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You are here: Home > Pain & Injury Center > Shoulder & Arm Injuries > 5 Exercises to Prevent Shoulder Injury

5 Exercises to Prevent Shoulder Injury

The shoulder is a large, complex joint formed where the humerus (upper arm bone) meets the scapula (shoulder blade). Several other bones are associated with the joint, and all are kept in position by tendons, ligaments, and muscles. The rotator cuff consists of tendons and muscles that form a supportive, stabilizing structure around the shoulder joint.

The shoulder has a wide range of motion, but is vulnerable and is one of the most commonly injured parts of the body. To avoid injury, it is important to build strength and flexibility, particularly in the rotator cuff.

Always warm up before exercising; tissue fibers are less flexible when cold and therefore more likely to tear.

Lying external rotation:
Lie on your side on the floor, with your upper arm against your body and your elbow at a 90-degree angle. Hold a 510 pound weight in your hand; lower the weight to the floor in front of you then, keeping your elbow against your body, lift the weight up so that your hand points to the ceiling. Lower the weight to the floor again. Repeat 1015 times for 1 set. Do 12 sets.

Standing external rotation:
Tie a stretchy exercise band into a loop large enough so that when holding your elbows at your sides and your forearms parallel to the floor, your hands are about 68 inches apart. Stand with your shoulders aligned over your hips and feet, elbows at your sides and forearms parallel to the floor, hands in the band with your thumbs pointing up. Pull your hands apart, focusing on keeping your shoulder blades squeezed together. Release to the beginning position. Each repetition should take 2 seconds: 1 to stretch and 1 to release. Repeat 1015 times for 1 set. Do 3 sets.

Straight arm lift:
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your shoulder blades squeezed together and raise your arms to extend straight out to the sides, parallel with the floor. Keep your arms straight and thumbs pointing up. Move your hands 12 feet forward so they are slightly ahead of your shoulders. Return your arms to the starting position then raise them so your hands finish level with the top of your head. Do the exercise as a flowing sequence, 1 second for each movement. Continue for 2 minutes for 1 set. Do 3 sets.

Ball on wall:
Stand facing a wall with one arm extended straight in front of you, parallel to the floor and your palm almost touching the wall. Place a tennis ball between your hand and the wall. Squeeze your shoulder blades together. Roll the ball with the palm of your hand in small circles, clockwise, for 15 seconds, then switch direction and roll it anticlockwise for 15 seconds. Continue for 2 minutes for 1 set. Do 3 sets. Repeat with your other arm.

Hitch hiker:
Lie on the floor on your stomach with your arms stretched straight out to the sides, thumbs pointing up. Squeeze your shoulder blades together. Lift your arms off the floor and move them slightly towards your head to make a Y shape. Hold for 12 seconds then return to the starting position. Repeat for 2 minutes for 1 set. Do 3 sets.