A prior essay in our NBA health and fitness section detailed shoulder injuries that are common to athletes. Fred Tedeschi, ATC, of the Chicago Bulls noted a variety of aliments that one can encounter. This week and next week we will illustrate some of the usual and customary shoulder strengthening exercises. These work particularly well for the rotator cuff injury, however, they can apply to most shoulder situations. If you have a shoulder injury, be sure to consult with your physician or clinical sports medicine specialist to make sure these are appropriate for your situation.

Larry Hughes of the Warrriors is demonstrating the exercises. Larry had “up-close and personal” experience with these last summer when he did a great job in rehabilitation of a rotator cuff strain. These exercises were a main component of his rehabilitation. Proper form is important for all of these exercises and 3 sets of 10 repetitions of each exercise is appropriate.

Shoulder Flexion: Use a lightweight dumb bell and take the arm straight forward to a 90-degree angle. Sometimes the shoulder weakens quickly and a light weight can be a challenge.


Shoulder Abduction: Simply take the arm straight to the side, again to about a 90-degree angle. This is a good exercise for the middle deltoid muscle and the supraspinatus muscle, part of the rotator cuff.


Shoulder External Rotation: Hold the weight with the thumb up and the arm at about a 45-degree angle from the chest. Take the weight straight up to shoulder height. The key to this exercise is the hand position, because that will help strengthen the external rotator muscles of the rotator cuff.

Shoulder Internal Rotation: By reversing the hand position to the thumb down, the exercise emphasizes the internal rotator muscles of the rotator cuff.


Shoulder Extension and Scapula Stabilization: lay on a table or bed and take the weight straight backwards; try to keep the arm straight. This helps the posterior portion of the shoulder and is a great exercise for the muscles that attach to the shoulder blade.


Side Lying Rotation: Notice that Larry is resting comfortably with a towel under his arm, and his elbow bent at 90-degrees. He is rotating the weight from the start position that he is in toward his chest and then back to the start position.


Tom Abdenour in his 15th season as the athletic trainer for the Warriors. He spent his 2000 offseason serving as the athletic trainer for the gold medal-winning USA Men's Basketball Team at the Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. He also stays involved with the community as a member of the NBA's National All-Star Reading Team -- part of the Read to Achieve program.

Abdenour is hosting NBA.com's Gonna Make You Sweat: NBA Health & Conditioning section by answering fan questions and providing his insight and expertise on a series of fitness and rehabilitation issues.