Our shoulder joint is the most mobile joint in our body. Unfortunantly, with lots of mobility comes lots of instability, making our shoulder joint one of the most unstable joints in our body as well. To get a better idea, think of your shoulder joint as a golf ball sitting on a tee. Just as only a tiny portion of that golf ball is actually touching the tee, only a small portion (1/3 to 1/2) of the head of the humerus is actually in contact with the genoid fossa, therefore making this joint very unstable.
Making up our shoulder joint, we have 3 bones: the clavicle, humerus, & scapula. Inside our genohumeral joint lies the labrum, which acts to deepen the joint as well as aid in stability. Numerous ligaments & muscles (specifically our “rotator cuff muscles”) aid in stabililty of this joint as well.
When getting your shoulder joint healthy or maintining the health & function of your shoulder joint MOBILITY COMES BEFORE STABILITY.
Exercises to increase shoulder/thoracic spine mobility:
- Foam Roll T-Spine (mid-back)
- Foam Roll Lats
- T-Spine Rotations (Openbooks)
- T-Spine Rotation + Arm Sweep
Once mobility is achieved, more focus can be put into stability.
Exercises to increase shoulder stability:
Farmers Walks: Start by picking up 2 Kettlebells, one in each hand. Upper body focus: Stand tall, thoracic spine should be extended so chest is up. Squeeze the shoulder blades together. Lower body focus: Squeeze your glutes therefore tilting your pelvis posteriorly and engaging your core. I always tell my clients to imagine a string is pulling them from their head to the ceiling so lengthening of the spine occurs. Head is back (in line with spine) & chin slightly tucked under. From this position, start taking SMALL, SLOW steps. Steps should be small & slow so that you are able to focus on all of the previous cues I just mentioned. The weight should be HEAVY.
Turkish Get Ups:
Kettlebell Overhead Walk: Kettlebell is raised overhead, bicep in line with the ear, arm ALWAYS straight. If you can’t keep your arm staight, take the weight down. In this position, “pack your shoulder” as you walk with the kettlebell overhead. Again, walk slow with smaller steps than you typically would if you were walking normally. Be aware of posture here as well. T-spine should be extended & chest up.
Feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you have any more questions on this topic or the exercises listed! : )