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

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.

FROM AROUND THE WEB
  • 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...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

3D Triceps Workout: 3 Exercises for Huge Arms

What's got three heads and spends its whole life overshadowed by its two-headed neighbor on the other side of town? Your triceps, and I'm not joking...

Develop Speed With a Power Bag Workout

Build Toughness With This Weight Vest Basketball Workout

The Softball Dugout Workout

James Harrison's Physioball Side-to-Side Bridge

Why You're Not Reaching Your Strength and Speed Potential

How to Train During Your Hockey Season

Get Tougher With Skylar Diggins' Bodyweight Workout

Develop a Bulletproof Core With Advanced Barbell Rollouts

5 Exercises to Maximize Your Down Time

3 Simple Tips to Deadlift More Weight

4 Tips to Rebuild Your Body When Your Performance Suffers

Build Explosive Hips to Jump Higher

Should You Train for Absolute or Explosive Strength?

3 Athletic Arm Exercises for Big Guns

Why Bear Crawls Are All the Rage Right Now

3 Tips to Maximize Your Off-Season Baseball Training

How to Get Fit Like a Marine

The Hardest Plank of All Time

Why the Dead Bug Is Changing Core Training

Hockey Training Designed Specifically for Goalies

The 12 Best RDL Variations

Why One Bench Press Is Not Enough

4 Easy Fixes for Your Bench Press Routine

4 Strength Exercises for Female Athletes

3 Loading Schemes to Build Muscle Size

Build Hockey Speed and Power with the Hang Clean

Do Your First Deadlift

Kettlebell Swing vs. Olympic Lifting: Which Is Better?

Breathing Exercises to Strengthen Your Lifts

Build Rock Solid Glutes With This 30-Day Workout Plan

Female Athletes: 4 Ways to Test if Your Knees Are Durable

Get More Explosive With James Harden's Workout

Strengthen Your Core With Advanced Plate Push-Outs

Man Does 4,300 Pull-Ups in One Day

Hanley Ramirez's Overhead Tire Pull

7 Tips to Master Single-Leg Exercises

The Upper-Body Endurance Combo Workout

Bilateral or Unilateral Exercises: Which Are Better?

Sumo Deadlift for Football Strength

5 Exercises to Keep Your Shoulders Healthy All Season Long

Improve Your Durability With 3 BOSU Exercises

The 4 Rules of Bulking Up