What Are Shoulder Dislocates?

Rebecca Mecomber

The term "shoulder dislocates" does not refer to the shoulder joint injury in which the upper arm bone is displaced from the shoulder bone. Shoulder dislocates are a form of shoulder exercises. These exercises stretch and strengthen the chest, upper arms and shoulders. Shoulder dislocates are a common exercise in weightlifting and flexibility training.

Weightlifters often practice shoulder dislocates to help improve their flexibility and stamina.
Weightlifters often practice shoulder dislocates to help improve their flexibility and stamina.

For a shoulder dislocate, the athlete stands erect, gripping the ends of a long dowel, towel, bungee cord or resistance band in front of him or her. Slowly, with elbows straight, the athlete lifts the dowel over his or her head in an arc. In a smooth circular motion, the exerciser lowers the dowel behind the head and then down behind the hips. To complete the exercise, he or she raises the dowel from behind and over his or her head in an arc-like motion, and slowly lowers the dowel back to the front of the body. Should dislocates generally are repeated several times to stretch the muscles surrounding the shoulder joints and the muscles in the chest and upper arm.

It is important that shoulder dislocates be performed with proper form in order to prevent injury.
It is important that shoulder dislocates be performed with proper form in order to prevent injury.

These strenuous exercises are called shoulder dislocates because they make the person feels as if his or her arm and shoulder joint will dislocate. Done slowly and properly, the shoulders will suffer no injury from shoulder dislocates. Expert trainers recommend that beginners use a long dowel or bungee cord and keep their arms positioned widely. This technique will help to avoid strain and possible injury. The wider the grip, the easier the arc movement will be.

Weightlifters, gymnasts, sports players and other high-profile athletes commonly practice shoulder dislocates to increase flexibility and stamina. Personal trainers help ensure that shoulder dislocates are performed properly, with arms wide apart for beginners, to avoid shoulder joint injury. As the athlete gains strength, he or she is able to shorten the distance between the hands while gripping the dowel or resistance band. Beginners should always perform only a few shoulder dislocates and work up to a more extended regimen as their strength and stamina builds.

Physical therapy may be beneficial for someone who has experienced injury from shoulder dislocates.
Physical therapy may be beneficial for someone who has experienced injury from shoulder dislocates.

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