Fitness · Health

Shoulder Exercises:
Key Tips to Prevent Shoulder Injury

Shoulder Super Seven
The next exercises are designed to help strengthen the stabilizing muscles in your shoulder joint, and create balanced muscular development.

1. Plane of the Scapula Arm Raises: From standing, lift your arms on a slight diagonal forward to just below shoulder level. Have a slight bend in the elbows, wrists and hands in line with the arm, and lead up with the thumb side of your hand. This is similar to a second position ballet arm pose. Do five reps. Then try doing them while holding onto 2-lb or 3-lb light dumbbells.




2. Robot Arms (for the rotators): From standing, hold onto light dumbbells, bend your arms 90 degrees at the elbow and lift your arms to shoulder height. Tilt forward at the waist about 20 degrees and allow the lower arms to point down. Then practice lifting the lower arms up to the ceiling and back down, while holding the elbow in the right angle and keeping a slight tilt forward with the body. Do eight to ten reps.




3. Alternating Arm Half-Circles: From standing, start with your arms by your sides with a slight bend in the elbows. Lift one arm forward to shoulder height then open it around to the side and down. Repeat with the other arm. Do five half-circles with each arm. Then reverse the half-circles, again doing five with each arm. This exercise can be done with or without light dumbbells.




4. Overhead Presses: Holding light dumbbells, bend your arms and bring the weights to where they are level with your ears. Press your arms up toward the ceiling, but not to where you lock your arms straight, then bend your arms to bring the weights back down to ear level. Perform the overhead presses 10 times. Rest and, if it was too easy, repeat with heavier weights. Note: If pressing your arms overhead isn’t comfortable, do alternating front dumbbell raises to just shoulder height instead.


Overhead Press1Overhead Press2


5. Reverse Flyes: Holding light dumbbells, bend your knees and do a flat-back hinge from the hips to 90 degrees. Let your arms hang straight down to the floor, then lift your arms straight out to the sides. Be sure to keep your back straight and control the negative part (lowering) so your arms don’t swing. Do two sets of 10 – 15 reverse flyes. (This exercise was previously shown in an earlier article using exercise tubing)


Rev Flyes1Rev Flyes2


6. Shrugs: Using exercise tubing, place the center of the tubing under your feet. Stand up with a slight bend in your knees and hold the ends of the tubing in your hands with your arms straight by your sides. Keeping your arms straight, inhale and shrug your shoulders up as high as you can. Exhale and lower your shoulders back down. Use a medium to strong resistance tube and/or walk your hands down the tube to increase the resistance. Do 10 shrugs. Rest and repeat.




7. Straight Arm Dips: (This exercise teaches you how to depress your shoulders — you can think of it as a Reverse Shrug.) Sit on the edge of a hard chair and place your palms on the edge of the seat next to your hips. Extend your legs out and rest them on the ground. Put all your weight on your hands and press down to lift yourself up off the chair. Keeping your arms and your back straight, and hips off the chair, allow your shoulders to shrug up, lowering your body a little. Then exhale and press your shoulders back down, lifting your body back up a little. If it is impossible to keep your arms straight with all your weight on your arms, bend your legs so your feet are flat on the floor and use your legs to take off some weight. Remember, you must keep your arms and back straight as you do this exercise to work the muscles effectively. Try to do two sets of 5 to 10 reps.


Straight Arm Dip1

Straight Arm Dip2

Straight Arm Dip3

Swimming, tennis, basketball are all examples of sports where the shoulder muscles are key. We also use them a lot in everyday life. I recommend you do these exercises at least once a week to help keep your shoulders healthy, stable, and strong. Is it possible to live life and never get tight shoulders? Probably not, but the more you can keep them relaxed and healthy, the nicer living will be.


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