Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeActivation
  • Equipment RequiredBodyweight
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePush (Unilateral)
  • Experience LevelBeginner
  • Secondary Muscles
    Upper Back
Target Muscle Group


Shoulders Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Back to Wall Alternating Shoulder Flexion Overview

The back to wall alternating shoulder flexion is an activation drill used to warm up the muscles of the upper body.

Primarily, the back to wall alternating shoulder flexion works on the mobility of the upper back and shoulders.

Proper warming up is critical, especially when it comes to the shoulder joint as it is active in the majority of movements putting it at a higher risk for injury.

Back to Wall Alternating Shoulder Flexion Instructions

  1. Setup in a standing position with your back against a wall and your feet roughly 6-8 inches away from the base of the wall.
  2. Exhale and slowly raise the one arm overhead as you try to touch your thumbs to the wall.
  3. Return to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions, then switch sides and repeat.

Back to Wall Alternating Shoulder Flexion Tips

  1. You may need to regress this drill to a supine position on the floor if you lack the anterior core control to complete it against the wall.
  2. Watch the elbow positioning as the arms raise overhead. If someone is “missing” overhead range of motion (which can be due to a variety of reasons, not just tissue restrictions) then they will likely compensate by bending the elbows.
  3. Ensure the low back stays relatively flat against the wall and the rib cage doesn’t flare as the arms go overhead.
  4. Make a double chin before you raise the arms as this will help to prevent the head jutting forward as the arms come fully into flexion.
  5. To make the exercise even tougher, add a full exhale at the top position to really drive activation of the abdominals and prevent the ribcage from flaring upward.
  6. If you’re a fairly kyphotic (flexed) individual then you may need to actually allow the shoulder blades to posteriorly tilt. Alternatively, if you sit in scapular depression, you may need to shrug slightly at the top to allow for complete upward rotation and optimal glenohumeral kinematics.