Happy & Healthy Shoulders - Part 2

This week our focus is activation. We often find ourselves in a slumped posture with our shoulders rounded forward due to texting, driving, and time spent on computers. Then, when we all go to the gym and we do a lot of workouts that involve our chest and upper back muscles. Both of these daily and gym habits lead to tension found in the chest and upper back/neck area. That’s why we recommended in the first video to use a lacrosse ball to help reduce the tension in those areas. 

The next step is to activate our back muscles, which are often weak from being in a lengthened position all the time. The goal is to activate these muscles so they can help us stay in a better posture. The last thing we want is for you to come the gym and try and lift overhead from a slumped mid back. (Do a quick test - try and do a snatch with a rounded back and then repeat while focusing on a straight mid back. You’ll feel the difficulty). 

The other goal of these exercises is to start priming the rotator cuff and the scapular muscles. It is important that these muscles work in coordination with each other to maintain proper shoulder movement. You are not going to be making big strength gains with these exercises, but instead it is more important to maintain control during the movements.

Perform each of these exercises for 2 sets of 10. Check back next week where we prescribe exercises on how to strengthen the shoulder.

Happy & Healthy Shoulder - Part 1

Alex and I will be beginning four-part series on the shoulder. Injuries to the shoulder are the most common reason I see CrossFitters in my office. Alex would agree that most complaints he hears are about shoulder pain or tightness. A healthy shoulder joint is dependent on good shoulder mobility, scapular stability, rotator cuff strength, thoracic mobility and good mechanics/form. Our goal will be to address all of these so that if you follow along during the 4 weeks, your shoulders will be more prepared to tackle our daily WODs. 

This series will be broken down into 4 topics - stretching, activation, strengthening and integration. We ask that you focus on the stretches, drills and exercises we demonstrate each week.

The most common injury to the shoulder is called impingement. Many of you who are complaining about pain in the front or top of the shoulder, also pinching sensations, are likely dealing with impingement. What happens is the tendons of the rotator cuff, likely the supraspinatus, get pinched in the shoulder during any overhead movements. You can feel pain during pull-ups, wall balls, KB swings, and snatches, for example.

The role of the rotator cuff is to keep the head of the humerus (shoulder bone) centered in the joint during any movement. When the rotator cuff gets tight, weak or imbalanced, it can't do it anymore. As the tendon gets pinched, the more pain you are going to feel.

This week we will start on stretching and mobilization. Follow along with the video and perform daily. 

Stay tuned for next week when we cover how to activate the weak muscles around the shoulder.