Here’s Max Shank with Mike Bledsoe and Doug Larson from Barbell Shrugged, talking prevention of shoulder injuries, a few key points:
talking about Bottoms up kettlebell presses
do more of these, and try to get your bottoms up press to within 10% of your dumbbell press. Indicator of shoulder stability. Towards the end Max outlines how he does most of his pressing / shoulder work
Active mobility vs passive mobility – try to get your active mobility to about the same as passive mobility, you should be able to move all of your joints actively to the same range of motion as someone else can manipulate them to.
Breathing patterns: everything starts with the breath (great short quote that Max can’t remember who he stole it from ‘Proximal stability = distal mobility’) and having incorrect breathing muscle tone is a very common source of instability through the core leading to tightness in the shoulders. Info on correct breathing exercises here from Quinn Henoch
Side planks with good belly breathing, tall posture, and some neck rotations (to force the lat / teres to stop doing the job of the obliques) Dean Somerset has written a few times about the side plank helping hip mobility also
Neck tension: http://rkcblog.dragondoor.com/check-your-neck-before-you-wreck-it/
Max mentioned this article and a common fix for neck dysfunction, neck rotations at the top of a pullup and pushup position.
‘Owning a position’ Max and Doug talk of the importance of owning a position, as in being able to breathe fully and move your neck freely at the top of a pullup, or at the bottom of a barbell squat being able to take full breaths like /u/gnuckols ‘ Paused squat video with Omar from a while back
Scapular protraction on pushups: /u/Antranik and most from the /r/bodyweightfitnesssub are adamant on this also, here’s a video from him explaining the proper pushup – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dF1DOWzf20&t=97s
Focusing on athleticism to create choices in sports rather than getting stuck in one training style / sport for life (this one may be unpopular with the powerlifting crowd here). Max also touches on this towards the start, basically saying everyone should have a phase of focusing on each different part of training, bodybuilding, powerlifting, gymnastics, olympic lifting, tricking, parkour, whatever
Asymmetry and the futility of creating symmetrical programs to fix imbalances
The importance of rotation work, Dr Jon Mike
is another strong/qualified guy who talks about transverse plane training very often on his instagram. Max talks about how he finds pretty much everyone to be horrifically weak in anti-rotation when they come to him for training.
If your shoulders are a little sore and you don’t have someone good near you who can evaluate and fix your issues properly, what should you do? Basically don’t give up, train the shit out of everything that doesn’t hurt it, and check out his book (The Simple Shoulder Solution) which has more of his methods detailed in it. He talks about how his book takes people up to L-sit to handstand on rings, or skin the cat, which are basically shoulder circles under load, one a pull, one push.
Gymnastics moves leading to strong / mobile shoulders. Max also talks about the benefits of proprioceptive input from doing bodyweight movements – I have to say personally I can vouch for that, did gymnastics as a kid and have always been quick to pick up new movements/sports, because it’s very easy to be aware of your positions and copy what others do when you have a good proprioceptive connection.
From part 6
if you lift heavy AND do spine flexion movements, i.e. situps, those two are counter-opposed. That’s a poor choice of exercise combination (…) if you lift heavy, you can’t do situps and yoga and all these heavy bending exercises, so you gotta pick one (…) if you’re gonna lift, you need the opposite of what yoga gives you: stiffness in the spine
Some people have misquoted me saying McGill is against flexion (…) I never said « don’t do flexion moment work » (…) there’s a difference between flexion and flexion moments
Every great sprinter in the world has a lot of lordosis (…) you HAVE to have it because the power production out of the hips [is] created through the stride during the sprinting
It looks like what McGill is saying is that in the same way we choose rep ranges / form styles for training specificity, we should also choose some movements while avoiding others. This is because the principle of specificity holds true for « everything » we do. So a gymnast is not adapted to lift heavy weights because of his flexible spine, and an olympic lifter « needs » a non-flexible, stable spine, to be able to do his lifts safely. Hence McGill seems to suggest that a lot of spinal (or muscular) flexibility is not good for lifters. He has talked about this previous in this video with Duffin
Summary of the video:
- Being happy/smiling in the gym means weaker neural drive & lowered performance potential
- Become a little angry for maximal performance
- Always practice technique as if it was a max attempt, even easy warmup sets
- You can prime athletes neurologically before max attempts via putting their body in a state of fight or flight
- Athletes are tuned elastic machines that store elastic energy strategically. You can leak elastic energy by being too soft or overstiff
- The purpose of stretching is to tune this elastic energy
- Athletes shouldn’t stretch outside of their « working » range. Mobility can ruin athletes at the elite level (8:28)
- Stretching reduces sensitivity of stretch receptors
- Don’t overdo mobility (avoid being « loose » before maxing). Powerlifters should never stretch outside of their elastic range to preserve their elastic energy at the end range of the lift (« that’s what lifting suits do – they provide artifical stiffness » 9:47)
- A long boring warmup can be relaxing and doesn’t put the athlete in the right state of mind (neural drive)
: Don’t break form, it leads to injury
If you’re doing endurance training:
By going to failure you just ruined your athleticism.
: The most important core exercises: bird-dog, side bridge, and modified curl-up
It’s all about stiffening the core, and freeing the hips and shoulders
The muscles of the spine are designed to stop motion (..) if you keep creating stress-strain reversals in [your spine], it will eventually break
The downsides to partner stretches are the following:
- If your partner doesn’t have a good anatomical understanding of what they are trying to stretch, it isn’t always effective. (i.e., they don’t know how to square your shoulders or hips)
- You have to find someone that can communicate clearly and not just push you too far too fast.
- You will be put into positions where your groin/crotch is opening way up in front of the other person and they may be holding your feet or something. If you got qualms with that, you’ll find it awkward (I don’t, but just a potential thing).
- When you’re stretching a strong male dude like me with really strong legs, the partner needs to be extremely strong to overcome the resistance that some tissues can generate. (I’m looking at you, hamstrings. In fact, it HAS to be a strong dude that stretches my hamstrings because even THEY get tired and if it was my girlfriend, for example, trying to do the same thing, she actually won’t be able to take me to my limits!)
- On the other hand, if you’re much stronger than the person you’re stretching (like if i’m stretching my gf), then it’s really effective and easy.
- Last but not least, communication must be continuous and limits must be respected. It is possible to do too much, too fast. So this isn’t meant to be done just only once, all out. It’s something that should be done 1-2x/week to let the body heal and then go at it again.
So it’s a very delicate process, and you have to have someone you could trust to do this regularly with. I personally am lucky that I live in a place where there are no social stigmas of this kinda thing and we do it with friends on the beach regularly. So i was thinking of maybe making videos for the various things we are doing. But just wanted to gauge any interest in such a thing, since it requires a bit of work (it takes 2 to tango… 3 if there’s a cameraman involved).
Yoga classes were more effective than a self-care book, but not stretching classes, in improving function and reducing symptoms due to chronic low back pain, with benefits lasting at least several months.