It is no secret that CrossFit involves an insane amount of shoulder work, which leads to some super strong shoulders, but we can often neglect important aspects of normal true shoulder mobility. If I was to take my class and ask them to warm up their shoulders, it is almost guaranteed that 99% of them would immediately resort to pass-throughs (dislocates). Although a great shoulder mobilizer, it does not train all of the movements that are normally used. It is important to know all of the ways that the shoulders work in order to keep them as strong as possible and to prevent potential injury.
The shoulder is comprised of two joints; the shoulder joint and the and the shoulder girdle. The shoulder joint is the most commonly referred to joint as it is the joint that actually moves the arm, as well as it is the most mobile joint in the body. This joint deals with shoulder flexion (raise arm in front), shoulder extension (lowering arm/raising arm behind you), shoulder abduction (raise shoulder out to side), shoulder adduction (lower arm back to side), shoulder internal rotation (rotate hand towards midline), shoulder external rotation (rotate hand away from midline), shoulder horizontal adduction (abduct arm to shoulder height and bring it across the torso), shoulder horizontal abduction (return arm from shoulder horizontal adduction and return it out laterally). Watch the correlating videos and give them a try. There is also the shoulder girdle, which is thought of as the shoulder blade. The shoulder girdle elevates the shoulder (shrug shoulders), shoulder depression (pull shoulders down), Shoulder protraction (reach shoulders in front), Shoulder retraction (pull shoulder blades back), shoulder upward rotation (raise arms laterally past 90°) and shoulder downward rotation (lower arms back to side). Just like the shoulder joint movements, try all of these movements as well.
Now this leads us to the all-important “why?” CrossFit workouts are almost always favored towards shoulder flexion and external rotation, so it is important to regularly practice ALL of these movements to keep your shoulders healthy. Check out these videos to for stretches and stabilizing exercises to practice at home and at the gym,
Whether you are an aspiring CrossFit athlete, a casual exerciser or someone that just wants to feel better, this is for you. Let’s do all that is necessary to keep our body’s working for as long as they can and at the of best their ability.