Practical advice on achieving healthy shoulder development

Chronic shoulder injuries are common. Balanced workouts, stretching exercises and strengthening the rotator-cuff will help decrease the incidence of shoulder injuries. Here’s practical advice 

Step 1: equalise front and rear strength: the starting point is a balanced program for front and rear shoulder muscle development. Opposing muscle groups are trained equally. While exercises for the anterior shoulder and pectorals develop power, to train just these muscles will unbalance the shoulder.

Step 2: develop good pulling form: it is essential to perform pull or row exercises with correct technique in order to ensure that the middle trapezius, rhomboids and lower trapezius muscles are properly recruited.

Step 3: isolate the rotator cuff: the small but crucial muscles of the rotator cuff are targeted alongside the lower traps to avoid developing dysfunction or weakness.

To achieve the above strategy, these four exercise groups need training:

  1. Subscapularis and pectoralis minor, the shoulder’s medial rotators
  2. Infraspinatus and teres minor, the shoulder’s external rotators
  3. Supraspinatus (top of the rotator cuff), assisted by the deltoid and infraspinatus
  4. Lower trapezius, focusing on scapular depression

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