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Are Your Shoulders Bulletproof?

No matter what your life or workouts look like, you probably use your shoulders. Your shoulders tie into both your neck and upper back. Your shoulders are responsible for pushing, pulling, lifting, chopping, throwing, and numerous other things that you can imagine. The problem that exists is, all that fun stuff is reliant on how well your frame can support and stabilize. Big movements and athletic movements can give you the physique, the strength, or the performance that you are looking for, but eventually, you will break down. Large muscles like the chest, lats, and delts can generate a lot of force, but it’s the little muscles, the secret saviors, that keep your frame intact. For example, without the little control muscles, a baseball pitcher would throw his shoulder out of the socket with little effort. Now, imagine the stress from a 100 mph fastball. I think you get where I’m going.

So who are these important little helpers? I’m sure that you have all heard of the “Rotator Cuff”. Well, these cuff muscles along with the primary shoulder blade stabilizers make up an entire matrix of muscle that controls your shoulder position. But It isn’t just about how stable your shoulder blade is. It also has to do with how mobile your shoulder and upper spine are. Proper mobility in the shoulder joint and thoracic spine allows the stress from the prime movers to be dispersed to the proper stabilizers. Poor mobility will create load and stress in a bad position. this will cause overuse of some muscles, can lead to tendonitis, tears, and possibly surgery. Not Fun! So what can we do to avoid these lurking problems?

Before you crawl under that bench or start pushing that bar overhead, take the time to mobilize your spine and shoulders. Take the time to activate and strengthen the stabilizers of the shoulder and shoulder blade. There are some very simple tools available to you. All you really need is a foam roller, a tennis or lacrosse ball, and a light and medium resistance band.

First, roll through the tissue of the upper back and work on improving your upper back extension over that roller. Use your ball to work through the back of the shoulder at the top of the lats, the traps, the front of the shoulder and chest, and through the lats around the shoulder blade. Second, start firing the little guys. Hook your band in a door or around something at eye level. work on your extension. Pull that band straight up overhead slowly and hold for a couple seconds (imagine your arms and body looking like the letter I), do 10 reps and repeat in a Y shape, T shape, and an A shape. Make sure that you are pulling your shoulder blades back and holding your body up tall.

This is by no means a cumulative list of creating a bulletproof frame, but it’s a start. consider that for every direction that your arm can move, there is a combo of muscles that are there to keep is stable. Come in for an evaluation and let us show you how to optimize your body and bulletproof your frame!

Ryan Golec

Director Of Movement Enhancement