Yoga and Pilates for Shoulder Injury Prevention

British competitive swimmer Ben Proud who is a World and European Champion in freestyle and butterfly races recently spoke about how he does yoga and Pilates to prevent shoulder injuries derailing his medal-winning hopes. Over half of his workout routine is dedicated to shoulder rehab and he finds these types of exercise are best for shoulder injury prevention.



Even if you’re not a competitive swimmer, you can be prone to shoulder injury; the shoulder is one of the most used joints in the body, making it susceptible to a wide range of injuries. While treatments have come a long way in the past decade, shoulder injury recovery can still prove to be a long and potentially painful process. Therefore, those who are at risk of developing shoulder issues, such as professional swimmers and young athletes, ideally need to focus on preventative measures.

One of the best ways to prevent injury is to build up the muscles and strength within the shoulder. While there are lots of ways to do this, yoga and Pilates are known to be especially effective. Here, we’ll look at how these two forms of exercise can aid in shoulder injury prevention.

How do yoga and Pilates help with shoulder injury prevention?

Yoga and Pilates work in several ways to prevent shoulder injuries. Firstly, the poses can really help to build up the muscles surrounding the shoulder and rib cage. The stronger these muscles become, the more resistant to injury they are going to be.

Another way these exercises help is by teaching you how to use the muscles of the shoulder blades and rotator cuff more effectively. This, in turn, allows you to reduce the strain placed upon the muscles due to incorrect posture and movement.

Finally, both yoga and Pilates are designed to strengthen the core. Focusing largely upon the deeper, smaller muscles located in the stomach and back, the poses help to build up strength, allowing the core to better control the spinal position during dynamic movements. Building up a strong core can really help to prevent against numerous types of injury, including shoulder injuries.

Which poses should you focus on?

While a lot of yoga and Pilates exercises can really help to build up strength and stability in the shoulder, some are considered better than others and you should always moderate if you feel you are putting pressure on the shoulder joint. For example, the plank pose is known to be one of the most effective core-building exercises. However, it can place a significant amount of pressure onto the shoulders; especially if you’re a beginner to this type of exercise, so it is best to moderate the action by starting off with the Wall Plank Pose.

Whether you wish to prevent a shoulder injury occurring or looking for a workout routine post-shoulder surgery to help you return to full function, yoga and Pilates could be the solution.