Three Goals and a Baby
This week I’ll be looking at shoulder drills, specifically for anyone involved in a sport
requiring overhead work such as tennis or lacrosse . In these videos Jen is our model. Jen
plays lacrosse and is also an obstetrician, with both of these roles requiring a great degree of
power and control. It’s a fair point that the ultimate goal of one is to get a ball IN the net,
while the other is to take a baby OUT of.. well you get the idea.. Jen presented with a great
degree of reliance on her upper traps for most movements, as well as tightness in lats and
pain around her ac joint. After I explained to Dr Jen that she actually had a shoulder blade as
well as a glenohumeral joint we set about getting her to move it. Below is a selection of the
exercises we regularly programme into her sessions.
A big part of improving shoulder health is improving strength with basic pushing and pulling
patterns. Rather than treat Jen like a broken sensitive sally china doll, we want her training
like the badass goal scoring lacrosse machine that she is. We use the landmine press as our
overhead pressing movement. The angle of pressing isn’t completely vertical meaning folk
who are tight through the thoracic spine can load up without compensating with rib boobs (I
wish I could remember where I first heard this very descriptive term) . By utilising a forward
lean from the ankle (think smooth criminal) you can drive further upward rotation of the
scapula and get into more of an overhead position. It’s also easier to feel the whole shoulder
girdle working here, and the trunk gets a good workout from resisting extension and rotation.
Banded wall walks
We use this one as part of a warm up, or as a filler in between sets of heavier exercises like
deadlifts. It’s effective in working the muscles responsible for external rotation and should
allow the client to ‘feel’ the muscles around the scapula firing. I learned this version from
Tony Gentilcore and Dean Somerset’s Complete Shoulder and Hip Blueprint. Any PTs out
there interested in improving their knowledge on shoulder and hip anatomy, as well as some
strategies to help clients move better, should check it out.
Band pull aparts
These aren’t fancy, and there’s a few variations out there you can try. We’ve recently been using
these supinated bent elbow versions to work on external rotation, again as part of warm ups and in
between compound movements. For those of you with a keen eye, this video doesn’t feature Jen. It does, however, feature our homemade shelves and epic plant game. We really are a pair of Titmarches..
The other area that we’ve worked on that doesn’t seem like it would directly contribute to improved
shoulder function is anterior core strength. This, along with releasing tension from the lats and improving thoracic extension allow Jen to get into what would be considered a more neutral position to lift/move from.
Jen has seen significant improvements, both with work and on the pitch. ‘This time last year I would spend a fair amount of time in pain after a lacrosse match or difficult C-section. Now I can happily play/score/deliver without a problem.’ She also says ‘ Gregor is awesome, with amazing chat’, which may have been taken out of context from her original text,but is still a direct quot, and which is a great and very true way to end this post!