Health Library

Health Library Explorer
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A-Z Listings

Exercises After Breast Surgery: Wall Climb, Chicken Wing

As you recover from breast surgery, your healthcare provider will tell you when it's safe to start exercising, what kind of exercises you should do, and how much you should do. Your goal is to regain normal arm and shoulder range of motion and use of your arm. The exercises will also help to improve your strength and prevent severe scarring that will keep you from moving normally (scar contracture). For your safety, use this handout only as directed by your healthcare provider or physical therapist.

These are two exercises that may be suggested. Be sure to take deep breaths as you do each exercise. Talk with your surgeon and healthcare team about other exercises that might be right for you.

Woman doing wall climb exercise.

Woman doing chicken wing exercise.

Wall climb

Follow these steps:

  • Stand and face a wall, with your toes 4 to 8 inches from it.

  • Place your forearms against the wall, hands at eye level.

  • Walk your hands up the wall, keeping palms parallel. Stop if you feel pulling or pain.

  • Hold the stretch for 15 to 20 seconds. Move your hands back down the wall.

  • Repeat 10 times.

  • As you get better, stand closer to the wall.

Chicken wing

Follow these steps:

  • With elbows straight, clasp your fingers in front of you. Raise your arms slowly over your head.

  • Keeping your fingers clasped, put your hands behind your neck.

  • Pull your elbows in until they touch at chin level. (Unclasp your fingers if you need to.)

  • Repeat 10 times.

Online Medical Reviewer: Levy, Adam S, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Stump-Sutliff, Kim, RN, MSN, AOCNS
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2023
© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.