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  • Dr. Thomas

Preventing Shoulder Injuries (Home Workout Routine)

The shoulder is one of the most mobile joints in our bodies, making strength and stability in this region key to injury prevention. I often see patients with poor shoulder mechanics presenting with a variety of conditions from tears to impingement. Poor posture also goes hand in hand with shoulder problems, frequently exacerbating conditions. A good shoulder routine should consider the muscles of the rotator cuff (see image below) as well as the spine.

This quick workout routine aims to strengthen the muscles of the rotator cuff, and includes key recommendations to optimize posture. This program is meant to be performed twice a week, however this can vary depending on rehab goals and fitness capacity. Before starting any workout program, including this one, be sure to see if it is appropriate for you by talking to your healthcare professional. All of these exercises can be made more difficult by using dumbells and a bench.

Exercise 1: Infraspinatus Strengthening

Perform: 3 sets of 10

Attach your band to a stable structure and stand beside it. Externally rotate the arm while holding it at your side (be cautious not to allow the elbow to move too far away from your torso).

Exercise 2: Subscapularis Strengthening

Perform: 3 sets of 10

This exercise involves rotating the arm into the body. Like the last exercise be careful to maintain your elbow at your side.

Exercise 3: Deltoid and Supraspinatus

Perform: 3 sets of 10

Stand on the band and raise both arms to the side. Be cautious as this can aggravate pre-existing supraspinatus issues. As a preventative measure however this is a great addition to any shoulder routine.

Exercise 4: Rhomboid Rows

Perform: 3 sets of 10

As you perform this exercise be careful not to raise the shoulders. You should feel your shoulder blades come together at the back in a controlled, smooth motion. Also, be sure not to elevate the elbows or lurch the head forward.

Exercise 5: Wall Angels

Perform: 2 sets of 10

Ideally, this should be done against a wall to align one's posture. The goal is to open up the chest and teach us how to move our upper limbs while maintaining correct posture.

Mobilization 1: Thoracic Opener

Perform 2 sets of 10

This mobilization can also be performed at the beginning of the routine to get your mid-back moving well. Good spine (thoracic) mechanics are essential to shoulder function, not to mention this mobilization feels great!

Congratulations, that's the end of this workout! Remember, they key to fitness is consistency. Good form is also important and it is okay to take a break! It is better to have correct form and work a little less hard than to engrain poor movement patterns into your memory. Be sure to check back into the blog for more exercises and health tips.

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