Shoulder instability is a common injury I see every season working with elite sportsmen and women. 28% of all injuries are to the shoulder, and in contact sports like rugby the chance of shoulder injury is remarkably higher. For every 1000 hours played, there are just over 40 shoulder injuries reported. The tackle is the main mechanism of shoulder injury, followed by scoring a try, which if you are a New Zealander, puts you at significantly higher risk due to our ability to score more tries than most.
When rehabilitating shoulder instability I like to particularly include a couple of my favourite exercises. A theraband shoulder extension, and a theraband front raise. My 2 exercises of the month!
Yes you are right to think these exercises work larger muscle groups, especially the deltoid which provides movement more than stability. But there is an interesting counter stabilisation that occurs in the shoulder to maintain and enhance shoulder stability. Let me explain further. If you are doing a front raise you generate force by contracting the anterior deltoid, the big muscle at the front of the shoulder. To counteract the movement and stabilise the shoulder you need to activate the posterior stabilisers to achieve the exercise. The arm moves forward and works the rotator cuff at the back of the shoulder.
Let’s take a look at these 2 exercises a little closer.
Front raise is an easy exercise to set up. You can stand on one end of the theraband, and grip the other end. Simply lift your arm forward to about shoulder height. Avoid shrugging your shoulder.
Aim for 8-12 repetitions and 2-3 sets.
Theraband shoulder extension is another easy to do exercise. Fix the band to a solid structure, or tie a knot in one end of the theraband and shut it in a door at about hip height. Pull the band backwards just past your hip. Try and keep your elbow straight and avoid hitching your shoulder. Again I would recommend 8-12 repetitions and 2-3 sets.
These 2 simple exercises will compliment any shoulder program and particularly help when rehabilitating after injury or surgery. If you would like to know more about shoulder exercise, avoiding injury, rehabilitation after injury or guidance post op come in and see one of our friendly and experienced Physiotherapists at four convenient locations.
Papalia et al. (2014) Rugby and shoulder trauma – a systematic review. Transl Med UniSa. 1;12:5-13.