In general, we should treat joints the same.
We should move them.
We should load them.
We should stabilize them.
We should strengthen them.
We should apply stress to them and give them the opportunity to adapt.
Depending on the anatomy of the joint as well as it's role in sporting movement, we may alter this approach slightly.
But in general, if the goal is to build a resilient, high performing joint.. these are the keys.
Therefore, let's apply this logic to the shoulder.
STRENGTH TRAIN THROUGH A FULL RANGE OF MOTION
In order to promote healthy joints and the most functional strength we can create, we should be training joints through FULL ranges of motion.
When looking at the shoulder joint, there are 4 central patterns that we should be exposing ourselves to and progressively loading.
[1.] Vertical pulling
Vertical pulling exposes our shoulder joint to massive ranges of motion and works to develop our backside musculature.
[2.] Horizontal pulling
Horizontal pulling similarly exposes our shoulder joint to large ranges of motion (sense the theme?) and primarily stresses the muscles found within the upper to mid back.
The posterior shoulder area is a very common spot for injuries in golfers, and because of this, strengthening the area via exercises like these is important!
[3.] Vertical pressing
"But I've heard shoulder presses are bad for your shoulders"
They're only bad for your shoulders, if your shoulders can't handle the stress that they create. Which may be the case for many as they are an impactful exercise.
But here's the deal...
That doesn't mean we should just throw them out the window.
We should address this limitation and work to slowly expose the joint to an overhead type of stressor.
Here's a three overhead pressing options, each progressively more stressful than the last...
1.) Downdog Push Ups
[4.] Horizontal Pressing
Similar to all of those mentioned above, these exercises move our shoulder joint through a large range of motion, strengthening the surrounding musculature.
Specifically, these will target the frontside muscles of the pecs and anterior deltoids.
While all of the above are great and NECESSARY, the KEY THREE EXERCISES I want to focus on when talking about shoulder health are the following...
If you have bum shoulders, you should be doing some combination of these multiple times per week.
Essentially, all three of these movements place our shoulder joint into novel positions requiring it to explore, stabilize, and control our movement.
Doing so exposes the shoulder joint to diverse stresses that it will adapt to, overcome, and become more resilient to.
They all do so in a slightly different way.
A hang does so in an overhead position.
A carry does so by carrying the load at our side.
A crawl does so by stabilizing the weight of our body in a closed-chain movement pattern in front of us (underneath us).
These three movements, when paired together, can work wonders in terms of alleviating shoulder pain as well as building resilient and adaptable shoulders.
Check out variations of all three below!
Three times a week.
Accumulate 2 minutes of crawling.
Change up the variation often.
Once a week minimum.
100 steps each arm.
Load it up.
Grab what you consider to be a "heavy" dumbbell... then grab one that's 10 lbs heavier.
Twice a week.
Accumulate a minute of hanging in as few sets as possible.
Know a fellow golfer with shoulder pain/issues?
Send this along...
Let's get 'em fixed up.
Let's build some healthy and happy shoulders!
The season is coming.
And, as always, let's go low!
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