Shoulder mobility is very important for almost all aspects of life. If you want to reach the top shelf, wash your back, lift weights, or do almost anything that requires the use of your hand you better make sure you have the shoulder mobility to do so. Sometimes, not having the prerequisite shoulder mobility to complete a task can lead to pain and symptoms. So if you want to get your shoulders moving better here are some exercises you can try to get moving better.
What makes a shoulder a shoulder? ROTATION. It’s not a TRUE ball and socket joint but it rotates nonetheless. (The shoulder resembles a golf ball on a tee). When a shoulder joint starts becoming dysfunctional or unhealthy the first movement it loses is rotation. So in order to have a healthy joint, we need to make sure we can restore rotation. The whole goal of this movement is to perform rotation isolated at the shoulder at the end-range of the movement. If you feel your lower or upper back kicking in you need to spend more concentration on just allowing the shoulder to move.
I love to use prone Ts for my shoulder patients. It’s a great exercise for scapular control into retraction. The more control you have there the more options you give your shoulder to move into. It also is a great exercise for feedback. If you do this exercise one arm at a time you can pretty quickly tell which shoulder needs work. You should feel this fatiguing you behind your shoulder and in between your shoulder blades. If you feel it in your upper traps or the front of your shoulder, YOU GOT SOME WORK TO DO.
This is one of my favorite movements for overall shoulder mobility and control. It takes you from a range of overhead positioning to reaching behind the back. All the while controlling the shoulders. This isn’t a “basic” or “starter” exercise for the shoulder. It’s somewhat advanced for the control and range of motion that it requires. Doing this for 2-3 sets of 3-8 reps is a great way to challenge the shoulders or warm them up for a workout.
I love this as a way to improve overhead mobility. The lats are a big strong muscle that can limit your ability to freely move your arms overhead. This is a way to not only get a little stretch but also some activation in order to relax the lats and allow full mobility for movements like overhead press and pull ups! This movement challenges both your mobility to get into that overhead position and then your control as well.
I love this shoulder movement because it’s a closed chain movement as opposed to an open chain movement. Closed chain means your hands are attached to something and your body is moving (like a push up). Open chained means your body is stationary but you’re moving something else (like a bench press). This exercise is a great way to improve shoulder stability, rotator cuff strength and mobility into rotation and cross body reaching. Try this out if your shoulders get cranky after lifting or if you have trouble warming up properly.