Are you keeping your shoulders safe? The shoulder is one of the most dynamic joints in the body. It enables the arm to move 360 degrees with ease. Throughout our life we rely heavily on this sensitive joint to throw, push, pull, lift, swing and swim. Without its wide range of motion, most of our everyday activities would be impossible to complete.

As the body matures, daily wear and tear begins to cause muscle atrophy and loss of elasticity, as well as a reduction in overall strength. As a result, this once powerful joint becomes increasingly susceptible to injuries and chronic problems such as osteoarthritis, bursitis, and other associated aches and pains.

By implementing the right exercises into your weekly workout routine, you can keep your shoulder joint jolly and protected. Here are the top shoulder strengthening moves to try:

You will need a resistance band and free weight for some of these stretches. For best results, practice this entire circuit three times.

Pendulum swing

  • Begin by leaning on a counter or table with your right hand. Your feet should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart to balance and support your body. Bend at your hips and allow your left shoulder to drop so your arm hangs freely.
  • Shift your weight to move your dangling left arm in several directions starting with side-to-side then in a circular motion. These movements should be small and controlled. Repeat for 30 seconds, then practice on the opposite arm.
Pendulum swing
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Pendulum swing

Standing row

  • Securely loop a resistance band to a sturdy object such as a door handle or the post of your bed.
  • Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and grasp the free end of the band firmly with right hand. Pull the band in toward your ribs until you feel a squeeze in your shoulder blade. Hold for two counts.
  • Release the band back to the starting position and repeat 10 times before switching sides.
Standing row
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Standing row

Prone T + I

  • Begin on your belly with your arms out to the sides to form the letter “T.”
  • Avoid lifting your torso or head off the floor for the entire exercise. Instead, use your shoulders to lift your arms off the ground. Once they are up, pull your arms down so your body forms the letter “I.” Repeat this semi-circle sequence 10 times.
T + I exercise
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
T + I exercise

Internal + external rotation

  • From a supine position, extend your arm out to your side, then bend at your elbow to form a 90-degree angle, and let the back of your hand rest on the floor. If you cannot make contact with the floor, get as close as possible.
  • Keep your elbow in contact with the floor as you rotate your forearm forward until your palm side is flat on the floor. Again, if your range of motion is limited, lower as much as possible. Continue this back-and-forth motion 10 times.

If you want to keep sensitive joints strong, you can’t give them the cold shoulder.

Ashley Blake Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach in South Jersey. To learn more about her virtual training program, go to ashleyblakefitness.com.