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Strength Training for the Shoulder

This handout is a guide to help you safely build strength and establish an effective weight-training program for the shoulder.
 
Starting Your Weight Training Program
• Start with three sets of 15-20 repetitions
• Training with high repetition sets ensures that the weights that you are using are not too heavy.
• To avoid injury, performing any weight training exercise to the point of muscle failure is not recommended.
• “Muscle failure” occurs when, in performing a weight training exercise, the muscle is no longer able to provide the energy necessary to contract and move the joint(s) involved in the particular exercise.
• Joint, muscle and tendon injuries are more likely to occur when muscle failure occurs.
• Build up resistance and repetitions gradually
• Perform exercises slowly, avoiding quick direction change
• Exercise frequency should be 2 to 3 times per week for strength building
• Be consistent and regular with the exercise schedule
 
Prevention of Injuries in Weight Training
• As a warm-up using light weights, you can do the rotator cuff and scapular strengthening program (see next page)
• Follow a pre-exercise stretching routine (see next page)
• Do warm-up sets for each weight exercise
• Avoid overload and maximum lifts
• Do not ‘work-through’ pain in the shoulder joint
• Stretch as cool-down at end of exercise
• Avoid excessive frequency and get adequate rest and recovery between sessions.
• Caution:  Do not do exercises with the barbell or dumbbell behind the head and neck.  For shoulder safety when working with weights, you must always be able to see your hands if you are looking straight ahead.
 
Return to Weight Training After Shoulder Surgery
Your doctor or therapist should test your motion and strength and give you clearance before you start weight training.
 
Criteria:
• Full, pain-free range of shoulder motion
• Normal strength in the rotator cuff and scapular muscles

 

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