Adolescent athletes want to look big in the front. This is why they choose bench press, incline press and biceps curls. This can lead to an over-powerful chest and a weak upper back. This is a prescription for shoulder injury.
The shoulder depends upon the muscles found in the back to maintain proper function. These muscles include: the Rhomboids, Deltoids, Infraspinatus, Supraspinatus, Latissimus Dorsi, Spinal Errectors, External Obliques, and Trapezius.
Strength training these muscles is often referred to a “accessory lifting,” giving the impression that they are not mandatory to strengthen. This is far from the truth. These muscles provide stability to the trunk, for force transfer, and shoulder, for structural support.Latissimus dorsi (Lat) Pulls
Often referred to as lat pulls, this exercise is designed to strengthen the Latissimus Dorsi muscle located on the back. When highly developed, as in a body builder, they will look like wings below the shoulders. This exercise is performed by pulling a bar from over head down to shoulder level. Most commonly, the bar is pulled behind the head. Throwing athletes should pull the bar down in front of the head to avoid high shearing forces at the front of the shoulder joint.
Rows work a multitude of muscles, including: biceps, posterior deltoids, infraspinatus, supraspinatus, teres minor and major, rhomboids, subscapularis, and the spinal errectors. This lift can be performed with various techniques to place more stress on separate muscles. Examples of row variations are:
Shrugs are performed just as the name implies. The athlete holds a bar or dumbbells in both hands and shrugs the shoulders. For optimum shoulder health, the shoulders should be shrugged up and then drawn back, making the shoulder blades touch. This exercise will strengthen the trapezius and scapular (shoulder blade) stabilizers.
Dips are an excellent exercise for the entire shoulder. They can be performed in a variety of positions: sitting on a table, hanging from a dip bar, using a chair with the feet on the floor, or using a chair with the feet elevated on another chair. This exercise trains the scapular stabilizers, deltoids, triceps, and latissimus dorsi. Care should be taken to not go too low while performing a dip. The elbows should not go higher than the shoulders. To do so will apply high shearing forces to the shoulder which may make the athlete predisposed to shoulder dislocations. This is especially true of throwing athletes.
This exercise can be performed standing or laying prone on a bench. The basic motion is that of a fly, only in reverse. The athlete uses dumbbells, starting with the hands hanging at the sides and then raises the arms parallel to the back. This exercise targets the scapular stabilizers, posterior deltoid, spinal errectors, and oblique abdominal muscles. Performing the lift in a standing position will result in more strength gains for core stabilizers.
This exercise strengthens the spinal errector muscles and oblique abdominal muscles. This exercise should be progressed from beginner to advanced. The graphic shows an advanced version.
A beginner exercise is performed on the floor; the athlete lifts their trunk and feet off of the ground and holds this position for approximately 10 seconds. As strength increases more repetitions are added. This exercise is progressed by adding a wedge under the athlete’s waist. Progression can continue until the athlete is performing the exercise utilizing an elevated sit-up chair as the graphic shows.
Internal and external shoulder rotation exercises are a must for the throwing athlete or any athlete that has suffered a subluxed or dislocated shoulder. External rotations emphasize strength in the infraspinatus, supraspinatus and teres minor. Internal rotation strengthens the subscapularis muscle. These muscles form the rotator cuff and are responsible for protecting against shoulder dislocation.
They can be performed with rubber bands or rubber tubing, as the graphics demonstrate. Or they can be performed with dumbbells in a side-lying position.
©2000 - 2009 David Edell
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Last Update for AthleticAdvisor.com: 10/24/2009 12:09:35 AM