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Build Shoulder Strength

posted: 09/26/2001
by Emily Miller

Ignore your shoulders now, and you may pay later. Skiers often complain of shoulder pain after falling and landing on the joint or catching a pole in bumps or powder. Strength exercises, however, can help prevent injury. Shoulder strength is also key for good posture and solid, pain-free pole plants, especially as you age.

Where To Focus Skiers commonly injure the rotator cuff, which is a group of four muscles responsible for raising, lowering and rotating the arm. "Cuff" describes the way the muscles cover the top of the humerus, or upper arm bone. This exercise will help strengthen the rotator cuff muscles.

How To Do It (A) Lying on your side with the elbow at 90 degrees, hold a light weight (three to five pounds). Place a towel roll between the hip and elbow to support your arm. (B) Using the deep shoulder muscles, raise the weight until it is pointing at the ceiling. Then lower it slowly, resisting the weight as you do so. Perform two sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.

Emily Miller is a ski trainer and a consultant to The Stone Clinic, a San Francisco-based sports-medicine facility. Have a fitness question? Send an email to

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