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How to Improve Shoulder Stability and Function

Like your hip joint, your shoulder joint has a ball-in-socket design, but the socket isn't very deep. In fact, it's quite shallow, which is what allows your shoulder the broad range of motion required to efficiently perform overhead activities.

Stability is provided by a series of strong ligaments which surround your shoulder joint, as well as a number of muscles and their tendons, the most important of which are classified as your rotator cuff muscles.

There isn't much you can do to improve the strength of your ligaments, but you can significantly improve the stability and function of your shoulders by training your rotator cuff muscles.

It's best to use a resistance band, as bands allow for a greater degree of training of your muscles and tendons and the sensory and motor nerves that innervate them. With an elastic resistance band, your muscles and tendons are forced to work through the entire arc of concentric and eccentric exercise, which often translates to better functional strength.

If you can't find a resistance band locally, one that I can recommend can be found online here:

Covered Resistance Band

I prefer covered resistance bands over those that are just exposed rubber because I feel they are safer and more functional for some exercises, but uncovered bands are more than adequate for rotator cuff training.

Before you do the exercises shown in the video above, be sure that your body is warmed up, particularly your core. As a general principle, it is always helpful to warm up to a point where you are perspiring before beginning any resistance work - this improves blood flow to all of the tissues of your body and reduces risk of injury.

Training your rotator cuff muscles really should go hand-in-hand with work to ensure healthy scapular movement and sufficient internal rotation of the ligamentous capsule that surrounds your shoulder joint - you can find some guidance on this in the following video:

If you have any questions on shoulder stability and function, please feel free to leave a comment under either video above at YouTube. Or you can write to me directly at benkim@drbenkim.com.

Please note that traditionally, only four of the muscles mentioned in the first video above have been called rotator cuff muscles - these are your supraspinatus, subscapularis, teres minor, and infraspinatus muscles. I mention the teres major muscle along with the subscapularis in demonstrating internal shoulder rotation training because these two muscles work together in performing this action.

 
 

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