Shoulder Injury Prevention Exercises for Athletes

Protect your shoulders this season with shoulder injury prevention exercises from STACK Expert Robert Pomazak.

Dumbbell Bench Press

All too often, an athlete will work hard in the off-season to get in excellent physical shape only to be sidelined by a dreaded shoulder injury. Regardless of your sport of choice, include shoulder-strengthening exercises in your workout program to stay healthy and at your best.

The shoulders are stabilizing muscles, and your first round of shoulder training should focus on stability. This involves training the rotators, rear deltoids and trapezius muscles to work properly and stabilize the shoulders. It is important to do this in phases so the shoulder complex can successfully adapt and handle the workloads that are placed upon it.

These shoulder exercises will help build stabilization. Go slowly and focus on the variables below.

Phase 1: Shoulder Stability

Sets/Reps: 2-3x8-10
Intensity : Light Band or Light DB
Tempo: 3/2/1
Time: 3-4 weeks

Once you've established adequate shoulder stability and mobility, you can proceed to shoulder-strengthening exercises. These are intended to build overall strength in the deltoids, rotators and trapezius muscles. As you get stronger, you can add heavier weights and a faster tempo. Don't go too heavy, though, as the shoulder girdle consists of numerous small muscles that you can easily injure.

Phase 2: Shoulder Strength

Sets/Reps: 3-5x6-12
Intensity: 80-100% of max
Tempo: 2/1/1
Time: 3-4 weeks

The third and final phase seeks to turn stability and strength into power. All athletes strive to generate force quickly and powerfully. This phase of training features lighter intensity and faster tempo. Repetitions increase, and you should think about amount of force you can produce with each repetition.

Phase 3: Power

Sets/Reps: 2-4x6-12
Intensity: 65-77% of max or 8% of body weight for med ball
Tempo: 1/1/1
Time: 3-4 weeks

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