View Full Version : Importance of Shoulder Prehab?

Donald Lee
10-09-2008, 03:29 PM
A month ago, I sprained my L5-S1 from squatting and soon discovered that I had horrible hamstring flexibility. Since then, I've become somewhat obsessive about reading up on mobility, flexibility, prehab, and all that good stuff. Since I can't squat, deadlift, or do olympic lifts for a while, I have a lot more time to do other stuff.

I just recently read up on Eric Cressey's 3 Shoulder Saver articles and his rotator cuff article on T-Nation. I've had shoulder flexibility problems, but never had any shoulder pain. Anyways, I never knew about all the importance of balancing humeral external rotation with internal rotation, scapular depression and elevation, scapular repression and protraction.

For the upper body, all I usu. do are vertical pushing and vertical pulling movements (and dips for which I don't know the categorization). Basically, I'm wondering whether I should worry about all the stuff Eric Cressey writes about b/c I've never had shoulder pain in the past. I do a lot of shoulder mobility work and am going to add stuff I've read in Super Joints. To increase shoulder flexibility, I do a lot of shoulder dislocates and do kip swings.

From the CrossFit community, I've always heard that to have healthy shoulders, just have a lot of shoulder mobility and press stuff overhead. According to Cressey's chart on Shoulder Saver: Part 1, I do scapular protraction, scapular elevation, and humeral internal rotation exercises, but I don't do any exercises on the other side of the chart.

These trips to the doctor and chiropractor are wearing on me. :)

George Mounce
10-09-2008, 04:11 PM
I do a ton of shoulder prehab (dynamic flexibility drills, shoulder dislocates) before I do my Oly lifts. I only see them as beneficial. Last thing I want is a hurt rotator cuff.

Scott Kustes
10-09-2008, 04:12 PM
Do it. Do it lots. The last thing you want is effed up shoulders. This comes from one with an effed up shoulder.

Donald Lee
10-09-2008, 04:52 PM
I'm always going to do a lot of mobility and flexibility work, but do I really need to worry about all the humeral rotation and scapular stuff? I know doing face pulls and rear delt flyes are important for people who bench a lot, but I rarely bench anymore.

I'm thinking about doing tension band stuff when my bands come in. In case you don't know what I'm talking about:


Date Tate also has an article on it on T-Nation, but I think the YouTube playlist with Dick Hartzell is a lot better.

Garrett Smith
10-09-2008, 05:42 PM
If your question is if shoulder prehab is important and a good idea to do before one has a problem, then I would answer yes to both.

Doing both arboreal (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&defl=en&q=define:arboreal&sa=X&oi=glossary_definition&ct=title) (as in, pull-ups, rope climbing, and ring work) and terrestrial (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&defl=en&q=define:terrestrial&sa=X&oi=glossary_definition&ct=title) (ground-based pressing, yoga, handstands) based exercises will keep your shoulders in pretty good shape in all directions.

Remember, that in prehab ideas the general consensus is that the scapula generally needs stability in its various positions--I find that the isometric holds in both gymnastics and yoga really cover these well. Most of the time when people are talking about shoulder problems, they are unknowingly often talking about scapular issues.

Steven Low
10-09-2008, 06:30 PM
Better safe than sorry.

For scap retraction/depression/whatever you can use front lever work (specifically the progression pullups if you wanted). That's the one I like the most.. and front lever is a good goal anyway.

Donald Lee
10-09-2008, 06:41 PM
Yeah, I've been working on front lever progressions. I'm also thinking of doing more stability training. I've been too lazy to do ring dips and ring pushups, but I think those'll be good to do every once in a while. I'm also going to add in some unilateral work for the legs and upper body. I guess getting injured can be a good thing.

Garrett Smith
10-10-2008, 05:13 PM
You could also work on ring supports and planche progressions (on p-lettes or rings) for the shoulder isometrics in those two directions.

Donald Lee
10-10-2008, 06:07 PM
I have been having trouble with my freestanding handstand, so I was going to start training the frogstand next week. Are there any benefits to doing them on the paralletes, besides wrist comfort?

Steven Low
10-10-2008, 07:10 PM
They're different in terms of stablization. Work both (if you can).

Emily Mattes
10-17-2008, 01:11 PM
I use the Diesel Crew Shoulder Rehab program as prehab/rehab. It's on YouTube. I've heard people wiser than I (like Steven) rate it as pretty good. It's quite extensive, but it is also very shoulder specific and would not work you in a general way the way planche or ring work would.

Greg Davis
10-18-2008, 01:43 PM
I use the Diesel Crew Shoulder Rehab program as prehab/rehab. It's on YouTube. I've heard people wiser than I (like Steven) rate it as pretty good. It's quite extensive, but it is also very shoulder specific and would not work you in a general way the way planche or ring work would.


Donald Lee
10-18-2008, 04:28 PM
Look through Diesel Crew's or Jedd Johnson's or Jimmy Smith's YouTube vids. I'm sure it's easy to find. If not, you can find it on their website.

Steven Low
10-18-2008, 05:21 PM

If someone ever mentions youtube... that's a do-it-yourself task next time I think. :D Google too, haha.

Scott Kustes
10-21-2008, 05:29 AM
I use some of Diesel Crew's stuff too, along with Turkish Getups. All are valuable for effed up shoulders.

Jamie Crichton
05-16-2009, 10:52 AM
That jump stretch video is really interesting. Any ideas on how cutting off the blood flow to the shoulder like that helps loosen it up? I've got one of the jumpstretch compression bands in the post so I'm going to try it once it gets here, so will report back on its efficacy.

There's another video where he wraps the wrist up with a jumpstretch band - I tried this myself using a climbing sling, wrapping it tight round the wrist then doing some circles etc. When you take the sling off and the blood rushes back in, it feels amazing. This sorted out my sore wrist in about 2 days. I've had problems with it for years, including a ganglion at one stage, and this is the only thing that has ever made any difference. I don't get any soreness now - planches, cleans, thrusters, they're all fine. So I'm hoping it will do the same for my shoulders!

Garrett Smith
05-16-2009, 02:06 PM
Blood is what does the healing, anywhere in the body.

Think of restricting bloodflow and then allowing it to rush back in as a form of powerwashing the joint structures (which generally have poor bloodflow).

This same mechanism is what contrast hydrotherapy is based on--more for individual bodyparts than contrast showers, though. Cold tends to push blood back to the core of the body, while heat increases bloodflow to the area.

Jamie Crichton
05-16-2009, 02:29 PM
That's what I thought, I was just (pleasantly) suprised at how pronounced the effect was and how rapidly my wrist was back to normal. If this works for my shoulders I will be absolutely delighted!