Shoulder instability is a common problem that can cause pain and discomfort, as well as limit your ability to participate in sports and other physical activities. Fortunately, there are a variety of exercises that can help improve shoulder stability and reduce the risk of injury. In this article, we’ll discuss five exercises for shoulder instability that have been recommended by Dr. Brian Cable, an orthopedic surgeon and Sports Medicine Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
“As an orthopedic surgeon, I see many patients with shoulder instability. While surgery may be necessary in some cases, I always recommend starting with conservative treatments, such as exercises to improve shoulder stability,” says Dr. Cable.
External Rotation with Resistance Band
“The rotator cuff muscles are often neglected in many exercise programs, but they are crucial for shoulder stability. That’s why I recommend exercises like external rotation with a resistance band to help strengthen these muscles,” explains Dr. Cable.
To perform this exercise, start by attaching a resistance band to a stable object at waist height. Stand with your affected arm closest to the anchor point, and hold the other end of the band with your hand. Keep your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle, and rotate your forearm outward, away from your body, while keeping your upper arm still. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for several repetitions.
“Wall push-ups can help strengthen the muscles in your chest, shoulders, and upper back, which can improve overall shoulder stability,” says Dr. Cable.
To perform this exercise, stand facing a wall and place your hands on the wall at shoulder height, slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Lean forward and bend your elbows to lower your chest toward the wall, keeping your body straight. Push back up to the starting position and repeat for several repetitions.
Scapular Retraction with Resistance Band
“Improving scapular retraction is key for improving shoulder stability. Exercises like scapular retraction with a resistance band can help activate and strengthen the muscles that are responsible for this movement,” explains Dr. Cable.
To perform this exercise, attach a resistance band to a stable object at chest height. Hold the other end of the band with your hands, and stand with your arms extended in front of you at shoulder height. Pull your shoulder blades together and down, keeping your elbows straight. Hold for several seconds, then release and repeat for several repetitions.
Prone Horizontal Abduction
“The prone horizontal abduction exercise helps strengthen the muscles in your upper back and shoulders, which can help improve overall shoulder stability,” says Dr. Cable.
To perform this exercise, lie face down on a bench or other flat surface with your arms extended out to the sides at shoulder height. Keeping your elbows straight, lift your arms up toward the ceiling, squeezing your shoulder blades together as you lift. Slowly lower your arms back down to the starting position and repeat for several repetitions.
Shoulder Press with Dumbbells
“Shoulder presses can help strengthen the muscles in your shoulders, which can improve overall shoulder stability,” says Dr. Cable.
To perform this exercise, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height. Press the dumbbells up overhead, keeping your elbows close to your body. Slowly lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position and repeat for several repetitions.
In conclusion, shoulder instability can be a frustrating and painful condition, but with the right exercises, it can be managed effectively. Dr. Brian Cable recommends incorporating these five exercises into your routine to help improve shoulder stability and reduce the risk of injury.
“As always, if you experience any pain or discomfort during these exercises, stop immediately and consult with a medical professional,” advises Dr. Cable. “And remember, these exercises are just one aspect of a comprehensive treatment plan for shoulder instability. Be sure to work with your doctor or physical therapist to develop a plan that is tailored to your specific needs and goals.”
By incorporating these exercises into your routine and working with a medical professional, you can help improve your shoulder stability and get back to the activities you enjoy.