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3 Keys For Better Shoulder Health

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Time and time again, I have fitness pros asking me to help them with their chronic aches and pains. It is actually what I love most, trying to figure out why someone is unable to pursue something that is both healthy for them and their passion. An area that keeps coming up over and over again is issues with the shoulder.

People quickly believe they often lack mobility, or there is a certain muscle that doesn’t work right and they need to train that muscle, and so on. In other words, they rarely get to the real root of the issues of shoulder health. That is why I wanted to go over my 3 biggest keys in improving one’s shoulder health. These aren’t the ONLY things we do, but if you can nail them, they will get you well on your way of creating greater shoulder health.

healthy shoulders

1. Go Beyond The Shoulder

There is a powerful saying by the late and great neurologist and world authority in myoskeletal medicine, Karl Lewitt. The saying goes, “he/she who treats the site of pain is often lost”. While we always want to clear the shoulder of any true pathologies (usually that is only done by a doctor or a physical therapist) we have to look beyond just the shoulder. Even if we do have a true shoulder issue, chances are it was created by dysfunction through the chains of our body that didn’t operate correctly.

shoulder health

In the great paper titled, “Anterior and Posterior Serape: The Rotational Core”, the coaches and scientists explain how something like throwing a ball isn’t a shoulder movement, but rather a carefully integrated action from the lower body, to the core, and expressed through the “whipping action” of the shoulder. 

What papers like the above illustrate is the close relationship that the feet, legs, hips, and core have to the function of our shoulders. That is why half kneeling exercises are such a great way to teach better shoulder health, we can teach pressing down into our feet and stabilizing our core to give our upper body the appropriate “platform” to perform.


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A post shared by Joel Gunterman (@joelgun10)

Strength Coach, Joel Gunterman shows how we can teach the upper body, core, and lower body to work together to give us great shoulder strength and shoulder health in mobility/stability at the same time. 

We can reinforce the power the grip, core, and lower body have by adding more lateral and rotational stability as you see here connecting super bands to our Core Strap. 

2. Lack Of Mobility Is Often A Stability Issue

We have long been sharing with people that many of the mobility issues they see in the body are actually a result of impaired stability. When it comes to mobility and shoulder health this is often VERY much the case!

core strength

So, how can we create better solutions for shoulder health and mobility by using really smart stability training? Coach Gunterman gives a great explanation and break down of such ideas.


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A post shared by Joel Gunterman (@joelgun10)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Joel Gunterman (@joelgun10)

3. Using Myofascial Stretches

When we do go to stretch or try to improve our range of motion we should be focusing on both myofascial stretches and relaxed breathing patterns. Myofascial stretching aims to integrate rather than isolate areas of our body so that we work on the entire chain that could be impairing our movement. There is a lot of research showing how incredibly effective myofascial stretching can be for improving range of motion.

This effectiveness is raised a few levels by reducing the tension in both the mind and body. Since our mental state can also impact our physical, working on deep inhales and exhales as we perform myofascial stretches can really enhance the shoulder health and movement we achieve. Physical Therapist, Jessica Bento, shows some great ideas below!

Improving our shoulder health comes in both having a plan, understanding how the shoulder works with the entire body, and things we may not be doing correctly to train for shoulder health and strength the most productive ways possible.

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