Shoulder health is an often-overlooked facet of fitness that can lead to debilitating injury and long-term range of motion issues. The United States Bone and Joint Initiative reports that more than 75 percent of all injury-related healthcare visits in a given year are for musculoskeletal injuries. The complex components of the shoulder are especially susceptible to injury without intentional strengthening and close attention to proper form when exercising.
Common Shoulder Health Problems and Causes
The clavicle (collarbone), scapula (shoulder blade), and humerus (upper arm bone) are the bony parts of the shoulder. Connecting those bones and working the joint are a network of muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Working together, the arm and shoulder blade are meant to move smoothly and without pain or inconsistency. Leading causes of shoulder injury are related to shoulder blade dysfunction and thoracic spine (middle back) issues that lead to shoulder-related compensation and incorrect movement patterns.
When the muscles in the shoulder move in a way that isn’t natural due to compensation for a related problem, there is an increased risk for a shoulder injury. A functional movement screen includes overhead arm moves that can help a therapist or personal trainer identify and address dysfunctional movement patterns before an injury.
How Injury Happens
When you’re performing movements that target soft tissue, you’re working to increase range of motion through mobility while maintaining stable alignment of the shoulder bones. Proper form is also extremely important when performing any kind of overhead movement or weight-bearing exercise. If the movement isn’t aligned properly and well controlled, your body compensates by engaging muscles not meant to perform that work.
The goals of EXOS-recommended shoulder health exercises are:
- Maintain or achieve fluid movement of the shoulder blade through a balanced approach.
- Protect thoracic spine range of motion through controlled movement.
- Improvement of muscle strength to aid in proper performance throughout the shoulder’s full range of motion.
EXOS Fitness Specialists offer detailed instruction and feedback on using proper form when completing exercises, so we always recommend connecting with one of the Mercy Fitness Personal Trainers for a movement screen and at least a few training sessions for injury prevention when starting a new workout regimen or returning to workouts after injury or surgery-related physical therapy.
Targeted Shoulder Exercises
Protect yourself from injury by strengthening the muscles of the shoulder and thoracic spine range of motion with these targeted exercises from EXOS. If you can’t watch the video, download this helpful PDF to try the exercises, and make sure you’re using proper form through every motion. Sign up for personal training with an EXOS Fitness Specialist at Mercy Fitness for the ultimate approach to boosting performance, moving well, and preventing injury during workouts and everyday activities.