During any competitive season, your shoulder strength, stability and flexibility can take a beating due to the overload on your body. If you're playing football, your shoulders feel the strain from hitting guys week in and week out. If it's baseball, the strain comes from repetitively throwing and hitting the ball.
To actively strengthen your shoulders, eliminate injuries and increase production, I recommend doing shoulder exercises at least twice a week. Ideally, you want to perform them on an off day and on a light competitive day to maintain healthy shoulders.
Here are a few shoulder exercises to help maintain your shoulder strength, stability and flexibility. Check out the video above to see strength and conditioning coach Todd Durkin demonstrate two additional exercises to prevent shoulder injury.
Learn more about the basics of shoulder injury prevention and rehab.
Exercises for Shoulder Health
1. Dumbbell Arm Swings
Benefits: Warms up the joints and increases range of motion.
How-To: Swing 5- to 10-pound dumbbells back and forth for 30 reps.
Learn more about Dumbbell Arm Swings.
2. Empty Cans
Benefits: Increases strength around the rotator cuff and builds up the transversal plane, which prepares you for unexpected impact.
How-To: Point your thumbs up and lift the dumbbells up in front of you to a V-position. Bring the dumbells straight up, then, thumbs down, rotate them and bring them back down toward your legs. Repeat for 15 reps.
3. Band Scap Pulls
Benefits: Strengthen the posterior deltoids, which help support the labrum.
How-To: Attach a band around a stationary object. With your arms up, pull the band toward your clavicle and squeeze your back, making your sub-scapular come together. Maintain straight arms, then pull the band toward your chest. Repeat for 20 reps.
4. Supine Band External Rotation
Benefits: Strengthens the rotator cuff and challenges shoulder flexibility and range of motion.
How-To: Attach a band to a stationary object. Lie on your back holding the band and move back until you feel resistance. Plant your elbows into the ground, keeping them stationary. Rotate your arms from fist-down behind you to fist-forward in front of you. Do not move your elbows. Repeat 20 times
5. Alternate Superman Spiderman Hand Walk
Benefits: A great core exercise that enhances trunk and shoulder stability.
How-To: In a push-up position, lift your right leg and left arm, then vice versa. Keep your arms and legs straight. Cross your right arm over your left while moving your legs laterally. Maintain a proper push-up position. Raise your right leg and left arm again, and vice versa. Cross your right arm over your left and move your legs laterally again. Repeat for 5 yards, then come back 5 yards using opposite movements (left arm over right arm).
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