Many of the sports related shoulder injuries that bring patients in for physical therapy occur when the shoulder is at it’s end range of motion.
Many assume that stretching and other drills to increase shoulder flexibility are the best ways to address these issues.
However, the issue lies in the ability (or lack-thereof) to demonstrate strength in end ranges of motion.
When in these positions, the muscles that control the shoulder are not able to generate as much force as when they are in less extreme positions. They struggle to control the shoulder joint and this challenge increases the chances of experiencing an instability related injury (like a dislocation) and can wear down the joint over time.
The good news is that we can train strength in end ranges of motion where our shoulders are often most vulnerable.
I recently taught the 2 drills below to a group of Crossfit athletes. In Crossfit, athletes must be able to lift and control heavy weights overhead which requires a large amount of strength in extreme ranges of motion.
These are fantastic exercises to work on these capabilities and you do not need to be a Crossfit athlete to benefit from them. Give them a shot!