Friday, September 2, 2011

Improving Shoulder ROM with theTRX

I had shoulder surgery in 2003. Not to claim myself as a "shoulder expert", but during that time I studied the shoulder extensively. I wanted to know everything I could so that I regain my strength and return to the weight-room. Well, it took me about 8 months after the surgery to really start exercising without feeling any twinges, discomfort, or subtle pain. I remember the most notable difference in my left shoulder was the range of motion was "rough". As I moved the shoulder in all directions,  it wasn't a smooth circular glide. During those 8 months, the shoulder moved in "click-clack" fashion. Scar tissue had developed that had hindered its normal range of motion (ROM) and had restricted my form on many upper-body exercises. There was no pain included with movement, just difficulty moving the joint--sort of like a rusty door-knob that needs some muscle to turn when you are expecting a smooth rotation of the handle.

My goal was to add some mobility work to help my shoulders. Every workout I had a set routine to prepare my shoulders for any upper-body work. I saw another lifter using a dowel to warm-up with shoulders and tried using the same tool with different motions. The result? in 2006, I came up with the Shoulder "S" Stretch:



At the time, I thought it was a great mobility exercise. It was featured in my Stronger Shoulders DVD, and has been since copied alot on YouTube in various ways, but I find it most beneficial when it is performed regularly during a pre-workout warm-up.
Back in 2006, the TRX Suspension Trainer had not even hit the market. At the time,  the dowel served its purpose in this mobility drill. However, its been close to 8 years since my shoulder surgery and I still continue to add mobility drills for my shoulders before a workout. I have used different kinds of mobility exercises, but lately, I toyed with the TRX and thought up another great shoulder mobility drill:



Why do I like it? Here's a list:

1.) I can add my bodyweight into each turn.
2.) I can adjust my body position if need be depending on my ROM deficiencies. (currently I have none).
3.) Unlike the "S" Stretch, which resembles a "Halo" movement, I can add more angles and body movements with the TRX.
4.) With more movements, I can add a stretch to more areas, including pectorals, lats, biceps, lower-body, etc. (If you watch carefully, how often I change my foot positions).
5.) It looks cooler than the dowel.

If you have problems with your shoulders, they will be exposed with this drill. You will possible run into a painful angle, turn of the shoulder/arm and uncover some problems. Keep in mind that you want to keep your torso tight and stiff. Be in control of each movement and do not "fall" into turns. Give this a try and let me know what you think!


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