Arm day at the gym again?

March 05, 2015 at 12:27 PM

Arm day, leg day, arm day, arm day again…sound familiar? Summer is here and we know it’s important to keep man boobs at bay and 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 stability muscles that hold your shoulder in place; they are the ‘core’ of your shoulder if you like. These muscles are even more important for those of you who spend most of your day hunched over a desk as this position allows the smaller muscles to completely slack off and 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 pulling your shoulders into a more rounded position and closing the space inside your shoulder joint casuing impingement and pain.

To avoid getting shoulder pain, make sure that as you are upping the weights of your chest press in preparation for a ‘shirts off’ summer that you don’t neglect the little ones! Below are 5 basic exercises for shoulder mobility and activation of the muscles you don’t see, think of them as a warm up. This 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. Overhead stretch on foam roller for mid back and shoulder mobility

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2. Side lying external rotation

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3. Push up 'plus' for scapula stability

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4. Prone flies

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5. Pec stretches on foam roller

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