Shoulder Stabilization Series

Think about a skeleton. It doesn’t stay together by itself at all. Bones aren’t connected at all once they’re no longer a part of the body, in fact. They require muscles, tendons, ligaments, and connective tissue to keep them in place. 

When a joint is injured, it’s most often these soft tissues that are actually injured. The bones themselves are often just fine. Or if the bones aren’t fine, they tend to be fixable with surgeries like hip or knee replacements, in which surgeons put metal in there to replace the hard bone. The problem is that those surgeries do nothing to fix the underlying issues with the soft tissue that holds the whole thing together. That’s where exercises like the Shoulder Stabilization Series come in. 

What You’re Strengthening

The joints in the body don’t actually do anything. They are simply two bones that come together, in the case of the shoulder in a ball and socket formation. Tendons, ligaments, and joint tissue surround the connection, providing the structure that holds it all together.

The Shoulder Stabilization Series develops muscle tone and strength in the middle trapezius, lower trapezius, deltoids, lats, rotator cuff, and rhomboids. It’s an intermediate level exercise that requires no equipment, though there are variations that use an exercise ball. 

Get Down Low

To perform the Shoulder Stabilization Series, first you have to get down low onto the ground. The reason for this is to allow you to focus entirely on the shoulders while you work them. Note that this series does have variations for sitting, standing, and even using an exercise ball. Physical therapists who use these movements with patients likely have other variations that can be utilized as well. The series progress through I, Y, T, W, and O formations.

  • Lie on your stomach with the arms and legs outstretched. Pull the arms together and the legs together, fingers and toes pointing. 
  • Tighten your core and pull the shoulders back. These two aspects should stay constant throughout the exercise.
  • I Formation – Exhale as you lift your arms off the floor, lifting through the shoulders. Hold for five seconds and repeat three times. Return to neutral.
  • Y Formation – Exhale as you lift your arms off the floor and move into a Y form. Hold for five seconds and repeat three times. Return to neutral.
  • T Formation – Exhale as you lift your arms off the floor and move into a T form, lifting through the shoulders. Hold for five seconds and repeat three times. Return to neutral.
  • W Formation – Exhale as you lift your arms off the floor and bend at the elbow. Your lower arms move to form a forty-five degree angle with your upper arms, upper arms forming the same with the torso. Hold for five seconds and repeat three times. Return to neutral.
  • O Formation – Exhale as you lift your arms off the floor and raise them over your head, forming an O with your palms overlapping. Hold for five seconds and repeat three times. Return to neutral.

An Unsung Hero

Without a properly functioning shoulder joint, you’d hardly be able to get anything done. People who lose function of this joint know exactly how important it is, though they likely never thought about it before they lost that function. Physical therapists created the Shoulder Stabilization Series help out patients who need to improve their function in this critical joint. 

Shoulder joints don’t get enough credit. Though we usually think of the hands and the arms as doing a lot of the work for us in daily life, much of that movement stems from the shoulder joint. When the shoulders aren’t working properly, the Shoulder Stabilization Series can help to get things moving again, or prevent problems before they even arise.

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