If you have injured your shoulder or been diagnosed with a rotator cuff injury then this article is for you.
Bad shoulders generally don’t like exercise overhead or ones where the arm is rotated backwards (external rotation).
Today I’d like to outline my 7 favourite exercises that are usually safe for bad shoulders.
Important: Everyone is different and if you experience any pain during any of these exercises then please stop.
1 – Bird Dog
Most people can perform this exercise pain free even if they suffer from shoulder issues.
Starting on all fours with your weight over your arms helps push the arm back into the shoulder socket. Originally from our infant crawling position this is how we first learn to stabilise the shoulder joint.
This exercise also helps condition the core muscles and connect the shoulder to the opposite hip which is vital for pain free locomotion.
Watch a video of the Bird Dog exercise:
2 – Shoulder Taps
Again weight is over the arms but this time the load is increased by alternating between one arm and the other while maintaining a strong core.
A great exercise to condition the core muscles and also prepare you for proper push ups.
Watch a video of the Shoulder Taps exercise:
3 – Kettlebell Slingshot
I use the slingshot as a warm up exercise before most kettlebell workouts.
Moving the kettlebell around the body helps mobilise the shoulder joint, improve grip strength and also strengthen the shoulder stabilisers.
Related: Why I love Kettlebell Slingshots
Watch a Video of the Kettlebell Slingshot below:
4 – Kettlebell Single Leg Deadlift
An exercise that takes a lot of great coordination as well as core strength.
When performed correctly the shoulder talks to the opposite hip via the core muscles. You also condition the all important Glutes and Hamstrings with this exercise too.
Watch a Video of the Kettlebell Single Leg Deadlift below:
5 – Kettlebell Lying Chest Press
Push ups or the bench press are not a great idea with a bad shoulder however you can still work on your chest by performing chest presses from the floor.
Performing this exercise from the floor prevents your arms going too far backwards and damaging the shoulder capsule. Great for stabilising the joint and working on the chest.
6 – Kettlebell Halo
My favourite shoulder girdle mobility exercise.
Depending on the condition of your shoulders this exercise may require only a very light kettlebell but working through the entire range will help open up the shoulders and pump nutrients into the joints.
Watch a Video of the Halo below:
7 – Kettlebell Swing
Providing you do not swing higher than chest height then this exercise will enable you to still condition most muscles in the body including your cardio.
Start with two hands and then work up to one. As the kettlebell pulls your arm forwards your shoulder has to work hard to keep the arm in its socket so excellent for improving shoulder stabilisation.
Watch a video of the One Handed Kettlebell Swing below:
The shoulder joint is a complicated joint that must be looked after especially following an injury.
Overhead exercises tend to aggravate shoulder injuries whereas the 7 above will help pump nutrients into the muscles and joints.
If you experience any pain during these exercises then please stop.
It is always better to do less more often than too much in one go.
I hope these exercises help and your shoulders are back to normal and pain-free soon.
To see more posts about prehab/rehab workouts, go here.