Bulletproof Shoulders: A Shoulder Training Guide

Follow this advice to strengthen your shoulders and avoid injury.

The shoulder serves two purposes: it has the largest range of motion of all our joints, but it's also expected to transmit force to the rest of the body. With that kind of multi-tasking, no wonder athletes and active people frequently injure their shoulders. If you lack range of motion, coordination or stability, you're a shoulder injury statistic waiting to happen.

Here are some exercises that are great for preventing shoulder injuries.

RELATED: 7 Exercises That Safely Build Shoulder Strength

Side Planks

"Isn't this a core exercise?" you ask. Yup. But Side Planks build stability in the shoulder girdle too. Make sure the head of your humerus (arm bone) is directly in line with your acetabulum (shoulder joint). Your rotator cuff muscles and deltoids will work hard to stabilize your arm.

No Money Drill

This move helps develop the external rotators of the Rotator Cuff. We tend to be stronger in internal rotation (bringing the shoulders forward and in toward each other). This exercise brings balance to the Force and restores inter-galactic peace (or maybe it just promotes healthy shoulders).

Scapular Wall Slide Lift-Off

Correct scapular and humeral rhythm are crucial for pain-free movement. If your scapula does not move enough or at the right time, your shoulder will suffer the consequences. Try this in your warm-up to ensure correct shoulder activation and safe movement.

RELATED: 5 Best Shoulder Exercises You Can Do At Home 

Things to avoid

Livin' on the edge

Don't hang out with end-range internally rotated and anteriorly glided shoulders. The shoulder will adapt to this position, causing tightening of the back part of the shoulder joint and stretching in the front. The posture on the right will set you up for a healthy shoulder joint. If you want more on posture, check out this article.

Any exercise that hurts

This sounds simple. Yet we've all been guilty of ignoring this gem of advice. If you have shoulder pain during an exercise, stop. Make sure your form is correct. If your form is good, try lowering the weight. Still in pain? Forgo the exercise for the day or toss it out of your routine altogether. Find exercises you can do pain-free. Your shoulders will thank you.

RELATED: The 8 Most Dangerous Exercises for Your Shoulders


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: SHOULDERS | EXERCISE | POSTURE | ROTATOR CUFF | RANGE OF MOTION | SHOULDER JOINT | SCAPULAR