A Balancing Act for Shoulders


Aug 1, 1997
Outside Magazine
Terry Schroeder's shoulders have carried the weight of three Olympic water polo performances and inspired the official 1984 Olympic statue, cast in his likeness. That they are still intact — nay, formidable — after 25 years of playing a brutal sport is due chiefly to his strength-training approach. "Like most athletes, I have the tendency to become unbalanced," says Schroeder, 38, who now coaches Pepperdine's squad. "Too much chest strength causes your pecs to work more, leaving your shoulders undeveloped." The result is susceptibility to injury, not to mention a resemblance to Quasimodo. Schroeder's routine helps prevent such things and builds impressive shoulders. Do three sets of 12 repetitions of the strengthening exercises, three times a week.

Doorway Stretch: After a jumping-jack warm-up, stand in a doorway and grab the doorjamb at shoulder height with your right hand. Slowly walk through the doorway until your arm is straight and your chest tightens. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.

Seated Row: Sit with your legs in front of you, feet flat against a wall, and knees slightly bent. Holding two five- to eight-pound weights, place your hands alongside your toes and then pull them toward your chest in a rowing motion. Lean back simultaneously, and keep those elbows in.

Water Pump: Place your right knee and hand on a bench beside you and, with your back flat, grasp a five- to eight-pound weight in your left hand. Slowly draw the weight up to your armpit, keeping your elbow tucked in to your side. Switch sides after each set.

Wing Pull: Tie one end of a five-foot-long surgical tube to a fixed object at elbow height to your right, and stand perpendicular to it. Hold your right arm straight out from your shoulder, elbow bent and lower arm pointing up, and grasp the other end of the tube, which should be taut. Now, keeping your arm rigid, fold it across your body at the shoulder, pulling the tube tighter. Switch sides after each set.

The Shrug: Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, grasp a barbell with little or no weight and hold it at your thighs, palms facing in. Keeping your arms and back straight, shrug your shoulders up and back, then release.