Frank Salvatore
Health and Lifestyle

The Importance of Strong Shoulders

August 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The shoulder, one of the body’s ball and socket joints, is a complex joint that allows for motion of the arm. The extensive mobility of the shoulder, however, reduces its stability and increases its vulnerability to injury. Shoulder injuries are common and are often occurring in athletics or in other professions requiring constant, repetitive shoulder movement. It is important to keep shoulder muscles strong to help avoid injury.


Similar to the hip, the shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint that attaches the upper arm to the shoulder blade. The ball of the humerus is held in the socket’s place with muscles (called the rotator cuff), connective tissue (called glenoid labrum), ligaments, and tendons, allowing the arm to move in all directions.

Injury Warning Signs

The most common warning sign of a shoulder injury is pain or discomfort. Some of the injuries that cause this pain include a broken collarbone, dislocated shoulder, and acromioclavicular joint separation. These injuries may go away on their own with time.

However, if the pain is so severe that the shoulder is unable to move or looks malformed, swelling, numbness in the hand, or if a crack is heard during an injury, it is important to seek medical attention.

At-Home Shoulder Rehab

It is important to rest the shoulder until the pain and swelling have gone down. This can be done by icing your shoulder with an ice pack for twenty minutes, three times a day. To prevent damage or pain to the skin, place a barrier between the ice pack and the skin, such as a towel.

At-Home Shoulder Exercises

It is best to prevent a shoulder injury from happening in the first place by doing exercises to strengthen the muscles. Keeping the shoulders strong will help to keep them stable and less prone to injury.

1. Push-ups

This simple exercise can effectively be done at home with no equipment needed. The good thing about push-ups is that you can do them at your choice of difficulty, depending on your needs. While the classic push-up begins with the balls of your feet on the floor and your arms straight, some opt to put their knees on the floor instead, reducing the weight that is put on the shoulder muscles.

Complete a push-up by lowering your body, bending your elbows until the chest is only a few inches from the floor. It is important to keep your body straight, from head to toe, in a plank position in order to avoid putting unnecessary strain on any part of the body. Be sure to tuck your elbows in while lowering yourself to the floor. Remain in the plank position while raising the body back up. Start small with doing sets of 5 push-ups every other day and move up to three sets of ten.

2. Planks

This is another simple exercise that does not need equipment. It requires maintaining the static position of the classic, straight-arm, push-up. Without locking knees or elbows, hold this position for 20 seconds, building up to 90 seconds four times per week.

3. Reverse Fly

This exercise is started with a light resistance band, with one handle held in each hand and both feet standing on the band. Do this exercise by bending the hips 30 degrees, while keeping the back straight. Holding the handles of the bad, keep your arms straight and pull them out to your sides. Hold this for two seconds and repeat 12 times, working up to 3 sets.

4. Standing Rows

These are also done with resistance bands. Beginning in the same position as the Reverse Fly, stand up straight and lift the handles of the band until the elbows are above your shoulders. Stay in this position for two seconds before slowly bringing your hands back down. Do 12-15 repetitions, working your way up to three sets.

5. Empty the Can

Using small dumbbells, stand up straight with feet shoulder width apart. Holding a dumbbell, raise your arm up 90 degrees to the side so it is parallel to the ground. Start with 10 repetitions every other day, working up to three sets of 10 repetitions, with a heavier dumbbell.

It is important to make slow progress while strengthening your shoulder muscles, as they can easily be injured. Try doing these at-home exercises to avoid injury and keep your shoulders in good shape.

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Frank Salvatore