This exercise gives you strong, sexy and stable shoulders, which are essential for all activities that involve lifting, carrying, throwing, pushing and pulling, and working with your hands. It's also great for anyone with a soft-tissue shoulder strain or injury, often referred to as a rotator-cuff injury.
The rotator cuff, the soft-tissue capsule that surrounds the shoulder joint, is the only support the shoulder joint has against overuse and injury. This exercise targets the external rotators, which are most vulnerable to injury, and also helps align your shoulders, reduce tightness in the front of them and improve your posture. Who will benefit? Anyone who sits at a computer or drives for extended periods of time, participates in a sport or recreational activity that involves throwing or catching, or is at risk of falling.
For this exercise, you need a light- to moderate-resistance band or tube. You can buy one at sports or fitness stores.
• Stand tall, feet hip-distance apart; grasp a resistance band with hands shoulder-width apart. (You can also stand sideways to a door and tie one end of the band tightly around the doorknob and hold the other end in the hand farther from the door, then do the exercise one side at a time.)
• Bend your elbows to 90 degrees and keep your upper arms close to the side of your body (A).
• Keep your shoulders pulled back and down away from your ears, abdominals pulled
in and chest lifted.
• Adjust the band so there is a slight amount of resistance to start.
• Keeping your upper arms in place and squeezing your shoulder blades, exhale and pull the band out to the side until you feel a generous amount of resistance (B).
• Hold, inhale, then exhale as you slowly return to the starting position.
• Repeat eight to 12 times. Perform two to three times per week.
What not to do
• Do not let your elbows leave your side.
• Do not round your upper body or lift your shoulders.
• Do not arch your back.
Rotator cuff consisting of:
• Rear deltoid
• Trapezius (middle segment)
• Teres minor
Protect your shoulders from injury by powering your posture. Here's how.
• Tuck in your chin to align your ears over your shoulders.
• Pull your shoulders back and down away from your ears.
• Pull your navel in toward your spine.
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