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Shoulder Integrity: Priming And Strengthening Your Shoulders For Performance

Shoulder Integrity: Priming And Strengthening Your Shoulders For Performance

Today I pulled this article from the training archives as I thought it would meet a need if you’re looking for better ways of strengthening your shoulders for movement.

If you experience shoulder pain, discomfort, or stiffness then I thought this article would be a good fit for you. If you’re not experiencing shoulder pain, or stiffness I still think this article would be a good fit for you. If you don’t have those issues then my guess is you certainly don’t want them.

  1. Are you experiencing tightness and immobility in your shoulders? 
  2. Do you experience shoulder pain on a regular basis? 
  3. Are you currently using any exercises to prime your shoulders for movement prior to your training? 
  4. Do you want to learn how to develop and maintain healthy strong shoulders for the long haul? 

Are you looking for a better plan for strengthening your shoulders? When it comes to training these days many people really have to work to prime their bodies before they can even get into the driver’s seat to start doing any work. Since the career world has transitioned to including jobs where sitting has taken precedence over physical activity the need for priming the body for movement is a bigger deal now more than ever.

We can couple this with the fact that technology has also created an entire generation of lazy individuals that have lost a great deal of function in their bodies. This is the case due to many people developing postural imbalances and weaknesses from crouching over and looking at computer screens and handheld devices for the majority of the day. Because of this coaches and trainers have to constantly battle through these issues on a regular basis. Today I want to talk about some ways we can enhance your shoulder integrity and prime and strengthen this mobile joint for other more useful activity compared to just holding and reading your cellphone.

Strengthening Your Shoulders: The Shoulder Girdle

When looking at your shoulder girdle I think we can all agree that with this joint there is the potential for a lot of things to go wrong. After all, your shoulder girdle consists of 4 articulations and it’s a mobile joint that allows for a 360 degree ROM.

The Joints Of The Shoulder

  • The shoulder itself is known as the Glenohumeral joint, (the ball and socket articulation between the head of the humerus and the glenoid cavity of the scapula)
  • The acromioclavicular (AC) joint (clavicle meets the acromion of the scapula)
  • The sternoclavicular (SC) joint (clavicle meets the chest bone [sternum])
  • The scapulothoracic joint (scapula meets with the ribs at the back of the chest)

With the hips and shoulders being some of the primary mobile joints in the body they require the most attention when it comes to getting your body ready for movement. There are some things to do in order to prime both the hips and shoulders, but for the sake of today’s discussion I’m going to cover a couple techniques for you to implement in order to prime and strengthen your shoulders for some serious movement.

Priming And Strengthening Your Shoulders

One drill that I like to employ prior to training is a simple little drill that I like to refer to as Palms To Face, Palms To The Back Of The Head. This little drill requires little to no equipment and it only takes a few seconds to implement. Of course if you want to step up this drill you can utilize a small plate, or even better you can use indian clubs.

As you can see this little drill works the shoulder joint throughout a full ROM. It is great for freeing up the shoulder and combatting the normal rigors of the shoulder being static from a lack of daily activity, particularly with this type of range of motion (ROM).

Because we want to warm up the shoulder to ensure shoulder integrity we also want to train the shoulder in a way to ensure its health and integrity. To do this we want to make sure that we are incorporating movement that promotes more thoracic extension of the shoulder girdle.

This is particularly true for people that have poor posture with a forward slouch of the shoulders. To combat this we want to incorporate exercises to strengthen the posterior chain and to maximize mobility and stability of the shoulder joint in a healthy manner.

One exercise I like using for this are band pull aparts. To increase the ROM I even like doing these while lying on a foam roller to pull my fists all the way down to touch the ground. This ensures a full ROM so that your shoulder blades are almost pinching together around your spine.

As you can see this drill is designed to really for abduction of the shoulder to improve standing posture. The goal of strengthening your shoulders should involve combatting the forward slouching posture that most all of us get from way too much sitting during the typical workday.

Another great drill I like to employ involves a closed kinetic chain drill that requires working on the ground. This one is a bit more challenging and is known as a shoulder pivot drill, or a varied crab stretch on one arm. The grounded arm is using the ground as resistance while the free arm is reaching across the body to torque your body for getting the stretch. This is a great drill I like to implement prior to most all of my training.

Strengthening Your Shoulders: The Takeaway

When focusing on getting the most out of your training make sure that you have a solid plan for freeing up your hips and shoulders. Priming for movement is the key to getting the most out of your day’s training and avoiding injury.

The key to having a strong body is making sure you have strong healthy shoulders. 

Are you working to prime and strengthen your shoulders regularly prior to your training?

If so what methods are you implementing to do so? 

Please post up and share here in the comments below. 

Also if you want to learn how to upgrade your shoulder and total body strength make sure you check out my brand new 120 Day Functional Fitness Training Program right here below! I guarantee it’ll get you into the best shape of your life, or I’ll give you your money back no questions asked.


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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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