Josh Bowen: Your Stubborn Shoulders

joshMy blogs/newsletters/fit tips/whatever you want to call it, are usually meant to educate and inform and not concentrate highly on the technicalities. It is difficult to show form and function of movements in an email and have them received on a great level. However, today I thought we would try it and see how it turns out.

So here we go.

This week I shot a video on proper shoulder warm-up. My friend and chiropractor Dr. Tim Rogers has been working with my left shoulder for months now to get it to behave. We have put these distinct shoulder warm-ups into my workouts to ensure my shoulder progresses. I also am staying away from bench press and shoulder pressing because it increases the inflammation in the tendons and causes irritation the day after workout.

Now I made the video because I saw a gentleman warming up the other day at the gym and he was circling around with a 10lbs dumbbell repeatedly, trying to warm his shoulder up. I see this a lot in baseball as well, circling the bats around “warming up” the shoulder. Now why would this be dangerous? What issues could this cause? A lot!  We could write on this topic all day and I could break out the extensive anatomy and biomechanics but the reality is no one reading this cares.

You want simple, education, So I will break this down as simple as I can make it.  Your shoulder joint is the most complex joint in the body because of the amount of range of motion it has and the fact so many different muscles and joints insert or originate from it. It also is surrounded by very thin muscles that rotate it, also called the rotator cuff (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscabularis and teres minor). Big words, little muscles. In fact they are about as then as a piece of paper, yet we take a heavy weight and do a circular motion with it and expect it to be ok time and time after we do it.

Not the case.

Not only to we have the shoulder joint to be concerned with, we also have the hip joint to worry about. See when we have an injury we cannot just look at the site of the pain, we have to evaluate where the source is coming from. Interestingly, poor flexibility and improper glute activation on the right side can cause injury to the left shoulder. This is because often times, injuries happen in diagonals. Walking or gait is about rotating at the hips and swinging through with the arms. If anything in that motion is restricted, injury could occur.  This is why it is crucial to warm your shoulders and your hips up together for proper function of the both joints. So without boring you anymore with shoulder function and mechanics, let me explain the exercises on the video below.

The first exercise is the one you DO NOT want to do. This could cause long term damage to your shoulder. Just stop doing it.

The second set of exercises has to do with a band, the first I am standing, lowering my shoulder blades, squaring my shoulders, with my grip so that my palm is facing the other wall. I pull with my elbow down and squeeze an depress my back. This aligns my shoulder correctly and incorporates my glutes on the opposite side because as I said before, injuries happen in diagonals.

The third exercise is the band pull aparts. This is great for horizontal training of the shoulder blades and the muscles that attach. Straighten your arms and sit up nice and straight. Pull the band till it touches your chest, with your arms straight.

The fourth exercise is the monster walks. Get a band and place your feet, wider than hip with the part. Step to the left and right as wide as you can go and drag the other foot back to the starting point. This warms the hips up, which going back to what I said earlier is just as important to the shoulder as warming the shoulder up. You should feel this in your butt.

Last but not least is the kettlebell swing. Grab a decently heavy kettlebell and drive your hips back and hinge at the hips. This is great for getting your glutes involved and ready to lift upper or lower body.  I hope you enjoyed that tutorial of the shoulder warm ups. Until next time…

 

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