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Shoulder pain and shoulder injuries related to the rotator cuff are common issues within the general population and among athletes. This article will provide you with background knowledge and practical suggestions on how to prevent or improve conditions of this muscle group through stabilization and strengthening exercises.

In part one we learned that a correct length-tension ratio of the rotator cuff muscles is crucial for shoulder function. If an improper ratio occurs the resulting compensation pattern can lead to secondary latent trigger points, which have the capacity to further alter muscle actions. This was demonstrated by Lucus and colleagues who showed altered muscle activation patterns caused by trigger points led to inefficient muscle function and resulted in early muscle fatigue predisposing the athlete to injury. (1) As indicated in the previous article and in the NASM Essentials of Corrective Exercise Training text, this is one of the primary reasons why self-myofascial release should be integrated into most exercise programs.

Here we’ll discuss stabilizing and strengthening the muscles of the shoulder complex since we now know a few strategies to restore the proper length-tension ratio. When working with an athlete or weekend warrior you will likely find altered motor control if they’ve ever had shoulder pain or an injury even, if they are not currently experiencing pain. This is due to the fact that pain causes a motor response that stimulates certain muscles while inhibiting other ones, which persist even after the pain resolves. (2)

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