Wall Angel Exercise – Physiotherapy Treatment

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Introduction to the Wall Angel Exercise

The wall angel exercise is a deceivingly challenging exercise that is often prescribed by physiotherapists and kinesiologists.

In my practice, most of my clients really struggle doing this exercise at first.  That’s because there are a lot of steps to remember and it can be challenging to maintain proper form throughout the whole exercise.

The wall angel resembles what it would look like if you were to be doing a snow angel on the wall, hence the name.  I’ve also had a few clients dub this exercise the “wall devil”, due to the great displeasure in doing it the first few times.

Don’t be discouraged if you can’t complete the full motion at first.  It is important to make gradual improvements over time, rather than trying to push to do it all at once.  Most importantly, the wall angel should not reproduce any of your typical or new pain.

I always encourage exercising into resistance, stiffness, or until fatigue, but not pain.

Benefits of the wall angel exercise

Please note the benefits of the wall angel exercise include:

Clinical Indications

Given the multiple benefits of this exercise, it can be prescribed often for multiple diagnoses.  Here are a few common clinical indications for using the wall angel for therapeutic reasons may include:

  • Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
  • Whiplash
  • Cervicogenic Headaches
  • Low Back Pain
  • Scapular Diskinesis
  • Postural Dysfunction
  • and more

Video Demonstration

Watch the video below to learn how to properly perform the Wall Angel Exercise.

After watching the video, I encourage you to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you can be kept up to date on future exercise demonstrations.  I will also respond to questions left in the comments section.

How to perform the Wall Angel Exercise

Here are a few steps to remember to help you properly perform the Wall Angel Exercise:
  1. Stand up against a wall (preferably one without pictures hanging).
  2. Keep your low back, mid back, and the back of your head in contact with the wall.
  3. Engage your core by drawing your belly button inward.
  4. Slowly raise your arms while keeping them in contact with the wall.
  5. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds before bringing your arms back down by your sides.

Modified Wall Angel Exercise

We want this exercise to be challenging but not painful. If pain is a barrier to performing the wall angel, it is likely preferable to find a more suitable alternative.

There are a few steps that can be taken to reduce discomfort during the movement. These include:

  • Using a pillow or towel between the back of your head and the wall.
  • Allow your arms to be close to the wall but not necessarily make contact.
  • Lying on your back instead of performing the standing wall angel. You might also prefer to bend your knees while on your back.

Conclusion

There are many benefits of learning this great exercise and adding it to your regular workout routine. Although it is often used for therapeutic reasons, it serves as a great stretch for most people.

When performed correctly, this is a very effective and comprehensive corrective exercise.  There is also the added benefit that you can do it almost anywhere without needing any equipment.

I would recommend performing at least 10 repetitions on a weekly basis once its used for maintenance of good posture and mobility. If this is provided as a corrective exercise to help recover from an injury, the frequency may be as often as every day.

Your local physiotherapist will be able to guide you with regards to your form, suggesting modifications, and dosing your frequency and durations.

Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions – Ask a Physio

Wall Angel
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