Seriously Evan? Yes I said “un-suck” and yes I know all my English teachers are cringing right now. But seriously, majority of adults have some sort of shoulder pain they deal with every day. What is even crazier is you probably have some form of tear in your shoulder you don’t even know about. It is ok though! We can learn to work around the problem and still function day to day. I have dealt with shoulder pain for a while now form playing sports and weight training. It is part of the game though, right? If you are training for performance, we all deal with tweaks and injuries that we have to work around. Some of us thought, have shoulder pain from poor day to day movement quality. How do we help negate this problem? These are my go to exercises I do just about every day (mainly as part of my warm-up) that has helped my shoulder pain go away. A lot of these exercises you can do without even having to go to the gym, so there is NO EXCUSE for you to not incorporate these in your daily life. Let us get into it. Side note: do not judge me on the poor photo quality J.
The deadbug. Or, insert any kind of core exercise that involves resisting lumbar flexion,extension, and rotation. Everything starts with the core (not just the abs). We must be able to transfer energy from our core to our extremities without compensating somewhere else. While keeping the black flat to the ground you will move your opposite arm and leg while forcefully breathing out. 2-3 sets of 10-20 total reps
Foam roller Thoracic Extension. Not to get too sciency on you, but the upper back or thoracic spine is where most of our movement should happen at when it comes to the three areas of our spine. THE LUMBER IS MEANT FOR STABILITY. As we age, overtime, we lose that movement in our thoracic spine and we begin to compensate in other places. I am the perfect example. Years of bad posture led to a pretty significant “hunched” upper back. What happens? If we do not have the proper mobility in our thoracic spine we begin to use too much of our lower back and (because I am a guy) do too much bench and shoulder press with faulty movement patters and BOOM! Shoulder pain. You want to work your way from your middle back up through your shoulder blades extending over the foam roller 3-5 times at each point.
I do not have a technical term for this exercise other than Wall sliding “Y” with lift off. Sexy I know. Basically, you start with your forearms on the wall with elbows tucked to your side like a “W”, slide your arms up the wall into a “Y” and lift your arms slightly off the wall and back. This is great for getting those shoulder blades to upwardly rotate. 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps.
The Serratus Push-ups or Push-up Plus is another goodie I have been doing a lot lately. Basically, you are in the top of a push-up and you want to retract your shoulder blades (bring them together) and protract them (push them away from each other) forming a dome like curve with your thoracic spine. What happens is we get some serratus recruitment which in turns help keep those shoulders happy. 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps. If you lean slightly forward when doing this exercise you will feel the core really fire!
1st, if you are not using kettlebells in your training you need to get on the band wagon. 2nd, going bottoms up with the kettlebell will BLOW your mind. There are a couple ways you can go bottoms up by doing holds, carries and pressing variations. I incorporate the press variation on upper body days. Why go bottoms up you ask? Because you get a crazy recruitment of the rotator cuff.
Last, but probably most important is some sort of row variation. Trx or ring rows, seated low row, one are dumbbell rows, you name it. As mentioned earlier in this article over time our posture declines as we age. We sit a lot, everything we do is forward. Our upper back, hamstrings, glutes turn off. Whenever I talk to someone about training I always express to them you must do more pulls then pushes during training sessions and volume accumulated during the week. Please, I beg you, I know you want to bench, but to keep your shoulders healthy and actually improve your pressing numbers get a BIG AND STRONG back. You will thank me.
Well there you have it, start implementing these exercises into your training and “un-suck” those shoulders. Email me at Evan@forge-rx.com to let me know how it’s going.