Basketball season is upon us! We are so excited to see all of the basketball players in the gym and practicing hard. 

With all of the shooting, banging hard in the paint, and diving for loose balls…we want to talk about the one of most common things that can produce pain in the shoulder. 

Playing at this high level means there is little off season for rest and recovery. With the wear and that other sports put on the shoulder, overuse injuries are becoming common.

The shoulder girdle is a dynamic and complex system and can generate huge force. It is extremely mobile and has some inherent instability because of this mobility. The relationship between the shoulder joint and the shoulder blade (scapula) is very important. 

Why strengthen at the scapula?

The scapula is half of the shoulder joint and essentially provides a base for shoulder movement.

Strengthening the rotator cuff muscles without strengthening the muscles that stabilize the scapula does only half the job.

The scapulothoracic joint (where the shoulder blade meets the rib cage) is an area that needs to be trained as well.

Any scapular muscle weakness or inability to position the scapula and then stabilize can result in shoulder joint issues including decreased function or pain.

Dysfunctional movements at the scapula often lead to shoulder and rotator cuff problems. Scapular activation exercises should be part of your sports weight training program.

Weight training programs need shoulder exercises for sports activities that work opposing muscle groups in order to avoid creating muscular imbalances.

For example, a workout that includes a bench press (chest) should have a row type movement (back) to balance out the pushing movement of the bench press.

Below are some exercises to add to your program to improve your shoulder health and allow you to swing with maximum force and efficiency. 

  1. Push-up with a PLUS


  1. Scap pull-up
  1. Plank with shoulder tap
  1. External Rotation with band

If you have questions about these exercises or other injuries, feel free to reach out! 


Your team at Essential Motion Spine & Sport