Shoulder Stability Exercises Keep them strong & pain-free

Shoulder stability training is often overlooked.  But if you have shoulder issues, I highly recommend adding it to your warm-up or active rest.

​Shoulder packing is the key to good stability training.  This involves depressing and retracting (pulling down and back) the scapula, which in turn seats the humeral head firmly into the socket.

​Begin with a side-lying static posture and progress to dynamic.  If you have a hard time getting your shoulder to come back far enough, you may want to try some of the tips in my shoulder posture post.

Start with modest weights, 20-30 LBS., and work your way up from there.  I like kettlebells best, but dumbbells work just fine too.

Progressing to the dynamic version adds some great thoracic mobility and should feel good.

Once you have the feel for a good, tight shoulder pack, try this carry.  It ties shoulder and core stability together nicely.

If you have trouble getting your arm straight up without arching your lower back, I suggest delving into my shoulder impingement syndrome post for tips to improve your thoracic extension.  It doesn’t mean you have an impingement, but some of the posture issues could be the same.

If that’s the case, you’ll see an improvement within 5 minutes and know if you’re on the right path.

Here we start adding a lot more movement to the shoulder pack.  You may feel a nice stretch in your pec and/or anterior delt.

I’m throwing this guy in because it feels so damn good!  Not only great for shoulder stability, but it slaps your posterior chain awake while getting an awesome diagonal stretch across the whole front of your body…wrist, shoulder, trunk, hip, thigh.

This is the 4th post in my Shoulder Overhaul series.  You can them all here:


  • I’ve had long term elbow overuse/inflammation issues, even when I’m not doing much. I assume it’s about posture and not activating using my body correctly (shoulders?) for tasks.
    Are shoulder exercises likely to help?

  • Maybe, maybe not. It depends on what the actual issues are. These exercises focus on stability through a wide range of motion. I suggest seeing a doctor to get clarity on what your issues are.

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