Complete Shoulder Warm-Up for Strength and Stability

STACK Expert Dre Delos Santos explains why it's a bad idea to work your shoulders without first performing a proper warm-up.

You've been there before. You approach the bench, haphazardly warm up with the barbell and immediately begin your set. But completely disregarding the shoulder warm-up is a recipe for disaster.

Looking at the musculoskeletal system, the shoulders are most prone to injury because of their ability to move in multiple directions through large ranges of motion. Shoulder injuries often plague athletes who are required to throw or swing, but most people have issues due to the monotony of sitting in a cubicle in front of computer.

Here are some exercises specifically designed to improve shoulder function.

RELATED: 7 Exercises That Safely Build Shoulder Strength

1. Foam Roll Pec Minor and Lats

Foam Roll Pec Minor and Lats

Most of the time, shoulder issues arise from over-developed lats and pecs. Releasing them via soft tissue work with a foam roller or a medicine ball will start to clear things up.

2. Prone Cobra Y-Handcuffs

Prone Cobra Y-Handcuffs

This is a great exercise because it works on isometrically contracting the entire back musculature while internally/externally rotating the shoulders. Focus on getting your chest off the floor without excessively arching your lower back.

RELATED: The 8 Most Dangerous Exercises for Your Shoulders

3. Forearm Wallslides w/Trap Raise

Forearm Wallslides with Trap Raise

Forearm Wallslides specifically work on activating the muscles that stabilize the scapula, and mid and lower trapezius. Scapula stabilization is critical for healthy shoulders. Tighten your glutes and engage your core to keep your lower back out of the equation.

4. Band Pull-Aparts

Band Pull-Aparts

This simple exercise works on optimizing protraction and retraction of the scapula (shoulder blades). Although it looks easy, it can be a challenge for someone with rounded shoulders. A key point is to keep the chest high and shoulders low.

RELATED: How to Warm Up Your Rotator Cuff Muscles

5. Band Face Pulls

Band Face Pulls

As when performing Band Pull-Aparts, focus on keeping your chest high and shoulders low. Besides building up the upper-back musculature, this exercise encourages thoracic extension.

This shoulder mobility warm-up is meant to restore movement and keep structural integrity intact. You want to create movement without sacrificing the level of stability your shoulder joints need to move through different ranges of motion.

Remember: You can't have mobility without stability.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: WARM-UP | CHEST | SHOULDERS | EXERCISES | MOBILITY | PULLS | LOWER BACK | RANGE OF MOTION | RAISES | FOAM ROLLING