Good Gym Workouts for People With Shoulder Replacements

By Clint Hale

Shoulder replacement surgery can be a painful, life-altering experience. Recovery is no easy feat. However, you can strengthen your shoulder and arm post-surgery through gym workouts, but consult your surgeon or orthopedist first. You'll be able to increase weight and intensity as your shoulder heals.

Shoulder's Importance in Golf

Shoulder muscles--particularly the rotator cuff, latissimus dorsi and pectoralis--are integral to a proper golf swing. So shoulder replacement is an important surgery for a golfer. It is importance to exercise these muscles whether you have undergone shoulder replacement or not. However, if you've had the surgery, it is vital to strengthen your shoulder muscles if you want to return to the golf course.

Low Intensity

If you're not far removed from surgery, it's best to start slow and focus on low-intensity exercises. These stretching, non-weight-related exercises are often allowable right after surgery, while some doctors prefer to wait a while. Perform these exercises in the gym in addition to other non-shoulder exercises like the elliptical machine or treadmill, which keep the rest of your body in good condition while you are rehabbing your shoulder.

Elbow Range of Motion
Hold your arm at a 90-degree angle. Bend and straighten your arm, almost as if you were brushing something off your shirt. Repeat this exercise 30 times, three times a day, to help eliminate elbow stiffness.

Grip Strengthening
Make a tight fist or grip a rubber ball, hold for 10 seconds, then release. Repeat this exercise 30 times, three times daily, to work your hand and prevent blood clots.

External Rotation
Bend the rehabbing arm at a 90-degree angle. With your elbow against your body, use your other hand to rotate your forearm outward, doing so until your arm is pointing in front of you. Perform this exercise 30 times, three times a day.

Higher Intensity

Once your post-surgery shoulder has begun to heal and your doctor has given you clearance to begin lifting weights, numerous exercises can strengthen your shoulder and increase muscle and flexibility. Some doctors allow strengthening exercises only six weeks after surgery.

Barbell Front Shoulder Raise
Standing tall with your legs shoulder-width apart, knees bent and chest relaxed, raise the barbell straight up, focusing weight on your shoulders. When your elbows are aligned with your shoulders, lower the barbell. Repeat 8 to 10 times for three sets.

Machine Shoulder Press
With your back pressed against the back pad of a shoulder press machine, knees bent and chest relaxed, push the weight upward, focusing on your shoulders. Stop just before your elbows are straight, then go back down. Stop when your elbow joints are in line with your shoulders, and reverse the motion back up. Repeat 8-10 times for three sets.

Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Stand tall with your grip shoulder-width apart, knees bent and chest relaxed. Push the dumbbells directly upward, stopping just before your elbows are straight, then reverse the motion down. Lower the weight, stopping when your elbows are aligned with your shoulders, then reverse back up. Repeat 8-10 times for three sets.

About The Author

Clint Hale has worked for a number of media outlets throughout his seven-year career, including the San Antonio Express-News (for whom he covered golf, football, and general features) and He earned a Journalism degree from the University of Texas.

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