Skip to content

Simon Rösner takes on Saurav Ghosal in the 2015 Grasshopper Cup

Pre-season With SquashXtra: Stability Shoulders


With the new squash season approaching, we’ve delved into the SquashXtra archives to bring you some of the best advice and tips to have graced our pages in the past few years to help you get into prime condition ahead of the new campaign.

From technique tips to injury advice, SquashXtra has you covered.

The front (left) and back (right) of the right shoulder

It is essential that rotator cuff muscles do not shorten with strength training. The joint capsule surrounding the shoulder is normally quite loose to help allow movement of the shoulder. If this also becomes tight (usually at the back rather than front) it can further restrict the shoulder.
You should aim to hold each daily stretch for around 20-30 seconds, 5-10 repetitions.

Sleeper Stretch
Lie on your side with your upper arm on a towel and both your shoulder and elbow bent at 90 degrees. Push your hand towards the floor with your other hand until you feel a gentle stretch. Keep your elbow still and try not to elevate the shoulder.

Pec Stretch
Stand as shown, bending one elbow and supporting the forearm against a door frame. Gently rotate upper trunk away from the arm until a stretch is felt in the chest muscles.

Because the rotator cuff has an important stability role, strengthening should focus on endurance rather than increasing muscle bulk like you would with exercises such as a bicep curl. A resistance band is useful, or cables/pulley systems can be utilised in the gym setting. Low resistance and high repetitions is the most efficient way of training the rotator cuff…if you can repeatedly complete 3 sets of 20-30 repetitions, an increase in resistance or weight could be considered.


  • Lie on one side. Place a rolled towel under your elbow bent at 90° and holding a suitable small weight.

  • Keeping elbow on towel, rotate the shoulder outwards and lift your hand up towards the ceiling, to 45°. Slowly lower back down.
  • To work different rotator cuff muscles, exercise the arm laid on, keeping the elbow at a right angle and supported in at your side.
  • Lift the weight towards the ceiling and slowly lower back down.


  • With arm by side, place a rolled towel under your elbow bent at 90°.
  • Using a resistance band or similar, keep elbow in at towel and rotate arm out to 45°, slowly return to start position.

  • To work different rotator cuff muscles, change the direction of the resistance band and bring the arm in towards your stomach. Slowly return back to the original start position.

Resistance band exercises can be progressed by keeping the forward/backward rotation but raising the arm out to the side (up to 90°) to a new start position.

The risk of muscle imbalance leading to shoulder injury increases if you have bad posture. A rounded shoulder posture in particular can also indicate weak muscles around your shoulder blades. Two simple exercises below can help to improve this very common problem:

Gently squeeze your shoulder blades together and down towards your opposite back pocket. Hold up to 30-60 seconds, little and often.

Lying face down on the floor, arms by your side. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and lift arms until level with your hips. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat up to 3 sets of 15.

  • The PSA World Tour’s biggest-ever season is just around the corner with more than 450 live games on SQUASHTV. To celebrate we’re offering you a great deal – 50% off your first three months’ SQUASHTV subscription. Just use code 50for3

'The Shoulder: Reducing Injury Risk' as seen in SquashXtra Issue 07

Join SQUASHTV and get closer to the PSA World Tour