Having mobility in your shoulders will not only help with your technique and power in your stroke, it will also improve your shoulders muscle and joint health.
The shoulder joint sacrifices stability for mobility, resulting in being one of the most mobile joints in the body. As we go through modern day life, our environment promotes posture and mobility issues. This is why working on mobility is key to a healthy injury free body.
Let's not confuse strengthening and mobility here. You need to focus on both strength and mobility to maintain healthy muscles and joints. In this blog I will show you some useful exercises to practise to keep your shoulders moving in the way they were designed.
As you can see from the video below I am using a foam roller, you can also do this with a towel rolled up if you do not have access to one of these.
I allow my shoulders to drop down towards the floor, opening up my chest.
The video as been sped up for you. I hold the position for around 2 minutes before I start performing a snow angel action with my arms for a following minute and a half.
Talking of snow angels, this brings me on to my next exercise
Snow angel against the wall.
Start standing with hips back and shoulder against the wall having the feet position slightly away from the wall this will enable you to keep your rib cage down and your back closer to the wall. Start with your arms in a 90 degrees position aiming to get your arms to touch the wall then slowly start to extended your arms up aiming to keep your arms against the wall. Do not worry if you cannot get your arms against the wall at first, keep practising this and you will see improvements.
Admitedly I do feel like the coolest person in the gym but this exercise is like WD40 for your shoulders. Back to what I spoke about at the beginning of the blog, your shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint which means that it is designed to rotate. Performing 15-20 repetitions a day this will keep your joints well oiled to keep the movement through your shoulders
Scapular retraction on lat pull down machine.
This exercise will not only help your posture but it will also promote shoulder retraction and help open up your chest. Sitting at a desk, or for my triathletes spending so much time sitting on a bike on your drop down handle bars really helps to promote that quose modo effect on your upper back.
Stands for controlled articular rotations, in another words taking your joint through it's full range of motition. Another WD40 one.
Start with your thumb facing forward as you carry on raising your arm there will be a point where it becomes difficult to carry on (usually by your ear) reach up and then rotate the shoulder dropping the arm down until your arm reaches your hip aiming to keep the movement in the same line.
The more you move your joints the better lubricated they become. If you do have trouble with mobility try to do this as many times a week as your can. Aim to do your Egyptians and CARs once a day and let me know how it goes.