We use our shoulders for multiple tasks throughout a given day; Putting on clothes, making your bed, picking up your kids, folding laundry, carrying a backpack, and that’s just a few everyday tasks not to mention exercises that utilize it as well. So how can we ensure that we are getting the most out of our shoulder joint and giving it the best chance at health and longevity we can? We use them! Studies show that to keep a joint healthy, you move that joint. Movement aids more blood flow full of nutrients to the joint and movement helps the cartilage maintain its composure. Here are 5 exercises to incorporate daily to do just that!
Here at enduraLAB, we like to start our day with something called CARS - Controlled Articular Rotations. CARS is used as a daily moving of your joints through their greatest range of motion. When doing your CARS you want to create what is called irradiation. In short, irradiation is a form of self-resistance. You will irradiate to 30% so that as you’re moving your joints it’s like moving through 30% greater density than regular air. You also want to be cognizant of only moving the one particular joint you are working on and not allowing other joints to join in on the motion.
Starting with your arm out in front of your body at a “Y” angle, you will begin by raising the scapula toward the ear without flexing your head down or allowing your spine to bend back. You will then bring your scap back towards your spine. Next, bend your scap down toward your back pocket, and lastly draw it forward (without rotating spine) and then back up into your ear. Perform this direction at least 2 times and then reverse the movement for another 2 full rotations. (See Video Below)
Glenohumeral (GH) Joint CARS
Draw a circle only with your shoulder. Start with your hand alongside your body, palm touching your leg and thumb facing forward. Flex your shoulder, but not allowing your shoulder blade to hike or your back to extend, as your arm raises toward your ear. As you get closer to your ear and your end range, keep in mind not letting your elbow bend. Once at your end range, rotate and wind your arm in maximally, palm should be facing out now and continue to reach back without any side bend. Keep winding that arm in throughout the entire range of motion. Once it arrives at the hip, the shoulder should be completely internally rotated and palm facing away from your hip. From here reset and start again. Once you’ve completed at least 2 full rotations reverse the movement starting at your hip and externally rotating your arm as you come up to your ear. Complete 2 full rotations going this direction. (See Video below)
Open Kinetic Chain Shoulder Axial Work
Start with your arm directly out from your shoulder, elbow locked out and arm parallel to the floor. Begin externally rotating your entire arm as much as possible remembering to only use your shoulder joint. Then reverse the movement and internally rotate as much as possible. Repeat 2 times each direction for a total of 4 times per arm! (See video below)
Closed Kinetic Chain Shoulder Axial Work
On your knees, place your hands on the floor so that you’re in a tabletop position. Start to internally rotate your arm, turning your elbow creases toward your body as much as you can. Once you reach your end range, reverse the movement by externally rotating your arm, allowing those elbow creases to face forward as much as possible. Remember, we’re using our shoulder to move, not our elbow. (See Video)
Soft Tissue Mobilization of the Lats to help with external rotation of the shoulder
Oftentimes our shoulders lack of external rotation can be linked back to tight lats. Because these muscles are strong internal rotators of the shoulder, we want to mobilize these tissues in the position of desired change (external rotation). Start by lying on your side with one arm raised over your head and a foam roller pinned under the outside of your armpit. To accomplish this, place the palm of your extended arm upward toward the sky as you lie on the foam roller. Move up and down this muscle until you find an area that is tender. Pause on this spot for a few seconds before moving on. You can also take this a step further by pausing on that tender area and then moving your arm over your head and back for a few reps. Make sure to move slowly on the foam roller as going quickly will have little effect on improving flexibility. (See photos)
Performing these 5 mobility exercises daily will have tremendous benefits for not only your joints but your lifts as well! Be sure to ask one of us if you have any questions!