Learning to focus on and work the shoulder area successfully can make a world of difference in how you look, feel, and perform.

The shoulder area is one of the most anatomically complex areas of the body and is prone to injury and dysfunction. It is also an area that we often neglect to take care of properly.

The shoulder consists of three primary bones: the clavicle (the long, narrow bone at the front of the chest right below the neck), the scapula (the wing-shaped flat bones that lie in the back of your rib cage), and the humerus (the bone at the top of the arm that articulates with the shoulder and elbow.

To strengthen the shoulder you must have strong rotator cuff muscles. The rotator cuff muscles are a group of muscles that surround the top of the arm bone (the humerus) to secure, stabilize, and adjust it in the socket.

The rotator cuff is more of an endurance muscle group than a strength muscle group (like the bicep), so training in this area should focus on light resistance and a high number of reps.

The mobility of the scapula is essential for correct shoulder mechanics. Proper scapula mobility is characterized by scapular movement that coordinates smoothly with the motions of the spine and the humerus. A well-oiled scapula should glide along the back of the ribcage like a bar of soap, sliding up and down, apart and together.

Our Goal

We want to perform specialized exercises to increase the strength, stability, and mobility of the shoulder area.

Here’s How: The following are some great exercises that will help us reach our goal.

Rotator Cuff Strengthening

This is a very simple exercise that anyone can do. All you need is a wall. Bring the left side of your body to the wall. Bend your left arm so that the elbow is in line with the wrist. Create a small space between the waist and the elbow or put a small folded towel between the waist and the elbow.

First, press the arm into the wall while keeping the torso upright. Feel the external rotators at the top of the shoulder working. Hold this for ten seconds. Then bring the hand toward the body, pressing the elbow into the wall. Feel the internal rotators working at the top of the shoulder. Hold for ten seconds. Do a few reps of each and change sides.

Improved Scapular Mobility

All you need for this exercise is a stool and a dowel (or you can use a broom handle).

Sit on a stool and hold the dowel in front of you with both hands, parallel to the floor. Make sure the sternum stays over the pubic bone during the entire exercise. Keeping the arms straight, bring the dowel in front of the chest and line up the wrist with the shoulders. Inhale and shrug the shoulders to the ears. Exhale and slide the shoulders away from the ears. Feel the head float off and away from the shoulder girdle.

Do this sliding of the scapula up and down six to ten times.

Next, stay in the same position and keep drawing the shoulders away from the ears. Inhale and draw the inside border of the shoulder blades (scapula) together. Now exhale and draw them apart. Feel the shoulder blades as they try to wrap around the front of the body. Repeat this motion six to ten times.

It’s important to keep the arms straight for all of these movements. The scapula should be able to slide independently without bending the elbows, creating maximum glide along the back of the ribcage.

Hot Tip

To keep the balance of strength and flexibility in the shoulders, try to do both the rotator cuff and scapula glide at least three to four times a week.

If you’d like to add a little extra, hold the dowel parallel again. Keep the arms straight and create small but full circles at the top of the shoulder. Do six circles forward and then six in reverse. This will help the shoulder area function and glide optimally and create synovial fluid in the joints.

Thanks for reading! Leave us your thoughts below.

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  1. Tam479

    Thanks for the tips

  2. JenniferGianni

    I am happy to hear you enjoyed the article. If any client questions come up please let us know on the forum.
    Love, Jen