Exercises After Breast Surgery: Wall Climb, Chicken Wing

As you recover from breast surgery, your healthcare provider will tell you when it is safe to begin exercising, what kind of exercises you should do, and how much exercise you should do. Your goal will be to regain normal range of motion and use of your arm. For your safety, use this handout only as directed by your healthcare provider or physical therapist.

These are just a couple examples of exercises that may be appropriate. Speak with your surgeon and healthcare team about what other exercises 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 6 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 improve, 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.