Progressive Resistance Exercise


Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of room at each side.

With a 5-lb potato bag in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, and then relax.

Each day you’ll find that you can hold this position for just a bit longer. After a couple of weeks, move up to 10-lb potato bags.

Then try 50-lb potato bags and then eventually try to get to where you can lift a 100-lb potato bag in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute. (I’m at this level.)

After you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each bag


  1. Potato sacks sound practical. Having been diagnosed with a rotator cuff problem, starting with 5lbs would be difficult. Better to work up to that weight with something lighter in stressing the muscles. That’s been my experience.

  2. Henry–totally agree with going slow whenever you have a problem–the key in this example is to start with the bag–add the potatoes later–if you feel it’s too heavy with the bag alone–make an appointment with me or another physical therapist–you know this all is just humor–right!

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