How many times do you walk around with unhappy shoulders? How many hours do you sit in front of a computer with a rounded upper back and shoulders pinched forward?
These are valid questions you need to think about in regards to your shoulder health. Most of the injuries I have come across have been related to some shoulder injury or dysfunction. About 80% of those injuries can be avoided if the athlete would take the time to properly warm up and work on their mobility issues when they are not at the gym.
I have found that there are 3 exercises that if done properly can help make your shoulders happy again and help fix some of your mobility issues.
Exercise #1: The Wall Slide
The wall slide is one of my favorite mobility tools to warm up your shoulders. They do 3 very important things:
- Activate the lower traps, rhomboids, and external rotators
- Strengthen the pecs and internal rotators
- Decreases the contributions of the upper traps
They essentially help you pull everything down in your shoulders to stabilize your scapula while you can freely move your gleno-humeral joint.
- Focus on keeping your lower back against the wall by keeping your core engaged
- Try to press your forearms and wrist into the wall while keeping your lower back against the wall
- Only go up as far as you can while keeping your core engaged
- Prescribed amount: 2 sets of 10
Exercise #2: Seated External Rotators
The Seated External Rotators are a great exercise to strengthen your muscles that deal with external rotation in your shoulder, the infraspinatus and the teres minor. These two muscles are the only ones that deal with external rotation in the shoulder.
This exercise will help reinforce posture and improve the traditional rounded back, shoulders forward look.
- Always face the dumbbell
- Start out with a light weight (5lbs or 2.5lb plates or dumbbells)
- Keep your elbow on top of your knee the whole time
- Prescribed amount: 2 sets of 10 each side
Exercise #3: Band Pull Aparts
The Band Pull Aparts are also a great exercise to improve posture and helps fight against the evils that lurk when you sit at a computer all day. They essentially help strengthen the muscles that help retract your scapula aka the muscles that move your shoulder blades together.
- Focus on keeping your shoulders down and back
- You only need a light band for this exercise
- Keep tension on the band at all times
- Prescribed amount: 2 sets of 20
So, next time you come to class, show up a little bit early and hit these 3 exercises up to start to have your shoulders start smiling again =)