Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Some Of My Very Favoritest Shoulder Assistance Exercises

There is a lot to the anatomy of the shoulder, which makes a lot of sense, as the shoulder is the most mobile joint in your body.  It follows logically, then, that shoulder injuries are overwhelmingly common.  They usually come from overuse or from uneven muscle patterns (for instance, if you use the front of your shoulder a lot but neglect the back), but there are many other ways you can get shoulder problems.  Keeping the muscles surrounding your shoulders strong and healthy is an extremely important step in avoiding injuries.  Strong shoulders also help upper body pushing and pulling strength, so if you have strength goals in that area (bench press, pushups, and pullups, anyone?), don't neglect your shoulders!!

Got all that?

I am personally a "push" athlete (bench press is one of the events in powerlifting competitions).  Therefore, I make sure I add shoulder assistance exercises to help make my bench press stronger, and to help ensure that I do not get a shoulder injury from pressing big weight.  Here are some of the exercises I include in my training.



Yeah, I know-- old school.  Nothing wrong with that-- if it works, it works!  I like using weight plates for my straight arm raises.  It elongates my lever, making the exercises more challenging.  You can use dumbbells or whatever type of weight you like, though.  Raise your arms straight out to the sides, and lower them under control.  Make sure you keep from leaning backwards (or forwards, or to the side!), and do not use momentum to raise the weights.  You can turn your palms forward or up towards the ceiling, too, if you'd like to change it up.  The musculature of the shoulder will respond differently depending on your hand position.



Turn the thumb side of your hands towards the ceiling.  Raise the plates/weights under control to shoulder height, as in the lateral raise, at about a 30-45 degree angle, so that you make a sort of "Y" shape. 



Unlock your knees, keep your spine as long as possible, and hinge at the hips until your torso is as parallel as possible with the floor.  Raise the plates/weights under control, straight out to the sides.



I'm sure someone somewhere has given these a far less complicated name, but this is what I call them.  In the video, I'm showing two kinds-- down to up, and up to down.  In both cases, you will want to keep your working arm as straight as you can.  Don't use momentum, and don't let your body twist.  If you have to twist, the weight is too heavy. 



You can do these either with the bells lying on your arms, as I am in this video, or by holding the handles with the kettlebells hanging down.  If you're really looking for a major challenge, try doing them by crush-gripping the handles of the kettlebells so that the bells stick straight out to the side.  In any case, I love this exercise!

That should hold you over for now.  Hope this helps someone out there.  Happy training!

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