THE TOP 5 SHOULDER-SAVING EXERCISES
Don't let shoulder ache make you on the sidelines. Keep your joints strong and healthy using these techniques.
Shoulder injuries suck. They can slow down training & cause ridiculous nagging pain.
A study from the American Academy of Family Physicians found that an estimated 20% of the population will suffer from shoulder pain at some point in their lifetime.
Thankfully, most shoulder issues can be prevented. Chances are, some prehab and soft-tissue work would serve our shoulders well.
Here are six exercises that you can put into a warm-up or workout session that can get your shoulders moving and presses improving:
1. WALL SLIDES
Wall slides are a warm-up and pre-habilitation exercise that increase mobility and flexibility throughout the shoulders. The exercise also improves proper posture and spinal alignment.
1. Keep your back as flat as possible against the wall.
2. Hands should maintain constant contact with the wall throughout the movement.
2. OVERHEAD SHRUG
This unique move doesn’t look particularly difficult, however the end range nature of the movement will put a ton of tension on the posterior shoulder and place your shoulder blades in a more favorable position posturally.
How To Do It:
Keep this one light. A full range of motion and a controlled tempo are critical in this exercise, and far more important than the total weight you're moving. Grab a bar with a standard bench grip and press it over your head. Keep your elbows locked in place as you elevate your shoulder blades upward. Contract your traps at the top of the rep and hold the bar there for two seconds. Slowly control your scapula down while keeping tension throughout the entire shoulder complex. Eight to twelve reps per set should work nicely.
3. DIVING SEAGULL
This unique move doesn’t look particularly demanding, but the end range nature of the movement will put a ton of tension on the posterior shoulder and place your shoulder blades in a better position posturally.
How to Do It:
Lay face-down on the floor. Extend your arms over your head. Slowly bring your arms towards your hips in a slow arcing manner. Reverse the arms back to the starting position over your head. Tension is the key. The seagull should be graceful—an elegant, controlled dive, not a spastically twitching shoulder slaughter. 10-15 reps of body-weight or very light resistance (five pounds or less) should work tremendously.
4. FACE PULL
The Face Pull is a great exercise that can develop your upper traps, enhance posture and balance shoulder musculature.
How to Do It:
Attach a fitness band to a sturdy base at shoulder level. Grab the loose end of the band and walk back until you feel tension. Straighten your arms and let your shoulders come forward slightly. Retract your shoulder blades, squeezing your upper back as tight as you can. Pull the band in toward your face and hold for a second. Straighten the arms back out and repeat for 20-25 reps. This can be done as a filler, or as an exercise all by itself. By doing 100 reps for each upper-body session at the gym, you'll be standing tall and proud. This exercise can also be done with a rope attachment at a cable station.
5. SHOULDER BAND DISTRACTION
Band distractions are a tremendous tool that can serve as a substitute for conventional static stretching. They require adding band tension to a joint and moving said joint though a comfortable ability to move, exposing kinks and restrictions that have developed through the years. This particular variation should serve to free up the shoulders.
How to Do It:
Loop a band to a chin-up bar. Face away from the bar. Put the free end of the band around your arm and snugly around the crook of your armpit. Walk out until you get some appreciable tension in the band. While keeping your arm straight, twist your arm up and down (think about twisting a door knob back and forth). The band will aid in pulling your humerus (big arm bone) back into the glenoid (shoulder socket). Perform for 10 twists up and down on each arm.