Happy Thirsty Thursday everyone, are you over the excitement of our World Cup victory yet? Me neither. I'm back with more stuff for you dive into while you're pretending the person next to you on the train isn't being really gross. DON'T LOOK, oh geez, now you just made it weird. Alright, just turn your back a touch so you can read without it getting worse.
As you probably guessed, this post has something to do with your shoulders. I don’t know what the data actually says, but if I had to venture a guess, I’d wager shoulders are the 2nd most injured joint in the body. I mean think about it, how many different ways can you hurt your shoulder? Hell, sleeping on it wrong will likely bring some discomfort at the very least.
Potentially, the quickest remedies most resort to are, stretch it or mashing it at certain soft tissue points in the area. Among a laundry list of things you could do to help that shoulder, I bet the one thing most don’t go to is fixing their alignment, posture, or whatever hoity term you’d like to apply to it. Today I’ve got 5 (or so) drills that you can do, to perhaps provide some very unexpected relief from that shoulder pain or discomfort.
Quadruped Breathing- Let’s start by establishing, your rib cage has to be able to move, somewhat, and if your lower back has more movement in it than your rib cage, you may have your answer as to why you’re lower back hurts, you’re welcome. This drill is something to get that rib cage to maybe loosen up and your scaps to move a bit too. I am actively pushing away with my hands here and try to exhale as much as you can. No more than 3-5 breaths needed to get the benefits here.
Deep Squat Breathing- Again, similar drill to the one above, I’m just doing it a maybe more adaptable position to something you’re about to do. Try to keep a somewhat comfortable position that you can maintain without starting to compensate, because what good does that do? Same as above for reps, 3-5 breaths.
Bench T-Spine Mobility- Lats people, lats! some of you are a walking set of them, but you’re not giving them any love. This drill is a two birds with one stone type of deal. Maybe get a little bit of love to said lats and also, continuing to open up that rib cage (or t-spine). Be sure you concentrate on sitting back, not just forcing your head and chest towards the floor. Breathe through it kids, it’ll be ok, I promise. 10 reps will get you feeling like you can hold up the earth.
Forearm Wall Slides- There is a fairly long list of variations for this drill. Here’s two that I resort to the most, wall slides with a lift and foam roller wall slides. 10 reps for both and you’ll be good to rock.
-With a Lift- One of the things that your shoulder blades (aka scapula) need to do, is upwardly rotate, also tilt posteriorly, yeah I know that’s fancy terminology coming from me, that just means you need to trust me here. This little sucker is one that I will often employ with clients when I sense something has gone awry in their scapular function. Yoinked this off of the one and only, Eric Cressey, many years ago (as have many others since).
-Foam Roller- This here incorporates all of the above and gives us a little protraction, again something that many can’t get their scaps to do, hence this being another popular drill for Team First XV. Yes I know, fancy and anatomical names aren’t my thing, if that’s the case, perhaps it means I’m on to something here, no?
Plank- Often used, under coached and under appreciated, the plank has many benefits, and you don’t have to hold it for 2 minutes to reap them either. Work on holding this position nice and steady while using your glutes, don’t forget to breathe. I’ve actually seen coaches program this for a certain number of breaths as opposed to time, not a bad idea actually. 15-30 seconds or 3-5 breaths will make you right as rain.
So, what did we learn?
Thanks for stopping by everyone! Go out there, address that shoulder issue, and get after it!
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Jarrod Dyke, CSCS