I love shoulders.
Why you might ask?
Well, for one, they comprise the most mobile joint structure in the human body. And the things they can do with the arm as a whip is, at times, electrifying.
Think of a major league pitcher throwing 95 mph+ fastballs repeatedly over an entire baseball season without ever getting hurt.
Or a gymnast creating insane mobility through the joint and then almost instantaneously locking into an incredibly strong position to hold his/her entire body.
Incredible to watch, especially if you have ever tried what they are doing!
Second, they can tell a story about a person:
Held solid and upright: that person is confident
Shrugged down and forward: that person is defeated
Pulled way back looking like a rooster: that person is cocky and probably overcompensating 🙂
And third, also probably the most relevant to what I get to do on a regular basis, they are the most frequently injured or annoyingly painful/restricted areas that an active person deals with.
Stability from the shoulder girdle muscles and the rotator cuff allow full range of motion (ROM) or mobility of the shoulder. However, the shoulder girdle muscles, from a function perspective, stem all the way down to the abdominal muscles and beyond.
So, if we want to affect the shoulders in a way where we can actually help improve functionality and make them pain-free, we have to find a movement that involves stability and mobility beyond the shoulder area.
This movement, the prone blackburn, is by no means the end all/be all for shoulder pain. But it is extremely effective to get the abs active into the floor and then explore ROM after the fact.
It makes for an excellent warm up movement OR the perfect exercise to do between zoom meetings (or zoom classes for the kids!).
Here’s how it works:
- You will start on your stomach, similar to the start of doing a superman.
- Once there, you will brace your abs against the floor and squeeze your butt to lock your trunk in place
- From there, you are going to reach your hands/arms up as high as you can off the ground
- Then, make a huge sweeping motion out, almost like snow angel wings and then bring your hands together behind and above your butt.
- Repeat this 5-10 times or until the motion becomes smooth and symmetrical.
If you do this frequently between zoom calls or meetings, your shoulders will thank you and you will truly walk taller!