Lifting children, typing on the computer, shopping, cleaning, driving and cooking are just some of the common actions often required to be completed multiple times a day by a woman's shoulder. The best way to prevent shoulder injury and pain is to focus on the shoulders during strength-building exercises multiple times a week.
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Before exercise, it is important to know what muscles should be focused on. The anatomy and exercises are similar for females and males. The shoulder consists of more than 15 muscles, and the main support system of the shoulder is called the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff consists of the subscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus and teres minor. Of these, the supraspinatus is the most commonly injured. All of these muscles have different actions and need a strengthening workout. There are six main motions that the shoulders accomplish. These are flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, external rotation and internal rotation. These motions are the ones that will need to be done to accomplish the best workout.
Equipment for strengthening the shoulder can be as simple as using a soup can or a bottle of water as a weight. You can also purchase small hand weights or a resistance band. While weights are useful and will work, resistance bands give a more targeted workout for the muscles of the shoulder. Before beginning any exercise, be sure to stretch all of the muscles that are going to be strengthened and warm up. Do these strengthening exercises within a pain-free range.
Flexion and Extension
Flexion is the motion where the arm is at the side and is raised toward the ceiling in front of the body. If using a resistance band, the most resistance should be felt as your arm is in front of your body and parallel to the ground. Extension is the motion where your arm is at the side and is pushed straight back behind your body. If using a resistance band, the most resistance should be felt as the arm reaches the farthest point behind your body.
Abduction and Adduction
Abduction is the motion where your arm is at the side and raised away from the side toward the ceiling. If using a resistance band, the most resistance should be felt when your arm is parallel to the ground. Adduction is the motion where your arm is at your side and is moved across the front of your body towards your other hip. If using a resistance band, the most resistance should be felt as the arm reaches the other hip.
External Rotation and Internal Rotation
External rotation of the shoulder is when your elbow is pressed firmly against your side, with your elbow bent and your thumb pointed toward the ceiling. Then move your forearm away from your body, keeping the elbow pressed against your side. If using a resistance band, the most resistance should be felt as the forearm is farthest away from your body. Internal rotation of the shoulder is when your elbow is pushed firmly against your side, with the elbow bent and the thumb pointed toward the ceiling. Then move your forearm toward your abdomen. If using a resistance band, the most resistance should be felt when the forearm is closest to the stomach.
Consult a physician before beginning any exercise routine. To ensure proper execution of strengthening exercises, perfrom under the supervision of an athletic trainer, physical therapist or recommending physician.