6 Exercises To Avoid Thrower’s Shoulder Injuries


As the name suggests, thrower’s shoulder is common in sports that involve throwing, but also in swimming and other activities where the shoulder is exposed to high loads over time. This excessive strain may cause shoulder pain, and it may result in wear and tear type injuries to your rotator cuff muscles or shoulder labrum.

It is often said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Injury prevention in sports is paramount to help you stay involved in your athletic activity longer and with less lost time. These exercises can be performed 2-3 times per week. A visit to your local physical therapist may also be in order to learn the best exercise for your specific condition.


  1. Shoulder External Rotation

Shoulder external rotation with a resistance band is a simple, yet effective exercise to strengthen your rotator cuff muscles.  To perform this, secure a resistance band around a doorknob, keep your elbow bent at​ 90 degrees and tucked into your side, and slowly rotate your arm out. Hold the end position for a few seconds, then slowly allow your arm to return to the starting position.  Perform 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

2. Shoulder Internal Rotation

After performing external rotation, continue strengthening your rotator cuff muscles with shoulder internal rotation.  To do this, simply turn your body around, keep your elbow bent and tucked into your side, and pull your arm in towards your navel.  Again, perform 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

3. Shoulder Abduction

To strengthen your shoulder muscles that help support the joint during overhead activities, start with your arm at your side, hold your resistance band, and lift it out until your arm is parallel with the floor.  Hold this position for a couple seconds, and slowly return to the starting position.  Perform a few sets of 10-15 reps.



4. Side lying External Rotation

An alternative way to strengthen your rotator cuff muscles without a resistance band is to lie on one side with your arm bent at 90 degrees and your elbow on your side.  Start with your hand in front of your navel, then slowly rotate your shoulder so your hand moves up towards the ceiling.  Hold the top position for a couple seconds, then slowly lower back to the starting position. This exercise can be made more challenging be holding a 1-3 pound dumbbell in your hand. Perform 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions of the shoulder external rotation exercise.

5. Biceps and Triceps Strengthening

The biceps and triceps muscles in your arms help to bend and straighten your elbow, respectively.  But both muscles cross both the elbow joint and the shoulder joint, so both are essential in shoulder and arm mechanics during throwing activities. Biceps curls and triceps presses can be performed with resistance bands or free weights and can be done for a few sets of 10-15 reps.

6. The Towel Internal Rotation Stretch

The towel shoulder rotation stretch can be done to help improve overall shoulder mobility.  This is important in the follow-through phase of a throwing or serving motion in baseball and tennis. Perform this by placing a towel behind your back, and grasping it with one hand over your shoulder and one hand behind your back.  Gently pull your lower hand across your back and up. Hold this position for a few seconds, then slowly release.  Repeat the exercise 10 times.

Take away tip

A good shoulder warm-up is essential for keeping your shoulders healthy during workouts and your sport. If you’ve been working out for any reasonable length of time, you’ve probably experienced some shoulder aches and pains along the way, which can be avoided by proper warm up before exercise and well stretching after your workout


Q&A: How to do shoulder external rotation using a rubber band?

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