- Common issue for bodybuilders who focus on developing pecs but not back, pecs pull shoulders forward, and for office workers sitting at a computer all day
- “In my opinion, its not an issue of stretching. Virtually everyone is limber enough that they can hold their shoulders in the proper position. The issue is increasing the strength of the muscles which hold the shoulders back so that when at rest, the shoulders find the proper position.”
- Quick test: When you stand with your arms at your side, do your thumbs point forward? If they point to your hips, you have a muscular imbalance
- Exercises to correct:
- reverse fly
- face row – resistance bands, cable setup: pull horizontally towards your face. with barbell, bend over and use narrow grip.
- shoulder row – keep elbows OUT to engage upper back instead of lats
- bent over shrug
- Not only can the shoulder joint go through 360 degrees of motion, but it’s basically only held together by muscle, tendon and ligament connective tissue – unlike the more robust ball and socket, hinge, saddle and pivot joints. This leaves the joint vulnerable to instability, with the scapula being the main driver for shoulder stability.
- In my years of coaching a broad range of people, I haven’t found an exercise that’s more “bang for your buck” for shoulder health, mobility and strength than the shoulder dislocate. Not only will it put your shoulder joint through its full range of motion to aid in gaining/maintaining mobility, but it will also help strengthen it along the way in all of those small areas and corners you may not otherwise be addressing. Performing them weighted doubles the benefit…
- The scapula is the king of straight arm strength and overhead stability. A lot of people think that when their arms bend in most straight arm movements, that it’s because of lack of arm strength – when it’s commonly weak or compromised scapula that cause the arms to bend and take the load. The dislocate works the scapula through nearly all of its axis motions – elevation, depression, protraction, retraction, rotation, and some form of tilting.
- Over the course of weeks to months (not training sessions), slowly bring your grip width in until you reach around 1.5-1.75x your shoulder width. This alone can be quite humbling and takes some time.
- For best results and quickest adaptation, perform them weighted. You do this by starting off with a 1.25kg/3lb weight plate, and putting the stick through it so that the weight balances in the middle of the stick. Do not go up in weight until you reach 1.5-1.75x your shoulder width. Only when you do reach this width, you can then go up to 2.5kg/5.5lb. Use very small increments. Generally, working up to 10kg is enough for most of the adult population. Don’t be a cowboy with this, otherwise you will pay the price.
- Always perform them slowly. A rep forward and back should take you 5 seconds. You won’t get the benefits if you speed through the exercise.