We all know we use our shoulders in CrossFit. A lot. However, one of the biggest things I hear people talk about is their lack of shoulder mobility or pain coupled with overhead movements. Why is that? Well to start, most of the time during the day we are either hunched over at our desks or staring down at our phone, awkwardly picking up children from the floor, or even carrying around a car seat; all things that affect our shoulder flexibility and all things that can lead to tight shoulders and pain.
We know we should mobilize more, but sometimes we just don’t have the time or know what to do. Shoulder mobility is important because it helps keep those joints from stiffening up and causing neck and shoulder pain. More importantly, it decreases your chances of getting injured. If you work on shoulder mobility, you’ll increase blood flow in the area and keep those muscles prime.
In CrossFit specifically, shoulder mobility means more power. By working on those shoulder muscles, you’re priming them for tougher workouts and eventually, more power and strength.
Here are some of my favorite shoulder mobility warm-ups and exercises that I try to do anytime we have shoulder work programmed in a WOD. You can do most of these at home with little or no equipment necessary or even pick 1 or 2 to do before class next time we have snatches, presses, overhead squats, or anything that you need a good shoulder warm-up for!
- Circular Rotations – Rotate your arms at your shoulder in one direction one arm at a time. 10X each arm. Both directions.
- Both Arms Rotations – Rotate both arms at the same time in one direction. 10X. Both directions.
- Squat and Reach – Squat down, knees bent and touch your toes. Touch your right hand to your right toe. At the same time, reach with your left hand up toward the sky. Turn your shoulder and head up looking toward your reaching hand. Repeat on other side. 10X each side.
- Resistance Band (or PVC) Passthroughs– Stretch a resistance band in front of you with both hands. Drop your hands in front of you with resistance band. Lift the band up and over your head and behind your back and over again. 10X.
- Resistance Band Face Pull – Tie a resistance band to the pole on the rig, about shoulder height. Stand facing the pole where you tied the band. Pull with both hands on the band toward your face by beginning with a shoulder blade squeeze. 10X
- Wall Angel– Stand with your back against a wall and put your hands up against the wall. Move the arms up from the right angles and over your head, sliding against the wall. Bring down. Repeat. For added difficulty, do this seated with feet flat on the ground to force your spine against the wall.
- Shoulder Roll – Lean against a wall and place a lacrosse ball between your spine and shoulder blades. Put pressure on the ball and roll. Gently apply pressure for 3-5 minutes. This can also be done while lying on the ground.
- Doorway Stretch – Stand in a doorway and put your hands on both sides of the door. Stretch through the doorway. Hold. Also try changing the direction your palm is facing or even singling out one arm at a time.