Exercise Guide
5 AC Joint Exercises to Avoid (And the Best Exercises to Do)

5 AC Joint Exercises to Avoid (And the Best Exercises to Do)

The AC joint can be injured in a variety of ways.

According to an article published by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery in January 2014, this joint is most often damaged from the outer shoulder’s damage.

Overextending when raising objects overhead or dragging weights, dropping onto your outstretched arm or shoulder blade fractures can also result in damage to the AC joint ligaments.

The AC joint may also be wounded over time by wear and tear. According to Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine, this is common in people who do manual labour daily or are weightlifters.

5 AC Joint Exercises to Avoid (And the Best Exercises to Do)

AC joint exercises to avoid include;


If AC joint pathology is suspected, PTs perform a horizontal adduction test to induce symptoms.

Pressure by moving your arm around your body (horizontal adduction) is indicative of a positive test.

The pec fly exercise replicates the horizontal adduction test and is one of the AC joint exercises to prevent further damage.


The closed pack position of the joint is the point at which the joint surfaces are the most congruent and the ligaments are the most congruent.

The closed parking place for the AC joint is 90 degrees of shoulder abduction.

The glenohumeral joint’s closed pack position is 90-degree abduction and external rotation, or the full abduction and external rotation depending on the source.

Overhead presses may lead to shearing between the clavicle’s lateral end and the medial part of the acromion. It also repeatedly brings the shoulder through the closed pack location ranges.

Also, note that the joint disk of the AC joint is already vulnerable to age-related degenerative changes. Thus, it is one of the AC joint exercises to avoid.


This exercise involves starting with the arms outstretched in the overhead position and going down to the sternum. Therefore it is one of the AC joint exercises to avoid.

As described above, this movement passes through the closed packing position of both the AC and GH joints and also produces a repeated shearing of the AC joint.


A wide grip bench press is one of the AC joint exercises to avoid. It tends to be one of the main problems of people with AC joint injuries.

Pain is induced while performing this exercise for the same reasons as those mentioned above. Mechanically, it places an unfavourable amount of tension and impact on the wounded AC joint.


Another example of AC joint exercises to avoid is the triceps dips, which apply extra, undesired pressure to the shoulder’s anterior capsule.

This can contribute to prior instability and laxity of the anterior capsule, which is the most common direction of shoulder instability. Similar forces occur during the triceps dip.


If you have a damaged or injured acromioclavicular joint, then ac joint exercise should begin with movements that stabilize the scapula.

Then follow up with shoulder-strengthening exercises for the entire shoulder girdle complex.

The ac joint, at the top of the shoulder, connects the scapula to the clavicle and can be exacerbated by repeated overhead tasks.

If you have a natural and pain-free range of motion in your shoulder, then you can start AC Joint Stabilization exercises starting with those that help to reinforce and stabilize the scapula.

Alternatively, you can resort to supplements that support joint health.

Having said that, the following exercises are recommended for AC Joints;


Works to exercise the shoulder muscles and help support the shoulder joint. This exercise will help strengthen your balance and brace your shoulder joint for more rigorous exercises.

Lying on your stomach with your elbows flexed and under your shoulders, raise your chest by pulling in your abdominal muscles so that your upper body weight is balanced on your forearms.

Push or move your body forward actively, pushing your elbows into the mat and your body. Feel the scapulae widen as well as the chest.

Keep the back of your neck long so that your chin is about a fist length from your chest.


It strengthens the upper back and muscles that help enhance the posture. Lie with your face down on a mat and your hands on your shoulders and legs long and stretched out.

Lift your upper body, keeping your legs rooted to the mat, raise your elbows higher, keeping your fingertips on your shoulders, or just with your hands on your side.

Have your nose pointing to the floor to keep your neck balanced properly. Repeat up to 5 times to keep your body aligned and abs and upper back working longer as you advance.


Some of the shoulder strengthening exercises include;


This is a perfect joint exercise to strengthen the side or middle deltoid of the shoulder. Standing with 3-8 lb of dumbells on your sides.

The palms can face up, or the thumbs can face up when you lift.

With proper balance and abdominals, inhale as you extend your arms out to the sides until they are only parallel to the floor, exhale as you slowly drop them down to your sides.

Repeat for 8-12 repetitions. Inhale as you lift your arms and exhale slowly.


The arms slide is a very successful and low-stress movement for the acromioclavicular joint and the damaged rotator cuff muscle.

Lying face down on the edge of a bench or table with one arm hanging off carrying a 1-5 lb of a dumbbell with the head turned away from the working arm.

Slide your arm to an angle of 120 degrees over your head. Palm may be facing down or towards you, do what’s right for you to do. Repeat for 8-12 replicas.


It is a successful joint exercise to strengthen the arm’s muscles and the rotator cuff in the joint complex of the shoulder. Standing with a dumbbell or a stretch band.

The elbows are in the waist, the hands are in the front of the abdomen with the palms facing, and the forearms are parallel to the floor.

Stretch or open your hands out until you feel the shoulder blades tighten together in the back, then slowly come back to the starting position. Repeat for 8-12 replicas.


These exercises are widely seen, yet; if you do them, you have a fair chance of injuring yourself. Find out what they are and why they’re going to hurt you. Not all exercises are equal.

Some exercises are fine, some exercises are great, and some exercises are just injuries waiting to happen.

Knowing which workouts to stop will save you months, if not years, of pain and discomfort. Exercises that you perform have a significant effect on your training and your fitness.

Be sure to pick workouts to help you move on towards your goals and not bring you down due to injury.

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