Off-season shoulder care for the recreational athlete

Agnesian Bone & Joint Health
Shoulder Injury

Shoulder pain with overhead sports? Whether it be volleyball, softball, tennis or any other sport, you are not alone. Being a former collegiate volleyball player, I am very familiar with shoulder pain and how much it can impact your life.

The shoulder is a ball and socket joint. While this makes it one of the most mobile joints in the body, it also makes it one of the least stable. Due to the fact that the shoulder isn’t overly stable, it is also prone to injury. Repetitive overhead sports or activity can increase your risk for shoulder injury and pain.

The shoulder relies on muscles and ligaments for stability. It is important to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder to decrease your risk for shoulder injury or pain. As an overhead athlete, it is even more important to keep your shoulder strong. The following three exercises are a good way to do just that.

During your off-season: Do these three exercises at least four times per week.

During your season: Do these three exercises at least two times per week.

1. Sidelying External Rotation

- Lie on side   

- Bend elbow to 90 degrees

- Place towel roll between elbow and side

- Lift arm with elbow bent           


2. Prone T                       

- Lie on stomach

- With arms straight, lift arms (palms down) while squeezing shoulder blades

3. Prone Y

- Lie on stomach

- With arms straight. lift arms at a diagonal while squeezing shoulder blades


*For each exercise, do 10 to 15 repetitions with either the weight of your arm, a soup can, or a light hand weight (one to two pounds).

Most shoulder injuries and pain can be treated conservatively. However, if you have shoulder pain that is not improving, see a healthcare professional.  

(exercise pictures:



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Agnesian Bone & Joint Health Rehab Gym Fond du Lac

Agnesian Bone & Joint Health

Patients receive individualized assessment and treatment within Agnesian Bone & Joint Health’s continuum of care, from diagnosis to rehabilitation. The team features board-certified orthopedic surgeons, podiatric medicine and surgery (foot and ankle), physical therapists, athletic trainers and physical therapy assistants. The rehabilitation staff at Agnesian HealthCare’s Sports & Spine Center specializes in one-on-one treatment in state-of-the-art facilities.

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