Have you ever hurt your shoulder while playing basketball?
Shoulder instability is one of the most common shoulder injuries in basketball players. Shoulder instability can occur through a traumatic injury such as someone pulling on your shoulder and it pop outs of place or from abnormal muscle patterning/imbalances. In basketball, you use your shoulder complex in various activities such as shooting, jumping up for rebounds and when playing defense reaching for a steal. During all these activities, scapular stability is very important to be able control these movements.
What exactly is the shoulder and how it works?
The shoulder joint consists of a ball and socket joint connecting your humerus (bone in your upper arm) to your scapula (shoulder blade). However, when the shoulder moves overhead meaning going up for a rebound or shooting a jumpshot, multiple joints play a role in doing that action. The joints that are moving are your thoracic spine (upper back), scapula (shoulder blade), glenohumeral joint (ball and socket), and the AC/SC joint (think clavicle). They all must work in synchrony to create the scapulohumeral rhythm. All these play a factor in being able to shoot a jumpshot or grab a rebound. The only downfall is that the shoulder is inheritable because it is a ball and socket joint will have a lot of motion. Range of motion in other words is all the motion the shoulder can go through, for example you can move your shoulder into flexion(forward), extension (behind you), abduction (out to the side), internal rotation (arm behind your back), and external rotation (think arm over your back). All these shoulder motions allow us to do many actions on the basketball court with our shoulder.
Why do you need to have strong shoulders?
As the offseason approaches, strength should be one of the priorities for all basketball players. This is when you can make the most gains since games are limited and have more time to train. We know that all of you will be getting your legs stronger, however there is another component you should train, which are your shoulders. The biggest thing we see in basketball players is the lack of strength to control these shoulder motions we mentioned above. One example I use is that if you look at a bridge like the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge, it has many suspensions holding it stable so that the wind or earthquakes limit the bridge from swaying and not have it moving everywhere. The suspensions are your scapular/rotator cuff muscles and the bridge are your shoulders. Adequate muscles will help maintain and control the excessive movement in the shoulder. You do not want to have shoulder that is too loose and has no control. The lack of strength combined with excessive motion will lead to shoulder instability and other problems down the line. We will show you our top 3 exercises to improve your scapular stability and allow you to maintain stability in your shoulder.
3 Shoulder Exercises For Basketball
Wall Dribble Series
Great exercise to improve rotator cuff strength and scapular stability while making it fun.
- Wall ball dribble with single leg squat: Perform wall dribbles while completing a single leg squat to challenge balance, coordination, strength, and endurance. Complete 3 sets of 6-10 squats on each side.
- Wall ball dribble up and down on single leg: Balance on one leg and perform dribbles at various heights to challenge shoulder and core musculature, as well as, your balance and coordination. Be sure to practice on both sides. Complete 3 sets of 30-60 seconds.
- Static wall ball dribble: Maintain ball dribble at eye level or higher. Vary dribble speeds as you get stronger and better. Complete 3 sets of 30-60 seconds
This is a great closed kinetic chain exercise to help improve the shoulder blade muscles’ firing while in contact with the ground.
- Forward/Backward Bear Crawls: Start in the bear crawl hold position discussed in middle rehab. While maintaining proper posture, slowly move forward by alternating opposite arm and leg for 5 yards, then backward for 5 yards. Repeat 3x.
- Lateral Bear Crawls: Start in the bear crawl hold discussed in middle rehab. Maintain position while moving laterally. Repeat 3x for 5 yards each direction.
Physioball Y’s, T’s, and W’s
This is a great open chain exercise to fire all the shoulder blade muscles that help control the shoulder’s mobility.
Stability Ball Y’s, W’s, & T’s:
- Establish neutral spine.
- Draw shoulder blades down and back.
- Create the letters Y, W, and T with your arms to engage different scapular muscles.
- Y’s = Primarily lower trapezius muscle
- W’s = Primarily middle trapezius & shoulder external rotators
- T’s = Primarily middle trapezius
Added core activation by completing exercises on stability ball secondary to global instability that occurs with these exercises. Complete 6 reps for 10 second hold for each letter.
Try these exercises out to help improve your shoulder blade stability this offseason. If you have any questions feel free to email me [email protected]