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7 simple powerful shoulder exercises that will keep your shoulders healthy for life

August 22, 2018 by Etta Hornsteiner in Health and Wellness

woman holding shoulders

Name this body part: it’s the most mobile part of the body, being able to move in several different directions. Because of its wide range of motion, it is easily injured, and, therefore, the most vulnerable part of the body. This part of the body is called the shoulder. It is important to keep your shoulders healthy in order to preserve the quality of your life, and thus your independence.

You need your shoulder muscles to pick up groceries, to reach for items in the cupboard, to turn the wheel of your car, to put on your clothes and/or clean the house, such as in vacuuming or even dusting. Unfortunately, most people do not realize how important their shoulder muscles are until they are experiencing pain and/or stiffness in the shoulder joints or have experienced a shoulder injury. Shoulder issues or problems are common among the not- so-young and old. According to a study in the  Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, rotator cuff tears (internal muscles of the shoulders) were the most common type of injury: In group 1, aged 50-59, 13% patients had tears. In group 2, aged 60-69, 20% patients had tears. In group 3, aged 70-79, 31% had tears, and in group 4, aged 80 and higher, 51% had tears.

The conclusion? Shoulder mobility decreases as you age, so applying the right exercises to keep your shoulders healthy is important to your independence.

Below are 7 exercises designed to keep your shoulders healthy

 

1. Wall Push Up-This push-up will strengthen your arms, shoulders, and chest.

Face a wall, standing a little farther than arm’s length away, feet shoulder-width apart.

Lean your body forward and put your palms flat against the wall at shoulder height and shoulder-width apart.

Bend your elbows and lower your upper body toward the wall in a slow, controlled motion. Keep your feet flat on the floor.

Hold the position for 1 second and push back out.

Trainer’s Tips:

  • Make sure you squeeze the butt and lock in your abs.
  • Aim for 3 sets, 15-20 reps.

 

2. Cable Push-Pull-This exercise engages the core muscles (abdominals and muscles surrounding the hip joints) as well as the shoulders.

Adjust the cable column about shoulder height.

Use split stand. Stand diagonally—one foot in front of the other about 2-3 feet apart.

Grab a handle in each hand.

Rotate your body to the right so that you are facing one pulley and have your back to the other.

Pull with your right arm and push with your left arm at the same time.

Trainer’s Tips:

  • Make sure you squeeze the butt and lock in your abs.
  • Aim for 3 sets, 15-20 reps.

 

3. L Raises-This exercise targets the side of the shoulders. It strengthens and increases the functionality of the back and shoulders.

Lie chest-down on an incline bench set to a 30-degree angle.

Allow your arms to hang down, elbows bent, with your palms facing each other.

Pull your arms up by squeezing your shoulders together. Your hands should face the floor.

Rotate your shoulders so your forearms raise up and your hands are on each side of your head.

Pause, and reverse the motion until you are back in the starting position.

You can also do L Raises standing up.

Trainer’s Tips

  • Make sure you squeeze your shoulder blades together when raising your elbows to the highest position.
  • Perform this movement slow, avoiding any excess momentum.
  • Make sure you squeeze the butt and lock in your abs.
  • Aim for 3 sets, 15-20 reps.

 

4. I Raise-The incline I raise exercise increases range of motion and strength throughout the upper back and shoulders. This exercise particularly targets the front region of the shoulders.

Lie chest-down on an incline bench with a 30-degree angle.

Allow your arms to hang down, palms facing each other.

Raise your arms in front of you until they make a straight line with your body.

Pause, then slowly lower your arms back to the starting position.

You can also do this exercise on the floor.

Trainer’s Tips

• Aim for 3 sets, 15-20 reps.
• Perform this movement slow, avoiding any excess momentum.

 

5. Y Raise-This exercise targets the shoulders and back.

Lie face down on the floor with your arms resting on the floor, completely straight and at a 30-degree angle to your body, so they form a “Y”.

Your palms should be facing each other, so that the thumb side of your hand points up.

Raise your arms as high as you comfortably can with thumbs pointing upwards.

Trainer’s Tips

• Aim for 3 sets, 15-20 reps.
• Perform this movement slow, avoiding any excess momentum.

 

6. T Raise

Perform this like the Y raise, only move your arms so that they’re out to your sides–perpendicular to your body with the thumb side of your hand pointing up.

Raise them as high as you comfortably can.

Trainer’s Tips

  • Make sure you squeeze your shoulder blades together when raising your elbows to the highest position.
  • Hold position or stretch for 20 seconds or longer. You should not have pain. If you do, do not perform exercise. It’s okay if there is a little discomfort but not pain.

 

7. Shoulder Protraction and Retraction

Stand up straight. Practice good posture.

Bring both shoulders forward as far as you can.

Then take the shoulders back as far as you can, squeezing the shoulder blades.

Repeat.

Trainer’s Tips

• Make sure you squeeze your shoulder blades together when raising your elbows to the highest position.
• Aim for 3 sets, 15-20 reps.
• Perform this movement slow, avoiding any excess momentum.
.
Conclusion:
These exercises are designed to correct strength imbalances in the body, especially as you experience aging. Weak back muscles affect the shoulders, because the shoulder muscles are attached to these large back muscles. For example, prolonged sitting weakens the back muscles causing the shoulders to roll forward. Special care should be given to the shoulders because they play a major role in mobility and good posture, especially as you age. Here at Intervention Associates, we care about your health and well being.

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