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How to Increase Your Shoulder Strength and Mobility

Having strong and mobile shoulders is really important.

If your shoulders are strong and mobile, then you are going to be able to practice advanced skills, such as handstands and overhead squats with better form, with a greater range of motion (ROM) and less chance of injury.

If your shoulders are weak and immobile, then your form and range of motion are going to suffer and you will be more likely to get injured.

If you don’t want to progress towards advanced exercises and you are satisfied with your shoulder strength and mobility, then you can skip this post.

But, if you are like the rest of us, who want to have pain free shoulder mobility while being able to perform advanced feats of strength, then practicing the movements presented in this post will help you achieve the results that you want.

To Sum Up, The Benefits Are These:

  1. You are going to progress faster and more safely towards advanced movements. Both pushing and pulling.
  2. You are going to have better posture.
    The shoulders and scapula play a very important role in your posture.
  3. You are going to be more resilient to injuries.

Before moving on, you should understand that strength and mobility are not separated, but rather compliment each other. Being mobile will help you exert strength in a greater ROM. For this reason, it is important to make an integrated plan that contains both mobility and strength exercises.

Mobility Exercises For The Shoulders

You can practice mobility exercises as much as you want without worrying.

Actually the more you do them the better.

Be mindful however not to overexert and hurt yourself. You don’t want the exercises to be painful. As I shared previously, your strain level should be less than 3/10.

Shoulder Mobility Exercise #1. Pass Thrus And Shoulder 8’s

For these exercises, you can use a sturdy object like a wooden stick. If you are not mobile enough, you can use something softer with more give, like a towel. As I stated previously you don’t want to hurt yourself, so be mindful and perform the movement with control. Practice 10-20 reps per set.

As I stated previously you don’t want to hurt yourself, so be mindful and perform the movement with control. Practice 10-20 reps per set.

Practice 10-20 reps per set.

Shoulder Mobility Exercise #2. Tea Cup Mobility Exercise

This is an excellent exercise to do at any time.

In the beginning, don’t use cups.

Practice 5-10 reps in both directions.

Shoulder Mobility Exercise #3. Other Neck And Shoulders Mobility Exercises

In this video, Steve Cotter demonstrates a full body mobility routine. What I want you to notice are the neck and shoulder exercises. You can practice the Egyptian rotations together with the tea cup exercise.

Based on my experience practicing neck mobility helps with shoulder mobility as well. Do the neck exercises prior to the shoulder ones.

Strength Exercises For Shoulders

In this section, we are not going to discuss shoulder strength in general, but about exercises that will help you increase your strength and mobility at the same time.

For exercises about general shoulder and scapula strength, you should check this post:

Shoulder Strength Exercise #1. Reverse Plank

 

This exercise is going to challenge your lower back and glutes as well. 
While performing this movement, you want to increase the stretch in your shoulders lightly. If you don’t feel any stretch in the top position, you can elevate your legs. Don’t rush with this movement to avoid injuries.
Perform 10-20 reps per set with a tempo 1,0,1,5.

Shoulder Strength Exercise #2. German Hang / Skin The Cat

For this movement, you are going to need a pull up bar or rings. This in an advanced exercise and you might not be able to perform it yet.

Perform 3-5 reps per set with tempo 2,1,2,5.

Again practice with complete control.

Shoulder Strength Exercise #3. Bridge Push ups

Bridge push ups and the static bridge are incredible exercises to increase your overhead reach. It is kind of strange that only a few people practice them. Bridging requires a flexible lower back as well, so in the beginning, you may not be able to achieve the full ROM. Focus on opening your chest and try to bring your shoulder above your hands (this is going to take a while).

Perform sets of 3-5 reps at tempo 1,0,1,5.

For static bridging progressions, you can check my report “The 5 Best Core Exercises“.

Shoulder Strength Exercise #4. The hanging challenge

The 30 day hanging challenge is really going to help you with your shoulder strength and mobility.

You can find more information about this challenge at this article [Hanging] and other posts by Ido.

Implementation

There are lots of ways to implement these movements to your current training routine. I always like to do the mobility drills before my workouts, in the middle of the sets, when I wake up and in the middle of the day.

The strengthening routines can be done after your main workout, as a warm up or during the (active) rest days. You can alternate between the scapula positions and the strengthening exercises.

For example, you can do 2 circuits of:

  • 10-20 pass thru’s
  • 10-20 8’s

at your warm up and as a cool down.

For the strength part, you can add 3×30 seconds of static bridging after your core workouts and start the 30 day hanging challenge.

If you have any questions, feel free to post them below.

~Nick

NB002a

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