Exercise Therapy for Loose Shoulder Ligaments

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Loose ligaments can lead to shoulder injuries.
Image Credit: Supawat Punnanon / EyeEm/EyeEm/GettyImages

If you've ever felt like your shoulder "popped out of place," it's possible that you have loose shoulder ligaments. Although you can't directly exercise your ligaments, strengthening activities can help.

Maybe you can reach all the way over your head and touch your lower back with your hands clasped together. Although this is a fun party trick, loose ligaments can increase your risk of other shoulder injuries.

Unfortunately, there's no such thing as exercises to strengthen shoulder ligaments . Once they are stretched out, they stay that way. However, strengthening the muscles around the shoulder joint will help compensate for loose ligaments and reduce risk of further injury.

To improve shoulder stability, strength the rotator cuff — a group of muscles that help keep the ball in the socket of the shoulder joint, and muscles around your shoulder blades. Perform rotator cuff exercises at home, or in a fitness center, with an elastic exercise band.

Read more: How to Recover From a Rotator Cuff Injury — Plus 4 Exercises to Help

1. Standing Rows

Rowing exercises strengthen the muscles between your shoulder blades. As strength improves, use a thicker band.

  1. Secure the middle of an elastic exercise band to a doorknob or in a door hinge at waist height. Face the door and hold one end of the band in each hand.
  2. As an alternative, sit down and wrap the band around the bottom of your feet, as recommended by the University of Wisconsin Sports Medicine.
  3. With your arms at your sides, bend your elbows to 90 degrees.
  4. From this position, pull straight back on the band, squeezing your shoulder blades together as you move.
  5. Hold this position for 3 seconds, then slowly return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat 10 times, working up to three consecutive sets.

2. External Rotation

External rotation turns your upper arm away from your body. Perform the following exercise one arm at a time.

  1. Secure one end of the elastic band to a doorknob or in a door hinge at waist height.
  2. Hold the opposite end of the band in your hand.
  3. Stand sideways with the exercising arm away from the door.
  4. Keeping your arm by your side, bend your elbow to 90 degrees.
  5. Slowly rotate your forearm away from your body as far as possible. Don't let your upper arm move away from your side.
  6. Hold this position for 3 seconds.
  7. Slowly return back to the starting position and repeat 10 times. Work up to three sets.

3. Internal Rotation

Internal rotation is rotation of your arm in toward your body. Perform this exercise, as demonstrated by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, with one arm at a time.

  1. Secure one end of the elastic band to a doorknob or in a door hinge around waist height.
  2. Stand sideways with the exercising arm toward the door. Hold the opposite end of the band in this hand.
  3. With your arm by your side, bend your elbow to 90 degrees.
  4. Slowly pull your forearm in toward your body until it touches your belly.
  5. Hold this position for 3 seconds, then slowly return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat 10 times, working up to three sets.

4. Bent-Over Rows

Bent-over rows target the muscles around your shoulder blades. This exercise can also be performed using dumbbells, as demonstrated by ExRx.net.

  1. Stand on the middle of the exercise band with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Criss cross the band at your lower legs then grab one end of the band in each hand.
  3. Hold your arms straight out to the sides at shoulder height.
  4. Hinge forward slightly at your hips to angle your chest toward the ground. Do not bend your lower back.
  5. Keeping your elbows straight and shoulders out to your sides, squeeze your shoulder blades together as much as possible.
  6. Hold the position for 3 seconds, then slowly return to the starting position.
  7. Repeat 10 times and work up to 3 sets in a row.

Read more: Muscles Involved in Bent Over Dumbbell Rows

Is This an Emergency?

To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 infections, it is best to call your doctor before leaving the house if you are experiencing a high fever, shortness of breath or another, more serious symptom.
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