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Tip: Bulletproof your shoulders at home

The shoulder is a ball joint that enables incredible freedom of movement. Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of reduced stability, which makes your shoulder one of the most difficult joints in the body.

If you don't have proper motor control over your upper back muscles and your shoulder blades can't move, free around your chest is a continuous cycle in which you pinch and hurt your shoulder again.

Try the following exercises to help stabilize your shoulders, free your shoulder blades, and mobilize your T spine so you can exercise painlessly.

Press "W" behind your back

This is great for strengthening the rotator cuff and teaching your body how to properly retract your shoulder blades and pinch your elbows during the eccentric part of an upper – body press exercise.

Although you can do this with the tape in front of your body, you can better pull back your shoulder blades if you put it behind your back. This allows the head of the humerus to sit better in the socket due to the additional external rotation on the shoulder.

Start with the elbows tucked into your sides and the shoulders pulled back to make a "W" with your arms and torso. Stretch the tape as you stretch your arms out so that they form a "T".

Concentrate on continuously tensioning the band and maintaining the external rotation of the shoulder so that your shoulder sits naturally in the socket.

Behind the Back Banded Flye

This is ideal for freeing your shoulder blades and activating your front delts. Start with straight arms and palms in a neutral position. Try touching your little fingers with your palms facing up when your arms are in front of you.

Hold your core and focus on rounding your upper back to create a "hollow chest". This way you can maximize the movement you get through your shoulder blades and get more mobility for the T spine.

"W" press in Flye

This exercise combines the "W" press and the banded fly, creating more time under tension and a heavy burn. Do 10 "Ws" behind the back and 10 banded flies to score a good movement pattern before trying to combine them.

Bow and Arrow

This is similar to pulling the tape apart vertically, but allows more vertical overhead movement because your arm starts right next to your head. This will fire up your lats and allow you to achieve a full rotation and lifting of the shoulder blade upwards due to the vertical starting position of your movable arm.

First position your movement arm with your biceps next to your ear and your stationary arm to the side so that tension is applied to the band. Keep your stationary arm steady and your elbow straight as you pull your movable arm away from your head.

Pulling out diagonally

Not every upper body press or pressure exercise has a perfect bar path. The ability to stabilize your shoulders from different angles above your head is crucial to keeping you healthy and strong.

Trains with diagonal stripes prepare the rotator cuff and upper back to stabilize the shoulder from different angles. This prevents the shoulder from "pinching" when it easily gets out of position.

Keep both elbows straight and engage your core so that your lower back does not arch excessively when you pull. Make sure that both thumbs point away from your body so that your shoulders can move into the outer rotation more naturally when you pull the tape apart.

Related topics:
The Banded Shoulder Press

14 band exercises for larger lifts

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