Arm day, leg day, arm day, arm day again…sound familiar? Summer is coming and we know it’s important to keep the shoulder muscles rippling…but what about the muscles we don’t see? The shoulder is a complex joint; it contains many other small muscles that all need to fire in sequence for optimal function!
The smaller ‘invisible’ muscles of the shoulder joint include the rotator cuff and scapula stabilising muscles that hold your shoulder in a good position; they are the ‘core’ of your shoulder. These muscles are even more important for those of you who spend most of your day hunched over a desk as, in this position, they can completely slack off allowing your shoulders to creep forward. The popular ‘arm day’ exercises tend to focus on the superficial muscles at the front (obviously as these are what we see in the mirror!) however this can eventually lead to some serious muscle imbalance.
To avoid looking like that dude and more importantly to avoid getting shoulder pain, as you are increasing the weights of your chest press and shoulder press in preparation for a ‘shirts off’ summer, make sure that you don’t neglect the little ones! Below are 5 basic exercises for the muscles you don’t see. Think of them as a warm up…activating the deep muscles will allow the shoulder joint to cope with pumping up the weights for those big muscles groups that make you feel and look good!
1. Shoulder extension on the foam roller. A great thoracic stretch to allow full range of motion in the shoulder.
2. Side lying or cable external rotation. Maintain the elbow at 90 degrees, lift your hand toward the ceiling. Small weights, high repetitions.
3. Prone flies scapula setting. Resist the temptation to lift anything more than 2kg, no matter how strong you are.
4. Push up Plus. The plus refers to doing a regular push up action but at the top of the movement push the chest forward, moving the shoulder blades towards each other.
5. Pectoral Stretch on Foam roller.