4 Minute Warm Up Before Gym For Healthy Shoulders

 In Upper Limb

We’ve all seen people in the gym warming up their shoulders before lifting weights. But what exactly are they doing? Have these people made these exercises up on their own? Did they see a bodybuilder do them once? Did a physio prescribe them? Did their best friends uncle demonstrate them at last year’s Christmas party?

This blog will give you a little bit of an insight into a quick and easy prehab routine you can do before doing any upper body weights in the gym. By doing this prehab routine, you can:

  1. Rehabilitate any shoulder niggles you have ie. Bursitis, impingement, tendinitis, rotator cuff problems or instability
  2. Maintain healthy shoulders post rehab for a shoulder injury/condition
  3. Reduce the risk of you sustaining a shoulder injury in the gym

Before we get into the program, let’s run through a little bit of the anatomy and function of the shoulder joint so you’ve got an understanding on what exactly these exercises do!

Above is your right shoulder. It’s a ball and socket joint. The ball is at the top of your arm bone (humerus) and the socket is on the side of your shoulder blade (scapular). The hip is also another ball and socket joint, but that one is very strong and sturdy and that is why it doesn’t allow for too much movement. Your shoulder is the most dynamic joint within your body. No other joint moves with as much range of motion as your shoulder joint. With this much movement, there has to be some compromise – and that is why the shoulder is actually a pretty terrible ball and socket joint. It’s more like a golf ball on a tee (inherently unstable).

One important structure that is responsible for keeping the ball centred on the tee is the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff consists of 4 muscles that all sit on the shoulder blade and attach to the ball. The rotator cuff synchronously contracts and relaxes with the aim of stabilising the ball in the socket while you move your arm. So when you’re doing a heavy bench press, you’re using your chest muscles (pec major & minor) to press the bar, but the rotator cuff is activating to keep the ball in the socket. When you do a heavy shoulder press, the shoulder muscles (deltoid) press the dumbbells above your head, but the rotator cuff keeps the ball in the socket. Now you know why it’s so important to warm up the rotator cuff!

Above is a quick and easy prehab routine you can implement that specifically activates and strengthens the rotator cuff muscles. The exercises demonstrated are as follows:

  1. Hanging Scap Retractions (2×8)
  2. Banded shoulder external rotations in neutral elbow position (2×12)
  3. Banded shoulder external rotations with elbow at 90 degrees (2×12)
  4. Banded shoulder internal rotations in neutral elbow position (2×12)
  5. Banded shoulder internal rotations with elbow at 90 degrees (2×12)
  6. Banded shoulder elevations (2 x 8)

Give this a go for healthy shoulders and let us know how you go!

George Dooley (APAM)
Master Physiotherapist

George Dooley

Click Here to book an appointment with George today.

Featured in the Top 50 Physical Therapy Blog

Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment