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Isometric Exercises for the Shoulder

author image Michael Shiva Best
Michael Shiva Best is a writer with Bachelor of Arts degrees from Eckerd College. He lives and works in Orlando, Fla.. and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.
Isometric Exercises for the Shoulder
A woman is learning shoulder exercises from her physical therapist. Photo Credit Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images

Isometric exercises can be a great way to build or regain shoulder mobility, stability and strength. Isometrics are static rather than dynamic exercises, which means that the angle of joints and length of muscles utilized do not change noticeably during contraction. You can make almost any dynamic exercise isometric by simply holding the movement at its hardest part, and you can do them anywhere with little or no equipment.

Advantages of Shoulder Isometrics

Doing isometric exercises as part of your shoulder training can add variety to your routine and increase muscle mass. While the regular eccentric and concentric muscle contractions from dynamic exercise may be better for increasing strength through added range of motion, isometrics actually have a higher level of muscle activation. Also, performing light isometrics at various angles can strengthen the notoriously weak rotator cuffs, a group of four small muscles that stabilize the shoulder. Rotator cuffs are often the cause of shoulder injury, and using isometrics to strengthen or rehabilitate is a good way to avoid further injury.

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Disadvantages of Shoulder Isometrics

Isometrics can be a good addition to weight-training routines, but they should not be the only source of shoulder exercise. Isometric exercises have been shown to cause blood pressure spikes that can be harmful to cardiovascular health if performed too often and without proper rest. Also, because isometric exercises do not focus on dynamic use of the shoulder, they can decrease shoulder coordination, movement speed and elasticity. However, as long as isometrics are performed with other types of exercise, adequate stretching and recovery, all of these problems can be mitigated or avoided.

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