JOE's post-workout tips: Shoulder flexibility exercises to help you lift bigger
The shoulders are key to whole range of workouts, and properly stretching them will bring instant results
Just because you hit your target distance or you got through all your sets, your workout isn't finished yet. As we discussed last week, the benefits of doing some form of recovery and cool down exercises are evident, in particular if you play any sports.
One of the areas that a lot of people get pain and reduced mobility in from lifting, be it on the bench press, performing military presses or clean and jerks, is in the shoulders. Surprisingly though, not a lot of people actually focus on this area when they're warming up or cooling down.
However, you definitely should give this area some attention as it will not only give you a full range of motion back, but also increase your numbers on the aforementioned exercises thanks to your increased mobility. If you're doing weight lifitng in the gym, it's also a good idea to stretch your shoulders afterwards as opposed to before as it can increase the risk of injury to do the exercises before you do your heavy lifts, however, you should definitely do these shoulder flexibility exercises a few times a week for best results.
Side lying windmill
Lying on your side, rest your right leg on a foam roller or medciine ball so that you have a neutral spin position, and place your hands together straight out in front of you. Rotate your right arm up above your head, and as you bring your hand above your head, begin to rotate your spine so that you can keep your hand as close to the ground as you can, bringing your arm around in a circular motion. Repeat with the left arm, getting 6-8 reps on each arm. Here's a quick video to show the proper technique.
Empty the cans
The technique for this is pretty much all in the name. Imagine that you have two cans of beer (or your beverage of choice) in your hand, and you want to hold them upsidedown and empty all the liquid out. Your thumbs should point towards the floor, and slowly lower your arms down from your starting position, with your arms outstretched in a T-shape, at a 90 degree angle from your torso. You can do this without weights to start, or with a light weight (2-3kg) as it's for flexibility and recovery, not strength. It's also a good idea to move your arms to around a 60 degree angle or so (in towards your chest) to perform this exercise, as this will target different areas, and a particularly troublesome area in the shoulder at that particular angle. Do four sets of ten, varying the angle with two sets at 90 and two sets at 60.
This exercise can be done at a heavy weight on the day that you work your back, but it's also great done on a light weight for shoulder flexibility. Using a cable machine with a rope attached, set it up high, and step back so that when your arms are out straight in front of you the weight isn't resting on the stack. When pulling back, make sure your elbows are high out wide and that they come past your ears, bringing the rope towards your face, hence the name face pulls. Here's another handy video to show the correct technique.
It's always important to make sure you get some protein in after a workout too, as nutrition is always key to any workout, so for something great with a high protein content that’s also delicious, try Mooju chocolate milk. With over 10g of protein in a 250ml container, as well as carbohydrate, Mooju is a great choice for your workout.
Enjoy Mooju as part of a healthy balanced diet and active lifestyle.