Injury Prevention and Rehab: Shoulder Stability

Shoulders tend to be the most common body part injured in the whitewater kayaking world. If you haven’t hurt your shoulder and if it doesn’t give you issues then chances are that you know someone who has had or is having shoulder issues. Labral tears, subluxations, dislocations, SLAP tears, torn rotator cuffs (or rotary cups..) are all common.

Lack of Stability tends to be the reason as to why kayakers get shoulder injuries on the water. Kayaking is back a dominant sport and unless you’re supplementing lateral and anterior shoulder work and stability off the river then you likely have some shoulder instability. The shoulder is a ball and socket joint. Instability happens when the muscles begin to stop supporting the joint and the head of the humerus starts to slip out of socket. Over time the muscles become weaker for one reason or another and then you’re prone to shoulder injuries.

Once you have experienced a shoulder injury, especially a partial or full dislocation, you are prone to more dislocations and further injuries. This is why shoulder stability work should be a part of your weekly routine. The clients that I train that are whitewater kayakers all have to do shoulder stability work with me. Besides just injury prevention and maintenance, shoulder stability work can improve your strokes and rolling. In particular I personally feel that shoulder satiability work can improve your play boating strokes the most.

Below I have posted 2 shoulder routines that you can implement into your time off of the water. 2-3 days a week would be optimal. All you really need are bands for these.

This first routine is for general stabilization. This is great if you’re currently experiencing shoulder issues and pain or are recovering from a shoulder injury.

This second routine consists of more advanced shoulder stability exercises. These are great if you have strong shoulders and are not experiencing too much pain.

As always if you have any questions please feel free to reach out. You can get bands at Amazon.com, Target, Walmart..
Sam

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