The last month in the gym has been heavy on the shoulders. We’ve seen a lot pull ups, dips, bench press, shoulder press, some OHS…jeez, is there anything involving the upper body that doesn’t challenge the shoulders? Easy answer: no. In fact, in the list of previously-existing injuries that new members come to us with, shoulder-related injuries are at the top. (Knee stuff is next in the list.) Whether in the gym or in your real life, the shoulders need to be healthy and able to handle the stresses of life and training.
The shoulder is an inherently mobile, and therefore unstable, joint. While your knees or elbows simple flex and extend, your shoulders adduct, adbduct, rotate internally and externally, flex, extend – they move in a bunch of different ways and in a bunch of different directions.The shoulder is a complex system of bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons that also supports and controls the protraction and retraction, elevation and depression, and rotation of the scapula, that large, broad bone pictured below.
We teach quite a few exercises, warm ups, and mobility pieces to address your shoulder health. If you see someone over in the corner before or after class with a band or little dumbbell doing some funny stuff with their arms or pulling on a band from the pull up bar, that’s someone addressing their shoulder health. If you don’t already do that yourself, we recommend it. If you don’t know what to do, check out the videos below, and then consult with a coach when you’re at the gym.
Here’s K-Star, the northern star, leading the way for us. As he notes, the shoulder is sooooo much more than just the rotator cuff. It’s a “big, complex system.”
For further viewing, check out this piece showing some basic MobWod stuff that you’ll see happening often at our gym, plus this series of three Mobility WODs focused on internal rotation of the shoulder.
Try some of this stuff out. Find what works for you. Come early or stay late, and take care of your shoulders.