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Updated: Aug 25, 2022

Get your neck, shoulders, posture, back and balance moving!

Never has a foam pool noodle found so many uses! Sure kids LOVE them around a pool. As a physical therapist, I LOVE them as one of my useful props: another dime-store find that gets anyone moving. Brightly colored, left by your desk this foam noodle will catch your eye and remind you to get up and Noodle-DE-DO MOVE!

  1. Swinging a pool noodle in each hand, alternating shoulders up and down. This is a great exercise for mobilizing the shoulders, strengthening the shoulder girdle. Instead of waving a heavy rope for exercise, these pool noodles will definitely strengthen your shoulder flexion muscles. Think of the air balloon man in front of the car dealership. Allow your torso, shoulders, and trunk to shift back-and-forth.

  2. Holding a noodle in each hand open your arms out and in to strengthen your pectoral chest muscles and your postural shoulder blade muscles.

  3. Hold a pool noodle in front of you much like a golf club, touching the floor. Swing the noodle up and over your right shoulder, bringing it back to the middle, touching the floor. Swing the noodle up and over your left shoulder bringing it back in the middle, touching the floor. Look over your right shoulder when lifting the noodle for trunk and balance challenges. Feel the lift in your rib cage when you lift the noodle over your shoulder stretching your diaphragm.

  4. Take that noodle and pass it around behind your back from one hand to the next, circle the noodle around your body in front clockwise while in a standing partial squat position 10x. Circle the noodle counterclockwise around your body 10x. This will help with shoulder range of motion, posture, and neck stabilization.

  5. With the noodle in your right hand, put the noodle over your shoulder and behind your back. Grasp the noodle behind your back with your left hand. Your elbows will be bent. The noodle will be diagonal across your back. This will stretch your shoulder blades in your shoulder joint. This is particularly good for those stretching from a frozen shoulder.

  6. Take the noodle in both hands behind your back. Lift the noodle out, away from your back. This will stretch the front of your shoulders and lift your shoulder blades from your ribs. Do this 5x

  7. Take the noodle in both hands behind your back and then bend elbows sliding the noodle up your back. This will stretch the rotators of your shoulder and lift your shoulder blades.

  8. While sitting, straighten one knee at a time 10 times, kicking the noodle. This will strengthen your quadricep muscles and increase the “joint juice “in your knee, otherwise known as synovial fluid in your knee.

  9. While standing against the kitchen cabinet counter. Hold the noodle about waist level and try to march and lift your knees up as high as the pool noodle. Alternate marching knees.

  10. Place some pool noodle on the floor. Step forward with your right foot then your left, step backwards with your right foot then your left. This will force you to lift your knees and hips to clear the noodle.

  11. Stand alongside the noodle on the floor, step over with your right foot then your left, return to the other side with your left foot first and then the right. This is great for motor planning and helps you train your brain to leave enough space for one foot and then the other. This sounds a little silly but many people say they “tripped over my own feet “ because they struggle with motor planning. This is a great exercise to help with agility and motor planning.

  12. Placing several noodles on the floor in a row, use the noodles as an obstacle course strengthening your walk after a joint replacement, ACL knee repair, or ankle injuries.

  13. If you were having cervicalgia or radicular symptoms of numbness and tingling down your arms, it may be that the curve of your neck needs some support while you sleep. Use a pool noodle into your pillowcase as a support for your neck when lying on your back or on your side as in the picture.

  14. Use a pool noodle as a lumbar support. Being just a dollar and easily cut into several pieces, you can use the pool noodle in your car and leave it there, take it with you while sitting in church, or at your desk at work. The noodle supports the gentle curve of the lumbar spine which may help sciatica.

Here's a clip of ways to use your noodle.

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