These two ten minute workouts will help stabilize your shoulders, increase your grip strength, and strengthen your core.
If you sit in front of a computer for a living then you need to do these workouts.
If you do CrossFit then you need to do these exercises.
Shoulder injuries are plaguing the sport of fitness and much of the general population. Young, old, the fit, the unfit–no one can seem to escape shoulder issues. And whether it’s a basic mobility problem or wear and tear on the joints, these ten-minute workouts can reduce your chance of a potential shoulder blowout.
If you sit in front of a computer all day…
Imagine you are sitting at a computer right now, now put your hands in the normal typing position, and notice how your shoulders are rolled forward. Now imagine you do this for 8 hours a day. Eventually, you will lose the ability to rotate outwards.
Plain and simple, head forward with shoulders hunched is going to lead to shoulder impingement.
The band is great and a must for all office folks but keep reading; the workouts below will be life savers.
If you are a CrossFitter…
I am not a CrossFitter but I live with two CrossFitters and I am surrounded by everything that is CrossFit so I know a lot about the sport. And I know plenty about physiology to realize there are a lot of potential dangers for the shoulder. Next time you are in the gym, watch an athlete do toes-to-bar and think about what that is doing to the shoulder. Here is an interesting article looking at the kipping effect on the shoulder joint.
But kipping is not the only culprit in CrossFit. In fact many CrossFit exercises are quite demanding on the shoulder. Imagine this three-day WOD scenario:
Five rounds of: 20 Pull-ups, 30 Kettlebell swings 53/35lb, 40 Double-Unders
12 Minute AMRAP: 10 Toes to bar, 10 Power snatch 75/45lb, 10 Wall balls, 20/14lb ball
5-5-5-5-5 Strict Press, 3-3-3-3-3 Push Press, 1-1-1-1-1 Push Jerk
At first glance it looks like Wednesday is the day your shoulders will be put to work. But my guess is you will kip those pull-ups on Monday and anyone who has ever done double-unders with a shoulder injury will tell you it too is an exercise that taxes the shoulders. Then Tuesday you do nothing but shoulder work. Wednesday rolls around and damn I think I hurt my shoulder? The shoulder is not built to withstand that much repetition. In fact, I have talked to long time lifters who only do shoulder work every other week. There is a reason why SLAP tears seem to be one of the most frequent CrossFit injuries.
These three WODs were actual programmed workouts…in that order! And if you think this is just poor programming and it would never happen in your gym, just think about all the other scenarios of shoulder strain: ground to overhead, handstand push-ups, muscle-ups, ring dips…
I have actually seen very similar programming on the CrossFit main site — arguably worse.
Internal Rotation Problems
Stand in front of the mirror with your hands at your sides in what feels like a natural position.
Can you see the backs of your hands in the mirror? If so you likely have internal rotation issues.
When the shoulder internally rotates the body is in a weak and vulnerable position. This poor positioning equals poor capacity to generate stability in the shoulder joint. Trying to do difficult movements — overhead press, snatch, HSPUs, etc… from a weak position will not only hurt your performance but it will eventually lead to injury.
So what can you do?
Before I discuss the exercises that will build you some rock solid shoulders, here is a great video that will help you to improve your shoulder health.
Kelly Starret’s Favorite Shoulder Fix
If you are unfamiliar with Kelly Starret, he is a guru in the world of mobility and stability. The Supple Leopard and Mobilitywod.com, both Starret creations, are together saving crossfitters all over the country. If Starret says it, you should listen. So how does Starret recommend we should fix the number one problem plaguing the sport of fitness?
Fixing Internal Rotation will require two things = Voodoo Floss Band (which you can pick up at rogue by clicking the banner below) AND an olympic bar OR a super friend. Watch the video below and fix that internal rotation!
Now that you are on your way to solving your internal rotation issues, here are the exercises that will build those rock solid shoulders:
The Thoracic Bridge by Max Shank (reminds me of my jiu-jitsu days)
Add this mobility exercise into your work day and you’ll immediately feel the benefit in your hips, shoulders, and back. The first time I did it, I cracked my own back and immediately felt my posture improve. But what makes it particularly useful is that you don’t need any equipment or special gear. All you need is some open space and a willingness to get in a strange position for 30 seconds. — James Clear
Walking Plank (there are several varieties of the plank that will help build those stable shoulders):
Bottoms Up Walk
Recently, I discovered the Bottoms Up Walk and Bottoms Up Press and I love them both. They are amazing grip, shoulder, and core exercises. You will likely need to start with a pretty light bell — both exercises will be humbling.
Bottoms Up Press
Turkish Get Up
Kettlebell Wrist Twists
I learned this great shoulder stability exercise while in physical therapy for bicep tendinitis.
If you are looking to build stability in your shoulders then I recommend alternating these workouts four days a week.
Monday = Workout A
Tuesday = Workout B
Thursday = Workout A
Saturday = Workout B
If you are a crossfitter and your shoulders are already taxed, then plan these exercises around days when you can recover the following day.
Kettlebell wrist twists from Turkish position 3 x 15 each arm
Bottoms up presses 3 x 10 each arm
Thoracic Bridge for 1-2 minutes
Turkish-get-ups 3 minutes alternating sides
Bottoms up walk 5 x 20 feet each arm
Walking plank for 1-2 minutes