Top 5 Jo Gibson Shoulder Exercises

Jo Gibson, physiotherapist, is the Queen of shoulder exercises. What Jo does not know about shoulders is not worth knowing. As a very experienced physiotherapist who has lectured internationally on shoulder pain, as well as widely tested shoulder muscles with EMG, she is a breadth of expertise on the topic.

I was pleased to meet Jo in person this year at the BASEM sports and exercise medicine annual conference, where Jo delivered an excellent keynote.

We were also lucky to get access to some of Jo’s lecturers and presentations, as well as her videos, so we could look through her database of exercises. For therapists, they can also be found on which is a subscription exercise platform for osteopaths, chiropractors, physiotherapists and sports therapists.

Let’s look at our top 5 exercises that we love, that Jo has created:

1. Seated Table Slide into Flexion

Sit down and rest your forearms around a towel on a table. Slide your hands forwards as far as feels comfortable as you lean forward. This exercise improves flexion in your shoulder. An excellent supported exercise for a stiff and painful shoulder. Repeat ten reps, twice per day.

2. Wall Squat with Long Level Elevation

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, with your back resting against a wall. Bend your elbows and place your fists in front of your shoulders. Squat down as you move your arms up towards the ceiling. The wall reinforces your shoulder blade, gives the shoulder blades some feedback, and loads the upper quadrant. This helps the elevation of the arms. This is a great exercise because while you are doing a squat, you are strengthening the legs while helping the arms to mobilise upwards, a useful distraction if your shoulder is stiff. Repeat ten reps, twice per day.

3. Supported Mobilisation Wall Slide

Stand facing a wall. Turn your arms outward slightly to rest the outside of your fists on the wall. Transfer weight on to the opposite leg to your painful shoulder as you elevate your shoulders. Transfer weight into the back leg as you bring your arms back down. This exercise helps to facilitate movement while unloading pressure on the shoulder. Repeat ten reps, twice per day.

4. Lunge with Shoulder Elevation with Dumbbells

Stand upright, and hold a dumbbell in each hand facing inward. Bend your elbows to 90-degrees. Take a step forward and slowly raise your arms up in one smooth movement straightening your elbows when finishing with your arms above your head if comfortable to do so. Hold at the top, and then bring the arms slowly back down. This is a tougher exercise, so advance on to this when ready. Repeat five times each side, twice per day.

5. Bow and Arrow Archery Exercise

Loop a band around your fingers in both hands. Hold one arm straight and to your side. Rotate your neck towards your abducted arm. Pull the band towards your opposite shoulder as you turn your thumb upwards. At the same time, rotate your neck towards your opposite shoulder. You can also lean towards the back shoulder as well during the movement. This is a dynamic stability exercise for the deltoid, trapezius and shoulder. This is also a more advanced strengthening and proprioception exercise so progress to it, and repeat eight to ten reps, twice per day.

Thank you very much to Jo Gibson, a wonderful physio, author and specialist working at the Liverpool Upper Limb Unit.

For advice or support for your shoulder pain, please contact our amazing team at Surrey Physio by calling us on 0208 685 6930.

If you are a therapist and interested in more of Jo’s exercises, go to Rehab My Patient and check under the shoulder section. This is for healthcare practitioners, not patients.