You've been there before. You approach the bench, haphazardly warm up with the barbell and immediately begin your set. But completely disregarding the shoulder warm-up is a recipe for disaster.
Looking at the musculoskeletal system, the shoulders are most prone to injury because of their ability to move in multiple directions through large ranges of motion. Shoulder injuries often plague athletes who are required to throw or swing, but most people have issues due to the monotony of sitting in a cubicle in front of computer.
Here are some exercises specifically designed to improve shoulder function.
1. Foam Roll Pec Minor and Lats
Most of the time, shoulder issues arise from over-developed lats and pecs. Releasing them via soft tissue work with a foam roller or a medicine ball will start to clear things up.
2. Prone Cobra Y-Handcuffs
This is a great exercise because it works on isometrically contracting the entire back musculature while internally/externally rotating the shoulders. Focus on getting your chest off the floor without excessively arching your lower back.
3. Forearm Wallslides w/Trap Raise
Forearm Wallslides specifically work on activating the muscles that stabilize the scapula, and mid and lower trapezius. Scapula stabilization is critical for healthy shoulders. Tighten your glutes and engage your core to keep your lower back out of the equation.
4. Band Pull-Aparts
This simple exercise works on optimizing protraction and retraction of the scapula (shoulder blades). Although it looks easy, it can be a challenge for someone with rounded shoulders. A key point is to keep the chest high and shoulders low.
5. Band Face Pulls
As when performing Band Pull-Aparts, focus on keeping your chest high and shoulders low. Besides building up the upper-back musculature, this exercise encourages thoracic extension.
This shoulder mobility warm-up is meant to restore movement and keep structural integrity intact. You want to create movement without sacrificing the level of stability your shoulder joints need to move through different ranges of motion.
Remember: You can't have mobility without stability.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock