The shoulder is the lynchpin of our body and well the most mobile joint that we have. Many moves we do with our body aren’t naturally supposed to be done. Those moves include handstand, heavy presses overhead etc. Those aspects with the fact that our posture suffers a lot in modern life due to our sedentary lifestyle behind the desk, don’t contribute to our shoulder health.
That’s a good reason to take care of our shoulders before pain kicks in or even worse we injure ourselves.
- At first and most important, keep good form when working out, especially when working on calisthenic skills and lifting heavy weights, stop trying to prove someone you can do it. With good form, I guarantee you will drive the fast lane.
- Balance out pushing & pulling/ Vertical & horizontal movements, you don’t want to develop imbalances in your shoulder girdle. This typically happens when working too much on specific muscles, let’s say the chest, or working to heavily on a specific skill like the planche.
- Try to add some supplementary work for your shoulder health. The LYTP exercises are a good option for this.
Strengthening the rear delts
The rear delts or the posterior deltoids are an important factor for stabilizing your shoulder girdle. They are responsible for extending, abducting and to externally rotate your shoulders. There are many effective exercises for training your posterior delts. My favorite one is by extending the straight arms behind your back as shown in the video below. This can also be executed with dumbells or/and with supporting your chest on a bench.
Strengthening the lower traps
The lower traps are probably the soft spot for most of us. Lower traps are important for the mobility and stability of our shoulder blade by retracting, depressing and rotating our shoulder blades upwards. To do so you need to pull your straight arms overhead in a Y form, at the same time try to retract and depress your shoulders (press your shoulder blades downwards and together).
Strengthening the rhomboids & mid traps
The rhomboids hold the shoulder blades against the thoracic wall. Together they adduct the shoulder blades. In a T-shape, hold your arms straight aside. From this position you initiate the movement by adducting the shoulder blades, your arms follow. When your palms face down your rhomboids dominate the movement, with your thumbs up the mid traps dominate the movement.
Scapular shrugs —> Strengthening the serratus anterior
The serratus anterior muscles hold the shoulder blades against the thoracic wall, as well. They abduct the shoulder blades. Set yourself in a pushup position, your hands should be directly under your shoulders. From there, straighten your arm and pull your shoulder blades apart as much as you can, bring your shoulder blades together and initiate the movement again. Be aware that your arms stay straight all the time. This exercise can be also done lying on your back with dumbells or barbells.
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