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Building Better Shoulder & Hip Mobility

Screen Shot 2021 01 11 at 7.07.51 AM - Building Better Shoulder & Hip Mobility

To be honest I really don’t mind if someone wants to use bodybuilding methods to train. If that is what you enjoy, that is cool, but if you are going to promote such methods to help people move better, be stronger, and feel better, I am going to have some questions. Sometimes we don’t even realize we are using bodybuilding in our training as a great example is how many people don’t know they are doing so when they are training for better shoulder and hip mobility.

sandbag training

I wanted to share one of my favorite quotes about functional training from renown spine expert, Dr. Stuart McGill because people genuinely don’t understand why we use functional training as our foundation. Most people approach shoulder and hip mobility by focusing on just the shoulders and the hips. However, that isn’t how our body functions and the issues that impact the shoulders are often similar or at least have come link to the hips because they are interconnected. How is that possible?

shoulder exercises

Looking at the picture above there are some important ideas that will help convey how we should often think of shoulder and hip mobility training as pretty connected. The most obvious is the lats that attach at our shoulder also connect to our spine (part of our core), and to our pelvis (core and hips are here). If nothing else, you should see how the lats connect our upper and lower body so therefore it only makes sense that the shoulders, core, and hips should be thought of as being trained together rather than individual parts.

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When we look at the chains of the body (as you see above) it becomes more apparent that shoulder and hip mobility should have an emphasis on similar concepts. That would be integrating the feet, hips, core, and upper body all at once (there is one more thing for the shoulders, but if you understand these concepts your shoulder and hip mobility training will improve so greatly!).

healthy knees

The Joint by Joint approach helps us see that lack of mobility can often be an issue of stability especially in the feet, core, and hands for such stability. 

How Do We Do It?

Using the right environment is key for getting greater results from your shoulder and hip mobility training. What do I mean by “environment”? Far too often I see people laying on benches to focus on their shoulders, or positions when they train their hips that largely takes out their core and/or feet. As you can see above, the core is ESSENTIAL to building better shoulder and hip mobility and research has even shown this to be the case (HERE).

One of the best ways to build better shoulder and hip mobility is by using the half kneeling position. However, not just being in the position, but being deliberately active. We want the feet pushing down and “grabbing” the ground, that is why we often use an XL mini band for feedback.

hip mobility

When we do so, then we can introduce a variety of powerful DVRT drills, but one of my favorites for quickly improving shoulder and hip mobility is the Arc Press from the half kneeling position. The power of this movement comes from the tension we get in pulling the Ultimate Sandbag apart to integrate the lats and core from the top down, while the feet do so from the bottom up. Yes, we can press overhead in many ways, but what makes the Arc Press powerful is the hand position we have (the neutral grip gives us better lat engagement), the lateral motion which gives us greater core engagement, and even though this is really a one arm press, having both hands pulling apart gives us more stability through both sides. Even if you don’t think you have the mobility to go overhead, when you use these strategies people are SHOCKED at how they can do so with no discomfort and their shoulder and hip mobility improve.

hip mobility shoulder mobility

Strength Coach, Martin Adame shows some of the keys in our Arc Press and does a great break down below. 

 

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A post shared by Martín Adame, CSCS (@martinadame1)

How fast are some of our results in mobility? Pretty instant and we are working on strength as well!

hip mobility

Not only do you see Martin with better shoulder mobility, but greater hip extension as well telling us our hips are not just more mobile, but functioning at a higher level as well! The details of these movements are how we create “magic” in DVRT.

 

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A post shared by Martín Adame, CSCS (@martinadame1)

 If due to injury or pain you can’t go overhead, Martin gives a great alternative that will help our shoulder and hip mobility training while building an important foundation. 

I am not going to suggest that we can’t use other methods like soft-tissue and even stretching when absolutely necessary, but in many cases this isn’t the best use of time when we are looking at how to be most efficient with our workouts while still addressing shoulder and hip mobility training. Since time is a factor that impacts most workout programs, finding more efficient strategies allows us to build greater consistency and ability to cement these patterns.

hip mobility

 

That is why when Martin shows using a popular strategy like a shinbox which really emphasizes hip mobility we still integrate the core and upper body.

 

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A post shared by Martín Adame, CSCS (@martinadame1)

What you notice is that Martin works a lot from the top position which is far more friendly for those that actually have hip mobility issues where starting on the ground would cause too much discomfort and only put on the breaks more. 

Hopefully what you are getting from today’s post is how we should approach shoulder and hip mobility from a scientific perspective, not a bodybuilding one of trying to isolate these areas which goes against the design of our bodies. Many things “work” just some things work WAY better and more efficiently. I know which one I’d rather go with! Mobility training also isn’t something you just do in your warm-up, Robin Paget shows how we take these concepts and integrate strength and movement based training which is what largely makes DVRT such a unique program.

Don’t miss this week only, invest in our Strength Ultimate Sandbag and you can get our Power Ultimate Sandbag for 50% off. Just use code “50off” HERE