How to Keep Your Shoulders Healthy, Part 2: Shoulder Stability

April 20, 2012

Must See Strength Training Videos

As an athlete, your shoulder is one of your most often used joints. It suffers the brunt of contact from tackles, body checks and simply falling to the ground.

In Part 1 of this series, we discussed how improving mobility in your mid-back (thoracic spine) can alleviate many shoulder problems. We also presented a few corrective exercises designed to improve mobility in the mid-back. This article will focus more on preventative measures by addressing shoulder stability.

Shoulder Stability

The shoulder is arguably the most complex joint in the human body. It consists of three bones—the humerus (upper arm), clavicle (collarbone) and scapula (shoulder blade); nearly 20 muscles; and a web of ligaments and other connective tissue. The shoulder's complex architecture permits a great deal of mobility; however, the tradeoff is a lack of stability and support, leading to a higher risk of injury.

Fortunately, shoulder stability can be improved by strengthening the supporting muscles that act on the scapula, including the serrated anterior and lower trapezius. Strengthening these muscles improves stability in the shoulder blades, allowing them to maintain a natural, neutral position. This permits the rotator cuff muscles to move freely without restriction, reducing the risk of damaging impingement. You may also see improvements in upper-body strength and pitching velocity.

The exercises below will help you reap the benefits of shoulder stability. Perform them once or twice a week during your upper-body workouts.

Scapular Floor Slide

  • Lie with back on floor and head resting on towel
  • Extend arms straight to sides, in line with shoulders
  • Bend elbows to achieve 90-degree angle and press back of hands against floor
  • Pull elbows to sides as if performing Pull-Up
  • Straighten elbows to return to starting position
  • Repeat for specified reps

Sets/Reps: 2x12-20

Tennis Ball I, Y, T Series
Perform in circuit fashion.

  • Lie face down on incline bench set at 30-degree angle
  • Place rolled-up towel or folded shirt between top of head and bench

I

  • Grasp tennis ball in hands with thumbs facing ceiling
  • Extend arms straight overhead, in line with body
  • Pinch shoulder blades together and drive hands rearward
  • Hold for one second
  • Relax shoulder blades and lower to starting position

Y

  • Grasp tennis ball in hands with thumbs facing ceiling
  • Extend arms straight to sides in line with shoulders
  • Pull elbows to sides as if performing Pull-Up, keeping arms in line with body
  • Hold for one second
  • Straighten elbows to return to starting position

T

  • Grasp tennis ball in hands with thumbs facing ceiling
  • Extend arms straight to sides in line with shoulders
  • Pinch shoulder blades together and drive hands rearward
  • Hold for one second
  • Relax shoulder blades and lower to starting position

Sets/Reps: 2×5-8 each exercise

Med Ball Wall Push-Up

  • Place hands against two lightweight med balls (approximately two to four pounds) positioned on wall at elbow level
  • Press against med balls and turn hands as if screwing med balls into wall
  • Perform Push-Up; keep core tight and body in straight line

Sets/Reps: 2×10-15

Photo:  rockmnation.com

Joe Giandonato, MS, CSCS, is the head strength and conditioning coach at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa. He has authored numerous articles on a wide variety of topics, including injury prevention, nutrition and improving athletic performance.

Joe Giandonato
- Joe Giandonato, MS, CSCS, is the head strength and conditioning coach at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa. He has authored numerous articles on a...
Joe Giandonato
- Joe Giandonato, MS, CSCS, is the head strength and conditioning coach at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa. He has authored numerous articles on a...

Featured Videos

Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Views: 199,152
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 4: Skill Training Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 4: Skill Training Views: 399,142
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 77,649
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,321
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 12,224,126
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,501,467
Dustin Pedroia on Training Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,921,007
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 6,202,163

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
5 Things to Remember When You Wing Your Workout

5 Things to Remember When You Wing Your Workout

Bulletproof Shoulders: A Shoulder Training Guide

Bulletproof Shoulders: A Shoulder Training Guide

Building Brakes for More Speed

Building Brakes for More Speed

A Modern Twist to the Original Burpee

A Modern Twist to the Original Burpee

3 Simple Tips to Gain Muscle Mass

3 Simple Tips to Gain Muscle Mass

Perfect Planks: How to Make this Classic Exercise More Effective

Perfect Planks: How to Make this Classic Exercise More Effective

Build Lower-Body Power with This Squat Workout

Build Lower-Body Power with This Squat Workout

2015 Summer Training Guide: Baseball

2015 Summer Training Guide: Baseball

Are You Using the Right Weight for Every Exercise?

Are You Using the Right Weight for Every Exercise?

There Might Be a Good Reason Tim Tebow Looks This Ridiculous

There Might Be a Good Reason Tim Tebow Looks This Ridiculous

Building Functional Balance for Figure Skaters

Building Functional Balance for Figure Skaters

2015 Summer Training Guide: Volleyball

2015 Summer Training Guide: Volleyball

10 Biceps Exercises Better Than Traditional Curls

10 Biceps Exercises Better Than Traditional Curls

2015 Summer Training Guide: Basketball

2015 Summer Training Guide: Basketball

10-Minute Dynamic Warm-Up for Any Workout

10-Minute Dynamic Warm-Up for Any Workout

The 10-Minute Grip Strengthening Workout

The 10-Minute Grip Strengthening Workout

Why Single-Arm and Single-Leg Training is Better for Athletes

Why Single-Arm and Single-Leg Training is Better for Athletes

How to Build Strong Neck Muscles

How to Build Strong Neck Muscles

Mix Up Your Workout With Unique Partner Exercises

Mix Up Your Workout With Unique Partner Exercises

Heavy Rope Workout for Big Gains

Heavy Rope Workout for Big Gains

Use Single-Leg Strength to Enhance Soccer Performance

Use Single-Leg Strength to Enhance Soccer Performance

Build Elite Strength With This Training System

Build Elite Strength With This Training System

2015 Summer Training Guide: Lacrosse

2015 Summer Training Guide: Lacrosse

2015 Summer Training Guide: Football

2015 Summer Training Guide: Football

Build Big Trap Muscles for More Powerful Shoulders

Build Big Trap Muscles for More Powerful Shoulders

Why You Should Add Depth Jumps to Your Workouts

Why You Should Add Depth Jumps to Your Workouts

What Sport Coaches Need to Know About Strength and Conditioning

What Sport Coaches Need to Know About Strength and Conditioning

3 Bear Crawl Variations for Better Core Strength

3 Bear Crawl Variations for Better Core Strength

2015 Summer Training Guide: Track

2015 Summer Training Guide: Track

2015 Summer Training Guide: Wrestling

2015 Summer Training Guide: Wrestling

Marcus Mariota's Speed and Strength Workout

Marcus Mariota's Speed and Strength Workout

Why Reverse Lunges Are Better Than Forward Lunges

Why Reverse Lunges Are Better Than Forward Lunges

Build Powerful Muscles With Velocity-Based Training

Build Powerful Muscles With Velocity-Based Training

2015 Summer Training Guide: Softball

2015 Summer Training Guide: Softball

The Squat Variation That Torches Your Core

The Squat Variation That Torches Your Core

Full-Body Training: 4 Dumbbell Ring Training Exercises

Full-Body Training: 4 Dumbbell Ring Training Exercises

2015 Summer Training Guide: Soccer

2015 Summer Training Guide: Soccer

9 Ways to Improve Your Squat Technique

9 Ways to Improve Your Squat Technique

Strength Isn’t Just How Much You Can Lift on a Barbell

Strength Isn't Just How Much You Can Lift on a Barbell

Fix 7 Common Problem Areas with Exercises From Todd Durkin

Fix 7 Common Problem Areas with Exercises From Todd Durkin

Go Against Traditional Workout Order for Bigger Gains

Go Against Traditional Workout Order for Bigger Gains

Troubleshooting the Lunge: How to Fix Your Form

Troubleshooting the Lunge: How to Fix Your Form

YardBarker