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The BIGGEST Mistake In Building Shoulder Mobility

ultimate sandbag exercise equipment

I get it, having issues with your shoulders impacts way more in your gym training than just what you do for your upper body. It can feel like when you have shoulder issues that almost EVERYTHING in the gym is being hurt. That is why there is such an emphasis nowadays about shoulder mobility and that is a good thing, but man, we gotta improve how we approach how we perform shoulder mobility training.

Time and time again I see people just trying to move their shoulders in circles or cranking on stretches and soft-tissues that impact one’s shoulder. It just shows we haven’t moved past the idea of bodybuilding even when it comes to improving shoulder mobility (we still believe shoulder hurts, train the shoulder).

In the past we have covered many of these shoulder mobility training mistakes, pointing out how when we address the entire body and how we move and create stability often influences our shoulder mobility and overall health.

shoulder exercises

Out of all the mistakes people make in shoulder mobility training (and there are A LOT of them!) one of the biggest I see is not recognizing how other areas of our body influence our shoulder mobility and health. A great example is how most people don’t realize the neck can HEAVILY influence what does and doesn’t happen with our shoulder mobility.

shoulder mobility

All the nerves that just go through the brachial plexus is enough to show how much our neck can impact our should mobility. Any compression, damage, or anything that impacts these nerves (including poor gym training) can cause major compensations in both strength and mobility of the shoulder. This is something I’m sadly all too familiar with from my own life.

shoulder mobility

When I could barely lift my right arm up and pressing a 15 pound weight was challenging, I knew something wasn’t good with my neck. A doctor found that a disc in my neck was compressing my spinal cord and that led to the first of 3 surgeries on my neck leading with a fusion of C3-T2 (in other words a REALLY big procedure).

You can see how bad my arms were from the neck issues and while I am better I’ll never be fixed and work hard to keep my shoulder mobility and health in a good place where it makes my quality of life better. 

While there is more awareness of how important our neck is to our strength and overall movement, most people attack the neck in really aggressive strength training means. This can be a recipe for disaster because if we don’t have good movement and alignment of the neck, any strength training can lead to more compensations and issues in the neck. The muscles of the neck are not power muscles, they are more about posture.

The issue is that we usually sit, stand, and move in ways that don’t reinforce this good alignment and our nervous system adopts these new positions as our default. Over time this causes muscles to tighten as well as alters the movement of joints in our body. In other words, lots of NOT good things begin to happen. What’s the answer?

Is stretching your neck good? Sure, I have no problem with that, but it isn’t often the MOST productive way to re-establish good movement and help not just the neck, but the entire body. Working on integrated movements that train the entire chains of our body as well as incorporate specific breath work can do way more to our ability to help our shoulder mobility and even strength. How so? Watch below as I show how a simple shoulder screen can be improved upon when we use a very foundational breathing technique to help our shoulder mobility.

Once we understand these breath ideas, we can also implement more specific movement to the equation. A lot of times we are focusing on 3 keys…

-Opening up the tension in the arms, wrists, and hands

-Integrating the body from the ground up starting with good rooting of the feet

-Using spiral patterns that are innate to how our body is connected and creates movement

That ends up looking like drills I break down below…

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Over time this then allows us to open up our shoulder mobility training to combining mobility with strength training that actually helps solidify areas of our body that are causing our body to create tightness as you see below. I know, these strategies may seem “out there” from what you see on the internet, but these ideas aren’t just based on my own personal journey, but is solidly based on research of how we move. The only thing I did was find out ways to make the science come to life!