Shoulder Stability : 6 exercises for Climbers to reduce the risk of injury

shoulder stability climbing

Why train shoulder stability? Why even practice these tedious, boring exercises? Well, for one it reduces your risk of shoulder injury, and two, it can enhance your climbing performance and ability. Now that’s two good reasons for a start!

6 Shoulder Stability Exercises for Climbers. Most climbers focus on getting stronger, doing pull ups, muscle ups, lock off training and weighted dead hangs. These training methods will get your mobilising muscles stronger, however, what about the stabilising muscles? Stabilising muscles work at a lower intensity for long periods of time.

They help with posture and also help the mobilising muscles to function better, therefore making you stronger. The rotator cuff muscles work to stabilise the shoulder. One study found that a decrease in rotator cuff muscle force, resulted in a greater humeral head displacement, making you more susceptible to shoulder injuries. In climbing this is very common and this means a lack of shoulder flexibility, which again isn’t great for climbers.

The following exercises can help injured and non-injured climbers and should be done regularly. The joy of these exercises is that you can do as little as one session a week or do it every other day. However, I’d recommend working up to it or adding some of the following exercises to your warm up.

Gym Ball Prone Balance : a good exercice for shoulder stability

Lie on a bed or the floor on your back. Start off with a tennis ball and try to balance it in your hand. Hold your arm a few inches away from the floor and have a play about with the angles and height. Try to hold it for 15-20 seconds. It should feel easy at first and you should start to feel a burning sensation in your rhomboid muscles and rotator cuff muscles. If a tennis ball is too easy, try to use a football. Again, if this is too easy try to use a gym ball. The gym ball is a lot harder to balance and you should try not to pinch the ball to hold it still. It sounds a lot easier than what it is, so why not give it a go!

Try to complete 5 to 10 reps of 15-second holds. Experiment with different arm positions other than 90-degrees to see which angles are you weakest.


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