Stronger Shoulders 01

When we think strong in general, as a society we immediately jump to “how much ridiculous weight can I push / pull at once!!!”. However, we forget about the prerequisites to even do so. Before moving on, I want to preface this article with a simple range of motion concept. If you can only move your arm 15 degrees in any range of motion you want, and now you want to apply that 15 degree force to a weight, how much force do you think you could produce? Probably not much. Now, think 80 to 100 degrees of motion that can be applied to a weight or really any implement you want, how much more force can you produce? Wowee!


Now let’s take it a step deeper.


A Mobile and Strong Shoulder=Starting at the Spine first!

The spine acts as the chassis of the body. If our chassis is destroyed from terrible rounded postures, and sedentary behavior, how are your wheels AKA limbs going to function? Not very well :(. Alright stop! Get up. Ask a friend or a loved one to look at/place their hands on your blades. Then do a raise the roof motion, where you lift your arms overhead and then bring them down. Play some sick music too while you do so ;). Okay, back to business. Do your shoulder blades move freely up and down along with your shoulders without much clicking/popping/or pain and discomfort? Or does it get stuck, or only move slightly with discomfort? If it is the latter, then you can bet that there is a ton of dysfunction going on with the muscles needed to lift your arm overhead. Alright, as we have learned from the mobility versus flexibility article, we need to release the over tensed musculature, while re-tensioning the weak and overstretched musculature. All the while, practicing proper movement patterns with tons of core engagement! Let us begin shall we?!


Double Ball That Spine

Alright let’s start with the spine. Place a double ball on the spine. This ball should be digging into the inner border of your shoulder blades. Then you can work on retracting, protracting, and making snow angel movements to clean up the restrictions in your spine! Expect this to hurt…alot at first. Rightfully so, sitting has made your tissues bundle up into a hot mess of tightness and adhesions :(. Follow along with the video for this one. Make sure you inhale into your discomfort and not just wince and tighten up more. The breath has to come from your diaphragm and move all the way up into where the ball is pressing into. Make sure your elbows stay straight as you do this. Spend at least 5 to 10 mins per segment. Work at least 4-5 segments starting high and moving your way down. If you sit for work, you bet this will be crucial for your shoulder strength and health!

Clean Those Traps Up!

Alright, if your upper traps are tight and say what’s up to your ears, then you can bet anything you do with your shoulders will feel like crap! Find a door frame and get a softball. Follow along with the video. Dig that ball into your upper trap as you lean lots of bodyweight into it. The arm should start behind your back, and then make a swimming motion all the way to the front. Be sure, that in every position you get into, you squeeze your blade, dig deeper into the ball, and then repeat a few times before moving the arm through the range. Spend 5-10 minutes per side

Don’t Accept Trashy Pecs

Move on to the pecs! These take a beating when it comes to our hunchback of notredame postures. So let’s clean this up too. You will need a softball and the ground for this. Follow along with the video :). Make a similar motion to the trap clean up exercise. And I repeat: Be sure, that in every position you get into, you squeeze your blade, dig deeper into the ball, and then repeat a few times before moving the arm through the range. Spend 5-10 mins per side.


Time to Train! Retraction, Overhead, and External Rotation

All we need now is a pair of rings or a TRX setup. If we can do this every time we step into the gym, it would be amazing! Or really, anytime you are at home or the office too. Don’t have a TRX or rings access? Do the motions without it.  You will still get the benefit! 4-5 x 5 per direction will help turn on your mid back, lats, posterior deltoids and other important rotator cuff musculature! This means when you actually go into your barbell presses, deadlifts, pull-ups etc, you’ll be able to produce more force, with less chance of pain or injury ! That’s the sweet spot! Let’s get after it folks.


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Much love, Sumair


Sumair Bhasin