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The best way to approach warming up your shoulders

The shoulder is one of the most complex joint structures in the body, between that and the hip is where most athletes experience the most movement dysfunction. The shoulder most of all in overhead athletes like baseball and softball. This is because the shoulder itself rarely moves in isolation. With most general movements with the shoulder the upper back and lower back are either flexing, extending or rotating. When the shoulder can’t do its job and perform full range of motion movement with stability compensation will happen at the spine.

While we don’t want to discourage movement at the spine, especially during athletic movements like throwing since its required for optimal performance. We do want to make sure everything is working properly so that one area isn’t being overused or disproportionally relied on.

This means during a proper warm up for overhead athletes the following should be considered and addressed.

- T-spine rotation, extension and flexion

- Active shoulder internal rotation, external rotation, flexion, extensions, abduction, adduction and upward rotation of the scapula

- Dynamic scapular stability

While performing a warm up, look at each exercise as a way to check off a box that will address at least 1 of these 3 categories. Start by addressing each in isolation in the beginning of the warm up then finish with dynamic movement that will hit on all of these together. It may look a little something like this.

1. T-spine mobility

- Half kneeling T-spine rotations with band

- Bench T-spine extensions

2. Active shoulder movement

- Half kneeling shoulder CARs

- Black burns

- Half kneeling ER holds

3. Dynamic shoulder stability

- Half kneeling bottoms up kettle bell overhead press

- Latt packs

4. Dynamic movement that addresses these movements together

- Yoga push up into spiderman lunge


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