December 1, 2022
The following was written by FX Physical Therapy. Find their blogs at this link.
Athletes and Shoulder Injuries
Repetitive overhead motions are utilized in baseball, softball, swimming, tennis, disc golf, weightlifting, volleyball and even track and field. Movements like pitching, throwing, serving, and swimming all place stress on the shoulder, and when done repetitively in sport and training can lead to injuries such as tears, tendinitis, instability and impingement.
Non-Sport Related Shoulder Injuries
The shoulder is an extremely mobile joint, leaving it vulnerable to injury even with those who do not consider themselves athletes. Some labor-intensive careers put a lot of stress on the shoulder, increasing risk of injury. Shoulder injury risk also increases as we age, injuries like rotator cuff tears are most common in individuals over the age of 60. At the end of the day, everyone can experience shoulder pain and injury, therefore everyone can benefit from shoulder strengthening exercises!
Exercises to Prevent Shoulder Pain and Injury
There are some very basic strengthening exercises you can perform 2 – 3x/week to help keep your shoulder away from pain and injury. We’ve included options for both dumbbells and bands to help you strengthen at home.
Exercises to Strengthen Your Rotator Cuff:
Lay on your non-throwing side, tuck your throwing arm tight to your side, while keeping your elbow at your side, slowly rotate your forearm up towards the ceiling. Slowly return to your starting position over the course of 3 – 4 seconds.
Standing, tuck your throwing arm tight to your side and while keeping your elbow tucked, rotate your arm away from the band. Take care not to rotate your body while you do this. Slowly return to your starting position over the course of 3 – 4 seconds.
Exercises to Strengthen Your Rhomboid:
Bend forward and, while keeping your elbow bent, slowly squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull your arm back towards the ceiling. Slowly return to your starting position over the course of 3 – 4 seconds.
Hold your band in your throwing arm, squeeze your shoulder blades and pull your arm back, slowly return to your starting position over the course of 3 – 4 seconds.
Exercises to Strengthen Your Latissimus:
Lay on your back with your throwing arm straight and as far overhead as possible. Keep your knees bent for comfort. Keeping your elbow straight, slowly pull up until your arm is at about 90 degrees, then, slowly return to your starting position over the course of 3 – 4 seconds.
With your arm far overhead, slowly pull back against the band until your arm is at least neutral with the rest of your body, then slowly control the band back to your starting position over the course of the next 3-4 seconds.
How To Relieve Shoulder Pain
If you experience pain when performing the above exercises, do not continue. Instead, talk to your Physical Therapist or Primary Care Physician. Shoulder pain can arise from a number of causes, therefore, a proper diagnosis is crucial to relieving pain. Often times, shoulder pain can be rehabbed without surgical intervention when caught early! Have questions regarding your aches, pains and performance? Click here to get the upper hand on upper extremities with FX Physical Therapy