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!
Happy Wednesday all, hope everyone is enjoying the beginning of their summer and the kids haven't driven you madder than a hatter yet. It’s been a hot minute since I last put something down for you all to read, so let's fix that today. Most of you are aware that the number one thing that occupied my time over the last 3-4 month is coaching rugby. Last year I did a piece, inspired by another coach, talking about my thoughts on the season and things I may, or may not have, learned in my first season as the head coach.
It was my second go around as the head man this year. The year brought up some new things for me to learn and unlearn. Today, I wanted to share those lessons with you all, let’s get to it;
Stick to your guns- This is something I got better at from last year to this year. There were a few policies I tried to put in place last season, but I didn’t stick to them. By the end, I didn’t feel great about breaking away from them, so this year I vowed to do better. What a surprise, it worked much better this go around. The players understood what was expected of them, and in the end my conscious was much cleaner than last year. Did it make some players mad? Oh yeah it did, but in the end, you’re not going to make them all happy, just be consistent and your decisions won't be questioned...OK let's be real, they'll be questioned, no matter what, just less so.
Hold your leadership group accountable, they’ll take care of the rest- With the new season I decided to create a leadership group (thank you James Kerr). Yes, I had my captains and vice captains, but I wanted a slightly bigger group to hold the team accountable. Most of you know, I hate yelling, if it gets to that point then I blame myself, not the players. With that, there’s obviously a certain point where the players stop listening to the same voice.
Honestly, these youngins, whether they like me or not, I’m still somewhat of an authority figure, which means I’m not always going to be listened to. I did find that when messages came from their peers (the leadership group), it hit them just a bit harder and sunk in just a bit deeper. If I felt like the team was unfocused, instead of shouting at them, I’d have a quick word with my captains, tell them they have 1 minute with the team to get them to refocus. They’d have their word, we’d get a quick sip of water and back to it, most the times the team refocused, with a few exceptions (nothing’s perfect).
Show them you care, they’ll care too- This job is so much more than coaching the skills, the tactics, the analysis and all that. There are so many soft skills, as it were, that are required to be successful as a high school coach and make an impact. Seriously, if you're honored with being in this position, why are you going to make it all about wins and losses, and not try something that will last far better no matter how the season went.
There were a ton of challenges brought to my attention this year with the players, with that, more than anything else, I wanted to show them that, yes I cared greatly for them, their wellbeing and their growth as a person (never mind a rugby player). When I showed them this, what happened was really awesome, they truly cared about each other and each other’s well being on and off the pitch. The feeling of pure elation after a big achievement and the feeling of complete sadness after a disappointment, both are far better when there’s care shown by everyone around. There might not be crying in baseball, as it were, but if there’s no crying (not out of fear or terror mind you) after the players feel like they’ve let each other down, in my opinion, the group as a whole, didn’t care enough.
Those that want to know, yes this season in terms of record was more successful, but I feel like that was a product of things we laid last year and in our pre-season this year. When it becomes all about the record, you've turned a bad corner, and many times, there's not going back.
Thanks for reading everyone, hope you all haven't missed me too much. More content coming your way in the months ahead, so until next time, go out there and get after it.
Happy Monday to you all, hope everyone has shaken off the cobwebs from their late night watching of THAT series finale. I have returned from blog hibernation to bring you all a quick post to help everyone maybe feel a little less pain in their backside...or shoulder, same thing, right? Let's look at the inverted row and how to tweak it.
Inverted rows are an exercise I program for a wide variety of clients for a few reasons; they’re fairly simple, they’re a very effective upper body pulling exercise and there’s something about being able to control your body weight through movements like this that I find extremely valuable. There’s a few ways to do them, the most popular being a suspension trainer like the one I’m using here.
Here’s the thing, because they’re simple, doesn’t mean the technique is less important. Here’s a few things that can easily go awry that have quick fixes so your shoulder doesn’t grouchy 🤬 at you.
Have a look at the first video and then the second.
The first you’ll notice a few things;
Give these things a look and your inverted rows will be more effective and less painful. Hope you all have a great rest of the week, go out there and get after it.
Jarrod Dyke, CSCS