Most people underestimate the importance of our shoulders in our everyday life. Our hands and arms usually get all the attention but it is really the shoulders that carry our arms. People who participate in sports like tennis and basketball, where there is a lot of shoulder rotation, will tell you how important it is to have strong and healthy shoulders. A lot of things can bring about shoulder pains and discomfort. Simple things like sitting hunched in front of the computer or having bad posture can really put a strain on your shoulders. Doing isometric shoulder exercises can help alleviate shoulder pains by strengthening the muscles of the shoulders.
WHAT IS AN ISOMETRIC SHOULDER EXERCISE
Isometric exercise is a form of exercise in which you execute an isometric muscle contraction. In an isometric muscle contraction, the muscle exerts force without changing its length. Unlike traditional exercises like weight lifting which involves lengthening of the muscles, isometric exercises have little or no joint movement. In an isometric shoulder exercise, the shoulders are held in a non-moving or stable position to isolate the targeted muscle. The muscle is then allowed to grow stronger through resistance without movement or pain. By gradually increasing the resistance, the shoulder muscles grow in strength and endurance.
BENEFITS OF AN ISOMETRIC SHOULDER EXERCISE
Isometric shoulder exercises have great benefits in the rehabilitation of shoulders. Since these exercises generally involve no shoulder movement, shoulders are less likely to get injured and the healing process is not jeopardized. Shoulder muscles are strengthened gradually and therefore become less prone to injury.
ISOMETRIC SHOULDER EXERCISES
There are many isometric shoulder exercises designed to strengthen and develop the shoulder muscles. It is wise to keep in mind that isometric exercises may raise the blood pressure considerably, so those who suffer from high blood pressure must exercise with caution. Good posture and form is also important in achieving maximum effect. For optimum results, it is best to do these exercises at least twice a week.
Isometric Push Ups – Bring your body to a normal push up position with your arms extended under your shoulders and your back straight. Tuck in your abdominal muscles and gently lower yourself halfway to the floor. Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds. Push yourself back up to the starting position. Remember to continue breathing while holding the position. Repeat the exercise 3 to 5 times.
Isometric Shoulder Internal Rotation – This exercise uses the subscapularis muscle of the rotator cuff. Stand in a corner of a room, or in a door frame for support. Place your feet hip-width apart and bend your elbows at 90 degrees. Place your right forearm against the wall. Strengthen your core muscles and begin pushing into the wall with your arm. Hold the position for 5 to 10 seconds then relax. Repeat 3 to 5 times then switch arms.
Isometric Shoulder External Rotation – This exercise uses two of the rotator cuff muscles: the infraspinatus and the teres minor muscles. Stand with the your left side against a wall. Place your feet roughly hip width apart and bend your elbows 90 degrees. Flex your core muscles and begin pushing into the wall with your forearm. Hold the position for 6 to 12 seconds then relax. Repeat 3 to 5 times then switch arms.
Isometric Shoulder Raise – This exercise isolates the deltoid muscles of the shoulders. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Tuck in your abdominal muscles as you lift both arms to your sides until they are parallel to the floor. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds before lowering your arms back to your sides. Repeat this exercise 3 to 5 times.
Isometric Shoulder Flexion – Doing this exercise will target the muscles on the front of the shoulders. Stand and face a wall, placing your feet hip-width apart. Put your arms straight at your sides. Pull in your abdominal muscles while you push the walls with your hands. Keep your body still and resist any movement. Hold the position for 5 to 10 seconds, then relax your arms back at your sides. Do 10 repetitions for each side.
Isometric Shoulder Extension – This exercise will isolate the posterior muscles of the shoulders. Stand with your back against the wall and your feet hip-width apart. Place your arms at your sides with your elbows straight. Place your palms against the wall and push against the wall. Keep your body still and resist any movement. Hold the position for 5 to 10 seconds, then relax your arms back at your sides. Do 10 repetitions for each side.