Harvard Men's Health Watch

Shoulder shape-up: Keep your body's most flexible joint in top condition

Add strengthening exercises to your regular workout. They also help to recondition stiff and painful shoulders.

The shoulders are extraordinarily flexible and have many moving parts, but this also leaves them vulnerable to the effects of disuse. "The shoulder joint has very few bony constraints, so it's happiest when it's moving a lot," says Dr. Matthew T. Provencher, chief of the Sports Medicine Service at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. You can keep your shoulders strong and limber by including some simple stretches and strengthening moves in your regular workout.

When shoulders are in shape

The shoulder is actually made up of four different joints. They connect the upper arm bone (humerus), shoulder blade (scapula), and collarbone (clavicle). A network of muscles, tendons, and ligaments allow the bones to swing, swivel, and twist.

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