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

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

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...
Must See
Why NFL Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson Counts His Blessings
Views: 1,919,699
Colin Kaepernick Explains His Ridiculous Socks
Views: 21,893,870
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 7,168,742

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: Duke University Views: 217,694
Eastbay: It Begins Now Views: 67,081
Path to the Pros 2015: Training Days Views: 118,412
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

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Posterior Chain Fixes to Improve Your Game

You can tell a lot about an athlete from their performance of the overhead squat. Specifically we are looking at thoracic spine, hip and ankle mobility,...

Kyle Lowry's 12-Week All-Star Training Program

Putting Together an Off-Season Workout for Point Guards

These 3 Single-Leg Movements Will Improve Your Squat Technique

10 Ways to Get Stronger With a Sandbag

Use Eccentric Lifts to Increase Size and Strength

3 Nordic Hamstring Curl Exercises to Boost Your Performance

3 Tricks for a Stronger Front Squat

7-Exercise Core-Blasting Workout

Mike Boyle: 4 Small Muscles That Can Lead to Big Gains

How Functional Training Has Overly Complicated Strength Training

12 Strength Moves from NFL WR Harry Douglas's Full-Body Workout

Improve Soccer Agility with Lateral Strength Exercises

A Better Way to Train Your Core

How NOT to Perform a Pull-Up (With Fixes)

4 Simple Golf Core Exercises to Increase Your Driving Distance

4 Weaknesses That Can Ruin Your Exercise Technique (With Fixes)

5 Ways to Get a Higher Vertical Jump

Increase Your Explosiveness with the Power Curl

Make Lifts More Challenging With Resistance Bands

Dominate Your Bench Test With This Strategy

The Science of Building Muscle: 2 Ways to Maximize Hypertrophy

How to Design a Greco-Roman Wrestling Training Program

Perfect Your Squat Technique With the Unloaded Squat

The Best Single-Leg Exercises for Youth Athletes

3 Post-Activation Potentiation Combos for Explosive Strength

5 Exercises to Develop Soccer Power

6 Gym Machines That Are Actually Worth Your Time

7 Strategies for Faster Workout Recovery

Reach New Training Heights With Resistance Band Exercises

How Often Should You Vary Your Exercise?

7 Ways to Work Out Competitively Without CrossFit

12-Week Resistance Band and Chain Workout

Improve Your Squat Depth With 5 Easy Warm-Up Exercises

Master the Lateral Lunge to Improve Your Hockey Stride

Never Bench Press With Your Feet in This Position

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Exercise

7 Farmer's Walk Variations for Improved Core Strength

7 Best Lower-Body Strengthening Exercises

Bench Press Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

Build Max Power With These Pulling Exercises

4 Deadlift Variations to Increase Your Pull

Mike Boyle's 5 Tips for More Effective Workouts

How Strength Training Changed Rory McIlroy's Game

Develop Core Strength for Throwing