Anterior instability in the shoulder is the result of increased laxity of the ligaments that support the shoulder joint. Proper strengthening of the shoulder stabilizers can help prevent anterior dislocation or subluxation of the shoulder. Strengthening the rotator cuff muscles and mid-back will help stabilize the humeral head within the joint.
Internal Rotation with Theraband
Internal rotation exercise for anterior shoulder instability is designed to strengthen the subscapularis muscle. Start with a two-foot long piece of Theraband and tie a knot at the top. Place the knotted end in a door jamb at door knob level. Place a folded towel between your waist and elbow. Bend the elbow 90 degrees until the forearm is parallel to the floor. Stand so the back of the palm is facing the door and band resistance is pulling outward. Pull the hand toward the belly button while keeping the upper arm fixed against the body. Return to the starting position and repeat.
External Rotation with Theraband
External rotation exercise is aimed at strengthening the infraspinatus and teres minor. Start with a two-foot long piece of Theraband and tie a knot at the top. Place the knotted end in a door jamb at door knob level. Place a folded towel between your waist and elbow. Bend the elbow 90 degrees until the forearm is parallel to the floor. Stand so the palm of the hand is facing the door and band resistance is pulling inward. Pull the hand outward while keeping the upper arm fixed against the body and return hand to belly button. Repeat.
This exercise will help strengthen the rhomboids, which assist with scapular stabilization. Start with a two-foot long Theraband and tie a knot at the top. Place the knotted end in a door jamb at door knob level. Grab band with either hand and pull until taut. Stand upright, shoulders back and relaxed. Elbows are both 90 degrees and forearm is parallel to the floor. Pull elbows straight back. Imagine pinching the shoulder blades together. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat. Perform exercise with the other hand.
Scaption isolates the supraspinatus rotator cuff muscles. Stand upright with arms rested at the side. Thumbs are pointed forward as in a “thumbs up” position. Rotate thumbs outward. Raise arms to shoulder level. Slowly go back down and stop halfway, about 45 degrees, then go back up to shoulder level. Repeat.
Wall Push-Up with a Plus
This exercise strengthens the serratus anterior, another shoulder stabilizer. Begin facing a wall with arms straight against the wall at chest level and shoulder width apart. Start performing a pushup. Once the chest is at the wall, slowly push away from the wall. It is important for the hands not to lose contact with the wall. When the normal beginning position is reached, continue to push away from the wall. The shoulders will round forward. Hold for two to three seconds. This is the “plus” position. Repeat the exercise.
- Rehabilitation Techniques in Sports Medicine Third Edition; William E. Prentice; 1999
- Kinesiology of the Musculoskeletal System Foundations for Physical Rehabilitation; David A. Neuman; 2002