In the first post of this small series on Shoulder Rehabilitation exercises I concentrated on preventative movements. Here I look at the movements you can do immediately after injuring your shoulder and some specific movements you can do through the rehabilitation process. But the key factor in a rapid and complete recovery from any injury is to have the right state of mind.
Most people get into a very negative state of mind when they injure themselves…getting angry, frustrated and despondent. Look, you can’t turn back the clock and your body has the ability to recover if you listen to it’s signals and give it a chance to heal itself. So focus on what you can do, keep positive and if you must continue to exercise, work around the site of the pain. (You can work your lower body instead of the whole body?)
I stated that you can exercise straight after injury, but I did not mean to ignore the pain. When I have injured my shoulders or when people have dislocated their shoulders in sports or testing activities in front of me, the first thing I did and got them to do was bend over slightly, hang the arm of the injured shoulder below it and do small, slow arm circles. If the shoulder was dislocated this would release the tension in the stretched shoulder structures and the shoulder popped back into place in all but one case. (And that person could not get out of that panicked state of mind.) So lean over a stable piece of equipment if you are in a gym, let the arm hang under straight under your injured shoulder the same way as the maneuver described above and do several movements: do small arm circles both clockwise and anti clockwise until,you feel a release in tension and then swing the arm gently forwards and backwards. Don’t swing the arm sideways at this time. Use ice massage to help decrease inflammation and get the shoulder checked out by a Specialist Sports Injury Physician as soon as you can.
Once you know the extent and nature of the injury, you can look at ways to quickly recover but importantly take responsibility in your individual recovery program. By this I don’t mean that you should not use other medical people such as physiotherapists or exercise therapists, but ensure you know exactly what the problem is and how the process of recovery goes. Ask questions and understand what and why of what you are doing in the prescribed program of recovery.
Above is a picture of a young women which is a link to some specific recovery exercises and there are a myriad other ideas for exercises you can do on the Internet in the first phases of recovery, but best use experts so that you know that you are doing the most effective things for a fast and effective recovery.
Here I want to describe a small series of movements you can do after the first phases of recovery. The reason I have had people do these movements is that they cover all the muscles that need to be strengthened in one set without the need to spend a lot of time. People tend to be time poor and their compliance in continuing to do their rehabilitation exercises is not great unless we keep things simple and using the least time possible so –
It is best to lay face down over a Swiss Ball, the ball supporting your hips, legs straight a feet wide and your upper body in line with your legs. You will get the idea from the series of pictures below. Without any resistance to start with make a ‘Y’ shape, then a ‘T’ shape, then a ‘W’ shape and finally an ‘L’ shape with your body and arms. Do 2 -3 sets of 8 repetitions of these four shapes and do them slow and controlled. Once you can handle it you can use very light dumbbells. There are a lot of movements (40 in all) per set because there are two specific movements in the ‘L’ shape you make…so you don’t need to use heavy resistances.
There are other exercises you can do and other pieces of equipment you can use, such as Resistance Bands, but these four movements done this way in this sequence I have found to be the most effective. But before you do this series of movements you must be sure that you have complete rotational movement in your injured shoulder joint.
Once you can do this series of exercises, you can move on to heavier resistances in complete push and pull movements such as Dumbbell Presses and Dumbbell Rows, but hold the dumbbells in the Hammer Position (where your upper arms stay alongside your body throughout the movement). Using heavier resistance exercises where your upper arms are flared outwards from your shoulders will place too much stress on your injured shoulder to start.
- Arm Circles to release tension
- Get Expert Help and Advice
- Regain complete shoulder mobility
- The series of four Rotator Cuff movements
- Heavier resistances in Hammer Position
Question Everything and take control and responsibility for your own body.