Top 5 Exercises to Improve Shoulder Stability

Stability is important for a healthy shoulder, unfortunately there are some instances where instability occurs causing various degrees of pain and weakness. Shoulder instability is a condition that occurs when the ball and socket joint in your shoulder becomes unstable and moves out of place. This can happen for several reasons, including trauma or overuse of the shoulder joint. The shoulder joint is one of the most mobile joints in the human body therefore it is more susceptible to instability. Inherent stability is provided by the ligaments, tendons and muscles around the shoulder blade which keep the joint stable.

Instability might be exacerbated by ligaments around the shoulder joint being stretched or torn, the top of the arm (humerus bone) can come out of the socket. This is known as shoulder dislocation, and it can cause pain, weakness, poor co-ordination, and instability. Once you have dislocated a shoulder, you are far more likely to suffer shoulder instability in the future.

There are three types of shoulder dislocations:

  • Anterior
  • Posterior
  • Inferior

Anterior is the most common making up 97 percent of dislocations, posterior accounts for approximately two to four percent while inferior is less than one percent of cases. Following a shoulder dislocation, a reduction is performed to realign the shoulder.

Treatment for shoulder instability involve bringing the joint back in alignment or closed reduction, immobilisation (placing the arm in a sling) for a short while, reducing inflammation (using ice or oral medication) and engaging in rehab exercises to strengthen the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It is important to engage in supervised rehab as the incidences of re-injury are high in instability shoulder injuries.

At Surrey Physio we mostly see instability in athletes and the general population. This injury peaks at ages 20 and 60 and is likely due to trauma such as a forceful collision, falling on an outstretched arm or sudden wrenching movement of the arm. Recurrent dislocation is very common within two years in patients who have experienced dislocation previously. Incidences of recurrent dislocation is age dependant and occurs more frequently in adolescent population than in the older population. We work by providing strengthening exercises, advice and manual therapy treatment to help reduce pain and improve shoulder strength and stability.

If you suspected, you have instability in the shoulder please come and see us in clinic. At Surrey Physio we provide an in-depth assessment of your injury and tailor a rehabilitation program to your needs. We are experienced in treating shoulder instabilities and will guide you through your rehabilitation process. In the meantime, please try some of these exercises below.

1. Shoulder Rotation Exercise Using a Dowel Rod

Sit upright on a chair, holding a dowel rod, pole, golf club or broom stick. Keeping your elbows tucked in to your side, gently rotate your arms moving the dowel rod to one side, and then the other side. This exercise will help to improve shoulder mobility.

2. Arm push stability training to your shoulder

With a straight arm, push against a goof ball on the wall. Start gently, and when you feel comfortably, use more strength. The ball will move more as you push with more force. This is a great exercise to improve stability to your shoulder.

3. Core Control 3

Adopt a 4 point position on your hands and knees. Maintain good posture, and gently contract the deep abdominal muscles by drawing your belly button in (towards your spine). Lift one arm in front of you. This exercise strengthens the deep core muscles.

4. How to strengthen your rhomboid muscles

Lie face down, and take your arms out to your side. Squeeze your shoulder blades together lifting your arms just 10-15 cm from the floor. You will feel a muscular contraction around and between your shoulder blades, and in the backs of your arms.

5. Isometric shoulder Internal rotation wall

Stand with your side to a wall or a door frame. Tuck your elbow into your body. Push your arm inwards across your chest, into the wall. Keep your elbow tucked in to your side as you perform the movement. This will cause a contraction of the shoulder muscles. Hold the contraction, and relax. Repeat as required.

(Therapists reading this page, these videos are provided by Rehab My Patient – the best exercise prescription software for therapists to prescribe exercises If you are a patient needing advice, call Surrey Physio to book a telephone/video consultation with one of our expert physios or osteopaths, or book in face-to-face for an appointment. You can call us on 0208 685 6930 or book online by clicking the link at the top of the page).