Overuse of the shoulder joint can cause friction to build up due to the movement of tendons and ligaments over the bone of the shoulder. Over time this can cause bone spurs to develop on the bone of your shoulder and these spurs can be painful.
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Bone spurs, however, can be avoided. The best way to prevent these spurs from happening or to work around them if you have them is to strengthen the stabilizer muscles that surround your shoulder joint.
1. Standing Cable External Rotation
Rotator cuffs tears are the most common injury among baseball players. Injuries to the muscles of the rotator cuff can easily happen by incorrectly performing bench presses, too.
The rotator cuff muscles include the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, the subscapularis muscle and teres minor. These four tiny muscles function to stabilize and support the shoulder through its natural movement.
If you work at a desk or computer all day, your shoulders are constantly internally rotated which can lengthen and weaken these muscles. Strengthen these muscles by performing cable external rotations.
HOW TO DO IT: On an adjustable cable machine, move the cable until the handle sits between your belly button and bottom of your chest. Then grab the handle in your right or left hand. Your elbow should be close to your body with your forearm crossing your belly.
Pull the cable as far away from your body as you can, keeping the elbow as close to your body as you can. Then slowly return to the starting position. Perform three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.
2. Dumbbell Lying Shoulder External Rotation
Cable external rotations are an excellent way to warm-up your rotator cuff muscles. The dumbbell lying external shoulder rotation, though, is the best way to train your rotator cuff after you’ve finished bench pressing or overhead pressing.
You’ll want to use light dumbbells here. The exercise targets smaller muscles that already assist in larger motions so you don’t need to hit them with heavy weight.
HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your side on a yoga mat. Keep your knees slightly bent but stack your legs on top of one another. Grab a dumbbell and place your elbow against the side of your hip and leg, resting your forearm on your belly.
During the exercise your elbow should work like a small hinge. Externally rotate your shoulder and lift the dumbbell it’s parallel with the side of your body. Perform two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps per side.
3. Reverse Flyes
Like the rotator cuff muscles, the rear deltoid is often neglected or overlooked in your training. Reverse flyes strengthen your rear deltoid, but they also recruit the muscles of your rotator cuff. It’s an exercise you should do at the beginning of your chest or shoulder workout and the end as well.
HOW TO DO IT: Grab two light dumbbells and stand with your feet hip distance apart; alternatively, sit on a workout bench. Push your hips back until you have a slight bend in your knees and your chest is pointed toward the ground. Your elbows should also have a slight bend in them and your palms face one another.
Lift your arms, maintaining the softness in your elbow joints, until your arms have reached the same height as your shoulders. Pause for a second and then return to the starting position. Perform two sets of 15 to 20 reps.
Have Consistent Pain?
No matter what, if you’re suffering from constant pain, always seek the opinion of a medical professional before doing these exercises. Once they’re able to advise you of a proper set of actions, only then should you include these exercises.
If you have no pain, adding these exercises to your work-out routine can help you improve your shoulder health and stability. Include these movements on days that you train your chest or shoulders.