The Wrong Way to Strengthen Your Shoulder

Many ath­letes and phys­i­cal­ly active peo­ple expe­ri­ence shoul­der prob­lems – pain, weak­ness, or stiff­ness in some com­bi­na­tion.

Maybe you’re one of them — your shoulder’s injured from throw­ing a foot­ball or swing­ing a ten­nis rack­et, too many laps in the pool, or sim­ply try­ing to man­age an unruly dog who’s con­stant­ly jerk­ing on the leash.

Even if you’ve been lucky enough not to throw your shoul­der out of whack from activ­i­ty, there’s anoth­er risk to avoid — inac­tiv­i­ty.

Your shoul­der can also wear down from long hours spent tap­ping com­put­er keys, scrolling with your mouse, and gen­er­al­ly not get­ting out to play.

Top 5 Exercises to Strengthen You Shoulder and Avoid Rotator Cuff Problems

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Discover the simple ways to keep your shoulders on the healthy path.
Start today.

You’re not alone if you have shoul­der prob­lems. Ortho­pe­dists esti­mate that about 600,000 shoul­der surg­eries are per­formed in the Unit­ed States each year.  And the cas­es that require surgery are only a small frac­tion — the worst of the worst.

In light of these dis­mal sta­tis­tics, strength­en­ing your shoul­der mus­cles sounds like a good idea. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, every sports train­er, fit­ness instruc­tor, and phys­i­cal ther­a­pist seems to have his or her own strat­e­gy for strength­en­ing shoul­der mus­cles.

And approach­ing shoul­der exer­cise the wrong way can back­fire.

Where Danger Lurks

You prob­a­bly already know that the shoul­der joint is a clas­sic “ball and sock­et” joint.

The end of the arm bone (they call it the “humerus”) is the ball.  Bril­liant­ly sculpt­ed to work in har­mo­ny with the ball, a cav­i­ty on the shoul­der blade (the “scapu­la”) forms the sock­et.

Anatomy of Rotator Cuff Muscles

Anato­my of Rota­tor Cuff Mus­cles

But dan­ger lurks just a few mil­lime­ters above this har­mo­nious geom­e­try. Less than half an inch above the humerus there’s a bony shelf formed by the clav­i­cle and scapu­la.

Even while its gyrat­ing through its full range of motion, your arm bone has to fit under­neath this bony out­crop­ping.

But wait — there’s more.

There also has to be room for the ten­dons of the rota­tor cuff mus­cles. It’s easy to pic­ture this space get­ting con­strict­ed, and when it does your rota­tor cuff is sure to expe­ri­ence fric­tion and inflam­ma­tion.

The Key to Rotator Cuff Rehabilitation (And Avoiding Problems in the First Place)

You’ve got to keep your arm bone in a cen­tered posi­tion with­in the shoul­der sock­et.

If the humerus rides up in the joint space, you’re going to expe­ri­ence impinge­ment against the over­ly­ing shelf formed by the clav­i­cle and acromion. That will unleash a cas­cade of prob­lems.

That means you need to devel­op bal­anced strength in the mus­cles that anchor the arm bone in the joint.

The prob­lem is that most of the time we don’t think about these mus­cles at all. Instead, we think about the mus­cles that move your arm in space – push­ing, pulling, swing­ing, lift­ing, reach­ing, and all those oth­er exter­nal actions.

That’s a short­com­ing of most shoul­der exer­cise pro­grams.

You start by hold­ing a weight (or the pad of an exer­cise machine, or a strand of elas­tic band) in your hand. Then you move your arm through an arc in space.

With this type of exer­cise, your mus­cles are orga­nized to con­trol what’s hap­pen­ing way out at the end of your arm – where the weight is mov­ing through space. Your mus­cles aren’t being trained to con­trol what’s hap­pen­ing at the near end of your arm – where the ball fits into the shoul­der joint.

If your arm bone is improp­er­ly posi­tioned in the sock­et, all those reps you’re doing are rein­forc­ing the neg­a­tive pat­tern of impinge­ment.  That will give you shoul­der prob­lems down the road – or make today’s shoul­der prob­lems worse.

The Secret That’s Missing from Most Shoulder Exercise Programs

To address this chal­lenge in the design of exer­cis­es for the shoul­der, I’ve devel­oped a short video – Dr. Lavine’s Top 5 Exer­cis­es to Strength­en Your Shoul­der and Avoid Rota­tor Cuff Prob­lems.

This video intro­duces you to the right ways to exer­cise your shoul­der. It incor­po­rates an inge­nious exer­cise I’ve devised to strength­en the mus­cles that sup­port the arm bone in the shoul­der sock­et. And there are four oth­er core shoul­der exer­cis­es too.

And it will take you less than ten min­utes a day to keep your shoul­der work­ing opti­mal­ly.

If you already have shoul­der prob­lems, these exer­cis­es could play an impor­tant role in alle­vi­at­ing them. And if you want to avoid devel­op­ing prob­lems for the future, this video will be invalu­able too.

Start today.

Read­ers of Your Body of Knowl­edge receive the spe­cial price of only $9.95. (Reg­u­lar Val­ue $17.95)

Once you con­firm your pur­chase, you’ll imme­di­ate­ly receive a return e-mail with a link to the down­load­able video. It’s filled with the valu­able infor­ma­tion you need to get your shoul­ders work­ing and feel­ing right.

And don’t wor­ry — if you’re not sat­is­fied, you can eas­i­ly get a full refund any time in the first thir­ty days, no ques­tions asked.

Top 5 Exercises to Strengthen You Shoulder and Avoid Rotator Cuff Problems

Special for Your Body of Knowledge Readers: Only $9.95 (Regular Value $17.95)


Discover the simple ways to keep your shoulders on the healthy path.
Start today.


About Ronald Lavine, D.C.

Dr. Lavine has more than thirty years' experience helping patients alleviate pain and restore health using diverse, scientifically-based manual therapy and therapeutic exercise and alignment methods.

His website,, provides more information about his approach.

Please contact him at or at 212-400-9663.

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