The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body, and it's used frequently in most sports. The joint itself is a ball and socket, enabling a high degree of mobility; however, it relies heavily on surrounding muscles for support—a trade-off that makes it susceptible to injury.
When training the shoulders—for both strength and injury prevention—people tend to focus on the deltoid and trapezius muscles. And yes, they are important large muscles. But the muscles in the back are equally critical for shoulder strength and movement.
Instead of directly acting on the shoulder, back muscles control the scapula [aka shoulder blade], which works to provide mobility and support to the shoulder joint. That's why experts recommended performing a back exercise, such as Pull-Ups, to activate those muscles, so the scapula can support the shoulder during an exercise like the Bench Press.
Doug Crashley, president of Crash Conditioning and trainer to elite NHL stars such as Mike Green and Duncan Keith, has his athletes perform the Shoulder LYTW to warm up before diving into more strenuous exercises. Once the athletes' muscles are sufficiently warmed up, they are prepared to perform exercises such as Olympic lifts at maximum effort without risking their shoulder health.
Watch the video above to see how to perform the Shoulder LYTW.
- Lie with chest on ground
- With elbows bent at 90-degree angle and thumbs up, raise arms out to side to form an “L”; lower to start position
- Raise arms in front of body to form a “Y”; lower to start position
- Raise arms out to side to form a “T”; lower to start position
- With elbows bent at greater than 90-degree angle, raise arms out to side to form a “W”; lower to start position
- Repeat in continuous fashion for specified reps