Dr. David Rovinsky, MD, Bone and Joint Center, Kauai Medical Clinic and Gregory F. Kolber, MBA is a fairly long read but will give you solid knowledge of how the shoulder works and is well worth your time.

My stamina and paddling are really improved and that allows me to surf longer and stronger


I've noticed a big difference in really two main things. One is my pre-surf warm up gets my body loose and ready to surf. I feel like I'm not step-tripping over to myself as much. Doing those dumb falls that just waste a bunch of waves.

Second my stamina and paddling are really improved and that allows me to surf longer and stronger.

Josh Beckett - Winemaker

My Surfing Has Improved On So Many Levels


My surfing has improved on so many different levels working with Greg. I have developed much more confidence in the water. I feel more comfortable & strong out there. I can paddle longer, pop-up faster, and turn with more power.

Heather Miller - Acupuncturist for WSL

Those aches & pains after a sesh aren't there anymore


It really gave me direction of what to do to get my body feeling better. Some of those aches and pains I would get after a sesh aren't there anymore. I could see my body becoming much more reliable for me because of the exercises and techniques that were taught.

The personal service was awesome! Greg was very knowledgeable and easy to reach whenever. If I ever had a question he was there to help quickly.

Scott Williams

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