4 Best Shoulder-Saving Exercises

The shoulders are the most movable joints in the human body, which unfortunately makes them one of the most vulnerable as well. The shoulder joint is composed of three bones: the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade) and the humerus (upper arm bone). Since the ball of the upper arm is a bit larger than the socket that holds it, the shoulders can be very unstable and it’s up to the surrounding muscles, tendons and ligaments to anchor them. However, shoulder instability can still cause an array of health issues, including sprains, strains, dislocations and fractures, just to name a few. In fact, the American Academy of Family Physicians came with a research-based report which estimates that at least 20% of the general population will suffer from shoulder pain at some point in their lifetime.

If your shoulders are pain-free and optimally mobile, good for you. But if you’ve experienced shoulder problems, you already know how difficult and frustrating shoulder injuries can be. And instead of treating shoulder issues after they’ve become impossible to neglect, you can easily prevent most of them by strengthening your shoulders with adequate exercises. We guarantee you that a good shoulder warm-up will take very little of your time and it will save you from a lot of trouble. If you want to keep your health peaking and your bodybuilding progress running smooth, add these four great warm-up moves to your routine to maintain optimal shoulder health and improve your overall performance.

#1. Face pull

In order to prevent shoulder injury, try to maintain a 2:1 ratio in terms of pulling and pressing exercises, by performing, for example, 20 rows for every 10 presses. In addition, you can use the face pull to powerfully condition your rear delts, rhomboids and external rotators, and improve your posture, all of which will breathe new life into your lifting sessions.


Here’s how to do it properly:

  • Attach a rope to a pulley station set at shoulder level
  • Grasp both ends of the rope with an overhand grip
  • Walk back until you feel tension and bend the knees slightly for a stable base
  • Your arms should be completely straight and the shoulders should come slightly forward
  • Squeeze your upper back as tight as you can and pull the band toward your face, rotating the knuckles externally so that they’re facing the ceiling
  • Hold for a moment, then return your arms to the previous position

Performing 20 reps of this exercise before each training session are enough to keep your shoulders at optimal level of functioning.

#2. T-spine twist

Thoracic spine mobility is crucial for proper posture, which in turn is crucial in shoulder function. Designed for rotation, flexion and extension, the thoracic spine has lots of potential for mobility that most people neglect. In fact, this part of the human spinal column must be used and moved in order to be healthy. An immobile thoracic spine will force the lower back to take over its work, often resulting with chronic pain in the shoulder blades. To prevent this from happening, activate your thoracic spine by adding some T-twists into your routine.

Here’s how to do it properly:

  • Position yourself face down on a 45% back raise or a Yessis GHR
  • Keeping your posture as straight as possible, position the crest of your hip at the edge of the pad
  • In a slow, controlled manner, twist the middle of your back as far as you can to right side, simultaneously pulling the right shoulder blade toward the spine and pushing the left shoulder away from the spine
  • Repeat on the other side

Perform two sets of 10 reps on each side.

#3. Overhead shrug

Want to correct poor posture, increase core power and strengthen your shoulder musculature in the shortest time possible? Then make room for the overhead shrug in your program. This exercise is also guaranteed to help you build some respectable trap size while conditioning your whole body in the process.


Here’s how to do it properly:

  • Grab a bar with a standard bench grip and keeping your arms locked, raise your shoulder blades and press it over your head
  • Squeeze your traps as hard as you can and hold the highest position for a few seconds

Perform two sets of 8-12 reps.

#4. Diving seagulls

This underrated exercise doesn’t usually get a lot of attention because it looks too easy. However, it’s exactly what you need to fix your posture issues, rebalance your shoulders and adjust the position of your shoulder blades into a naturally more appropriate one.


Here’s how to do it properly:

  • Lay face down on the floor and extend your arms over your head
  • Maintaining a constant level of tension throughout the torso, slowly bring your arms towards your hips in an arching manner
  • Bring the arms to the original position

For optimal benefits, this movements should be performed in a very slow and controlled way using only your bodyweight or light resistance. Perform 15 reps with great form and you’re good to go.

In conclusion

Perform these 4 moves before the heavy part of your routine regularly and rest assured that your shoulders will be thankful. And don’t forget – health and mobility is the base for creating superior stability and strength in your shoulders.

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