Picture a golf ball sitting on a tee — unsupported and unprotected on all sides but one, an inviting target to get smashed with some iron. That’s how you should think of your vulnerable shoulder joints, and treat them accordingly.
Contrary to popular belief, the shoulder isn’t a true ball-and-socket joint. Think about our golf ball analogy and you’ll realize that such an arrangement lacks the solid structure and function of a ball-and-socket joint like the hip. As a result, your shoulders are highly susceptible to injury when mistreated.
The idea, according to trainer Kyle Brown, CEO of FIT365 in San Diego, is to incorporate a series of shoulder stabilization exercises that provide a form of insurance for your shoulders. This is especially important when the goal of your delt workouts is to add size. As you gain significant amounts of muscle and start handling heavier loads in the gym, you need to reinforce the latticework that holds it all in place: your stabilizer muscles.
“Your shoulders can move within a huge range of motion,” Brown says. “And they’re more likely to get injured than other areas because there are so many different movement patterns that can occur. If you don’t take preventive measures, it can set you back with injuries and the time off you’ll have to take.”
When you focus solely on hypertrophy (muscle growth) without any consideration for the stabilizing muscles, you careen down a path to instability, asymmetry and eventually injury. The more muscle you pack on your frame and the more weight you can lift, the more you need these vital stabilizers. Neglecting these smaller muscles is akin to framing a house before you pour the foundation: One stiff wind and your entire project will fold.