Bulletproofing your shoulders to boost performance

Bulletproofing your shoulders to boost performance

We learned a lot from Dr. Andrew Kenas from The Charlotte Athlete at the shoulder workshop last weekend! Here is a summary of the workshop.

The shoulder joint provides range of motion in so many directions, which is why it can be susceptible to injury, because CrossFit takes the shoulder to its end range often. If you are having shoulder issue or prevent injury, do the following five drills and generally work on your mobility before working out.

To improve shoulder mobility and stability…

  1. Work on your lats (Drill 1 and 2) and pecs, specifically pec minor, which is attached to your shoulder blade (Drill 3)
  2. Work on extension AND rotation of thoracic spine (Drill 4)


Drill 1

Banded Overhead Lat Opener

1 Grab a thick band (green) and tie it on a high pull-up bar.

2 Put your hand through the band and then grab the band.

3 Lunge back on the same side as the hand holding the band.

Keep the thumb pointed upward. This is an aggressive lat stretch. Hold for 1.5 to 2 minutes per side.

Video: https://youtu.be/TKlhd53gObA


Drill 2

Lacrosse balling your Lats

Lay down on the ground with a lacrosse ball on your lat. Moderate the pressure on the ball with the top arm. Find a knot and:

1 Hold

2 Oscillate back and forth

3 Arm sweep overhead (thumb back to keep shoulder in external rotation)

Video: https://youtu.be/AN6sH6hRwMs


Drill 3

Lacrosse balling your pecs

Find the middle of your collarbone and go down 2 inches.

Place the lacrosse ball on your pec against a rack and:

1 Hold

2 Arm sweep overhead (thumb up)

Video: https://youtu.be/bo0H2CnccPg


Drill 4

Dynamic Thoracic Spine Opener, a stretch sequence 

Good to do in a warm up. Perform 5 reps holding each position for 2-3 seconds. Actively press hands into the ground throughout.

1 Start in high plank

2 Downward facing dog

3 Back to plank

4 Lunge right leg up

5 Open right arm rotate toward the leg 

6 Lunge back

7 Repeat on the left side

8 Back to plank

Video: https://youtu.be/7M5sUsfSIf0


Drill 5

Single Arm OHS with a light band

Great prep for overhead work, especially snatch. Perform 10 reps/side.

1 Use a very light band or crossover symmetry band attached to a squat rack about chest height.

2 Grab the band with your thumb pointing back

3 Perform a squat with your hand overhead.

Video: https://youtu.be/L6vjczOsqYU