How to Flex your Batwings and Arm Bar Yourself

Raise your hand if you've had any shoulder pain recently. Just kidding, that might hurt. Millions of Americans head to the doctor every year for shoulder pain, and spend thousands of hard earned dollars on MRI's and surgeries after things have gone bad. Instead of waiting for the car to run out of gas, let's be a bit more proactive and learn some drills to keep those joints lubed up and happy.

(Do this if you hate your shoulders)

What causes Shoulder Pain?

In short, tons of stuff. The shoulder is the most flexible joint in the body, and can move in just about every way possible. Compare this to the knee, which can only go forwards and backwards (unless something horrible has happened). What is gained in mobility at the shoulder costs it in stability. The shoulder is a wobbly thing, unless the right muscles are used to lock it in in place. Think of it like building the foundation to the building first. There must be stability before any of the action happens. Here's how to get stable.

Flex your Batwings

The safest and strongest position for the shoulders is back and down. Use this exercise as a warm up to teach those pesky shoulders how to stay stable for 1 set of 30 seconds using between 10-15lbs per hand. You can also flex your Batwings as a burn out set for 3 sets of 30 seconds with the most weight you can handle correctly:

Arm Bar Yourself

This is a tough one, but one of the best. I tore my right rotator cuff to varying degrees on 4 separate occasions before I got the message that I needed to move better. I credit the Kettlebell and the Arm Bar for teaching me the position, and how to lock it in. Start light with these, anywhere from 10-25 lbs and use a Kettlebell if possible. The off-centered weight of the bell, will pull your shoulders out of position, its your job to lock it in. The bell will be wobbly up there, so get a spot the first time if you are nervous. Hold for time, and the longer the better, up to 3 minutes. Once you have the position down, don't be afraid to get heavy:

And there you have it! If you raised your hand earlier (OUCH!) try out these two drills before and after training sessions and see if you don't just feel right as rain.