The human body is an incredible masterpiece. Just like an efficient machine, the body is made up of structures and systems that work together to help us function—consciously and subconsciously. Can you imagine if you had to tell all the muscles and tendons in your shoulders what to do every time you wanted to reach for an object on a high shelf, raise your arm to comb your hair, carry groceries into the house, or lift a child over your head?.
Thankfully, we can perform such everyday movements and activities without much thought. Unfortunately, repetitive motions—especially overhead-throwing motions—increase stress in the shoulder, leading to injury. But by practicing good habits (such as paying attention to your posture) and stretching and strengthening the muscles and tendons in your shoulders, back, and chest, you can keep your shoulders in good health.
Here are eight tips from orthopedics1 and six workouts that will help reduce your risk of a shoulder injury, decrease the stress you place on your shoulders, increase your range of motion, and preserve your shoulders for the long haul.
8 Tips to Protect Your Shoulders
- Be aware of your posture, striving to sit and stand taller by keeping your shoulders back (not rounded or hunched forward).
- Lay on your back or side when you sleep.
- When you carry a backpack, carry it over both shoulders instead of one.
- Avoid carrying a purse over just one shoulder.
- If your occupation (for example, construction or painting) or everyday activities (such as hair styling and drying) requires you to work with your arms above shoulder level for long periods of time, use a footstool to reduce the strain on your shoulders.
- Take regular breaks from repetitive activities.
- Avoid lifting heavy loads with your arms outstretched; lift and carry objects close to your body.
- When you reach for something, keep your thumb up.
6 Workouts for Optimal Shoulder Health
Practicing Pietra Fitness is a great way to keep the muscles in your body strong and flexible. While all Pietra Fitness classes work your shoulders, back, and chest, here are six workouts that specifically target the muscles in these areas.
Live! from Home: Upper Body
Focus: Shoulders, Arms & Upper Back
This 46-minute workout will work your entire body but includes fast-paced flows that pay special attention to your upper body, strengthening all the muscles in your shoulders, arms, and upper back.
TOB: Arms & Shoulders
Focus: Arms & Shoulders
You will definitely feel the burn with this 30-minute arms and shoulders workout—but with modifications, people of all skill levels can benefit from the exercises in this routine. (For an extra challenge, do bicep curls, shoulder raises, and other exercises while holding 1–2 lb weights in each hand.)
If you’re looking for a 30-minute back routine that not only stretches and strengthens your back but also works your core, increases stability in your shoulders, stretches your chest, and engages your entire body, this is your ideal class.
Advent: Armed with Faith
Focus: Arms & Shoulders
Increase your upper body strength and boost your confidence with this 30-minute workout that engages your shoulders, triceps, biceps, back, and entire core with overhead presses, pull-downs, planks, push-ups, and more.
Focus: Back & Hips
Sitting for extended periods of time day after day can cause the muscles and tendons in your back and hips to become tight and sore. This 42-minute workout opens up your back, neck, shoulders, chest, hips, and inner thighs and makes them stronger.
Increase your range of motion and safely stretch and strengthen not only your back but also your shoulders with this 30-minute workout that incorporates a series of twists, bends, chest openers, forward folds, and other gentle movements.
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