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4 Killer Exercises To Prime Your Shoulders

4 Killer Exercises To Prime Your Shoulders

  1. Do you experience shoulder tightness, or discomfort?
  2. Are you interested in some exercises to help you to mobilize your shoulders and to get them primed for your more intense training? 
  3. Are you looking for an effective approach to improving your shoulder strength and overall shoulder health? 

Shoulder stiffness is a real training downer. Stiffness and immobility can lead to discomfort and pain and when discomfort and pain is present your training immediately goes into the toilet. Today I want to offer some help so that doesn’t happen. I’m including some unique exercises to prime your shoulders that I use for both myself and my students. These are tried and true for most situations.

Prime Your Shoulders

1) Elbows In Band Pulls: This little drill is great and it’s a hell of a lot more challenging than it appears. This drill is going to fire your shoulders a lot more than you expect.

To perform these simply grab the band with tension and with your thumbs pointing out away from your midline. Simply pull the band to tension and hold it for a 5 second count. After the 5 second count relax and tension the band again for another 5 second count. Perform 3 sets of 5–5 second holds prior to your more intense strength work.

2) Band Pull Aparts With A Foam Roller: With this drill you’re going to need a band and a foam roller. To perform this drill lie on the foam roller with your head at rest on one end.

From here lift the band up in front of your chest to pull it apart. Pull the band apart making tension until the back of your fists go all the way to the ground on either side of you. Since the foam roller has elevated your body this significantly increases your range of motion (ROM).

3) Crab To Reach: This strength drill is just like a crab stretch except you’re performing it on one arm. You want to start in a crawl position with your ankles and knees bent at 90 degrees.

From here you want to lift one hand and bring the opposite leg across your body and plant the foot on the ground to perform a bridge (hip thrust) to elevate your hips up away from the ground. Once you’ve completed this simply transition to the other side and repeat.

A few things to note: Be deliberate about the movement on focus on quality execution. Also don’t rush the movement. Allow yourself a pause at the end of each movement to give your shoulders an optimal stretch.

Perform 3 sets of 5 reps on each side prior to your more intense training.

4) Downward Dog Stretch: Of course this strength and stretching drill is field tested and proven to help open up your shoulders for greater flexion. This is especially important if you’re planning on doing some overhead lifting in your training.

Incorporating some of the downward dog stretch prior to doing so will get your lat, hamstrings, and calves nice and ready to support an overhead load. To execute the downward dog stretch simply start from a standard upright push up position and kick our hips up towards the sky.

Once here focus on pulling your heels toward the ground and trying to pry your shoulders open by trying to pull your armpits towards the ground. Hold the up position for about a solid 5 seconds and simply drop your hips towards the ground to stretch your abdominals.

Perform 3 sets of 5–5 second holds with your hips in the up position prior to your overhead lifting.

Prime Your Shoulders: The Takeaway

If you’re trying to optimize your results from your training you’ve got to optimize the function of your shoulders first. Any restriction of movement in your shoulders is either going to set you up for injury, or is immediately going to make you weaker. Unlock your physical function if you want to get real results from your strength.

Are you currently following a system of exercises to prime your shoulders prior to lifting and training? 

Do you experience shoulder tightness and weakness due to immobility? 

Post up and share here in the comments below! 

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I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

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