Resiliency Series: Happy shoulders!

Welcome back for the resiliency series, SHOULDER EDITION!

Over the next few months (or however long it takes for me to run out of content), I will be covering the most common areas of the body where people have their aches and pains. Each week will cover a specific area that we suggest people work on in order to resist injury. 

This will NOT serve as a way to treat an injury or direct medical advice, but it will be a resource that will house the most up-to-date information on how to make yourself stronger and and more… RESILIENT! We ALWAYS suggest you seek medical attention if you feel you need more help.

Most people want shoulder help when they are in pain.

Kicking it off with a disclaimer… Start off by understanding what kind of shoulder help you need. If you are dealing with some pain, it is best that you go easy with these recommendations because some moves aren’t for everyone! All the moves are worth a try, but go light and slow at first.

The exercises and advice I have provided in this post are the most common long-term exercises that I recommend folks be performing regularly to keep the shoulders happy for a lifetime.

First piece of advice… Some pain is okay! Unbearable pain is not! The shoulder has a ton of moving parts and many people avoid certain movements because of pain. Sometimes, what can happen is that movement lessens and pain increases over time… The cycle repeats and you lose range of motion. You should try and perform movements that make the pain happen a bit, but then back off. Don’t barge through unbearable pain, but when it’s manageable and doesn’t send you off into days of soreness, then it’s okay.

Second… You don’t just need rotator cuff-specific exercise! If you are reading that line and it seems foreign to you, then disregard and keep reading. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles in the shoulder can are common sources of pain and injury in many active people. Many people come to me wanting exercises specifically for their rotator cuff because they were told that is what needs to get stronger. Sure! It does need to get stronger, but there are many common exercises that attack the rotator cuff that we overlook (ie. bench press, overhead press, rows).

Third… Try out these movements and tell me what you think! I would suggest pick 2-3 of the following to test out. Sprinkle them in 2 days per week, you don’t need much!

Scaption! This one is great for the shoulders. It really builds strength well and it’s a common place of weakness for most people. Begin with 3 sets of 8-10, slow reps.

Lateral raises! Another one similar to scaption but it’s at a slightly different angle. The position of the hand does matter and in this video I am demonstrating palms down. Keep those elbows straight!

The Swimmer! 🌶 Spice-E. This one is no joke, don’t grab 5’s… Trust me. Shoot for 3 sets of 8.

Single arm row! This is a staple in any upper body program for longevity and shoulder strength. We forget that these big moves are super beneficial for any shoulder injury and really help with long-term health. As for reps and sets, this one can start with 3 sets of 10-12 but the rep schemes are really endless and all depend on your goals.

DB bench press! Very similar to the row, this one is an oldie but a goodie. It is a solid, big shoulder move that hits the major push direction that we need for lots of life things (lawn mowing, picking up heavy things, reaching overhead, etc). Reps and sets? same as above.

DB incline press! This one is like a cross between the flat bench press and the overhead press. It is more challenging than the flat bench, but not as hard as the overhead one. This is a great exercise if overhead pressing is a little uncomfortable. Ditto the above on the reps and sets! Side note… when you’re having pain, reps and sets really matter but if your goal is to just get stronger a 3 sets of 8-10 is a great place to begin.

Front rack carry Last but NOT least… this one is a challenge to the WHOLE shoulder and a great way to learn to carry more groceries into the house (LOL). It also gets the rotator cuff to work on all cylinders! Try it out for 30 seconds per side for 3 rounds.

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