American Stroke Foundation

ExerciseSeated Upper Body Range of Motion Exercises

Seated Upper Body Range of Motion Exercises

This video targets upper body strength and range of motion. If you have experienced a stroke, it is extremely important to keep up with strength on both sides of your body and always remember to stretch as you want to maintain your muscle movement so you can keep doing those activities you want or need to do every day!

Begin with good posture and feet flat on the floor. Take some deep breaths — in through your nose and out through your mouth.

Arm Movements

  • Palms up to the ceiling and touch hands to shoulders, like a bicep curl. Try to perform 10 reps.
  • Palms facing down. Arms stay at your side and bring them up straight in front. Stay at shoulder height, just like Frankenstein.
  • Move arms to going above your shoulder. Arms by your side. Thumbs up and come up at 45 degree angle, about shoulder height.
  • Reach to your opposite pocket and thumb all the way back. Track your hand the entire time. Like your pulling out a sword or putting on a seat belt. Switch and do opposite arm.
  • Now elbows locked into the side of your body and rotate out.

Shoulder Movements

  • Shoulders to your ears and then release. Shoulder shrug.
  • Squeeze shoulder blades together. Pinch them together. Keep arms at your side.
  • Roll shoulders forward and exaggerate the motion.
  • Do complete shoulder rolls forward and now backwards. In complete circles.

Head Movements

  • Bring your ears to your shoulder and alternate side to side.
  • Rotate your head left to right, just move your neck, not your shoulders.
  • Rotate your head in a clockwise and counterclockwise motion.


  • Check posture again. Take deep slow breaths. End this exercise with stretching.
  • Forearm stretch – push fingers back with opposite hand.
  • Top part of forearm – wrist bent, 2 finger pressure, constant. Also can do by locking fingers.
  • Bring arm across chest and arm on elbow to hold and look over shoulder.

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