BEST Exercises for an AC Separation

BEST Exercises for an AC Separation

I talk a lot about shoulder injuries and have helped thousands of people with Fix My Shoulder Pain.

One shoulder injury that I have not talked about in a while is AC separation.

Today I have a video from Maria Mountain who trains ice hockey goalies and players.

She has a great video on exercises to do if you have an AC separation. 

The exercises are good for anyone, not just ice hockey players.


Rick Kaselj, MS


CLICK HERE to watch the video on YouTube.

If you ever had an AC separation, you know it’s a very painful injury.

The good news is usually you can make a really nice full recovery and I’m going to show a few ways to do exactly that if you’re a goalie with an AC separation.

This is Maria Mountain.

Check out what I got for you today….

An AC separation is an injury that is not common in ice hockey. Often times an AC separation occurs in an off-ice sporting, like a bicycle crash, or a motor vehicle accident.

An AC separation happens when you fall on your shoulder and the acromioclavicular joint (for short, AC joint) is damaged. The AC joint is made up of the acromion (part of the scapula/shoulder blade) and clavicle (collarbone). The severity of the separation can vary from minor (ie., just a sprain) to serious (ie., needing surgery).

If you do get an injury in the AC joint area, definitely the first thing you need to do is go see your doctor. You may need to get an x-ray to make sure there’s nothing else that’s damaged.

Don’t just treat it yourself.

The next thing is to work on improving your range of motion and having it be pain free. Rick does this is Fix My Shoulder Pain.

But then let’s talk a little bit about getting you back on the ice, on some strengthening exercises you can work on.

#1 – Figure 8s with Bungee

Start with a Medium Bungee, loop your thumb into the tubing and straighten your arm. Then you are going to trace a figure 8 with your hand, with good control.

Medium Bungee - Figure 8

Figure 8 on the side with Medium Bungee

I have the arm at 45 degrees and make sure you go both directions, so tracing a figure 8 this way but then also tracing in the other direction (clockwise and counter clockwise).

You’ll really be surprised because one you will fine one way and the other way you just feel really awkward at it.

Then the last way will be straight in front. When that is good and pain free you can do the same thing overhead as you go.

Figure 8 - Front & Overhead

#2 – Impulse Stabilization

Then what you want to do is get a little bit of work on impulse stabilization.

Have your arm straight out and again we vary the angle and the position. Hold it out and then just give a tap with the other arm and have them try to hold their shoulders still and stable.

Impulse Stabilization

Impulse Stabilization

When they get pretty good at that and they can control it very well and it’s not painful whatsoever, then we’ll have them close their eyes and do the same.

You are not trying to break the arm, you just try to give it taps and challenge the shoulder to control it in that position.

#3 – Tubing Around Your Waist

The final thing is you have lost some muscle tone in your shoulder because it’s been immobilized for a while it has gone through a healing phase. What we have done in the past is you are going to loop the bungee around your waist and have the loose end in your hand.

Loop the Bungee on the Waist

And then when you’re doing your agility drills, ladder drills, hurdle drills, just holding this up here. This is my glove hand, I’m going to get a pretty good tension on it but I’m just going to hold it there just to get used to it because you’ll be surprised having that glove is not that heavy.

When you get back on the ice you’ll not have the stamina into your shoulder, your shoulder is going to feel tired and your glove hand will be dropping down. Hold it there, if it is your stick hand, hold your stick as you go through those ladder drills and agility drills.

You can also do some single hand ball handling or puck handling with that side just to build a little bit more strength, stamina, and dexterity in that shoulder.

Hopefully you don’t ever have an AC separation, they hurt a lot. But if you do, there are few things that you can do just before you’re getting on the ice or once you’ve returned to the ice just to get feeling a little bit more comfortable with that shoulder.

Once again, this is Maria from and

My mission is to help 10,000 players win more games with fewer injuries. Even if you don’t have the genetic gifts, so then act on the ability of your competitors.

 Maria Mountain

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