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Why You Should Take Shoulder "Prehab" Seriously

So you messed up your shoulder by straining the rotator cuff as a kid/teenager, and you feel just a little pain every time you do presses or push ups.

Join. The. Club. 

But you ignore it, and push through your workouts anyway, telling yourself it's better to be tough than to be 'safe'.

The problem with this approach is that someday you'll grow old [even die, eventually- gasp!] and this approach will come back to haunt you 100-fold as your joints become less mobile, muscles less supple, and strength diminished... Young once, old for a long time. You've got to nip this problem in the bud, and stay on top of it so it never grows back into a problem again!

The good news is that rotator cuff weakness/injury is super common and, thankfully, also fairly simple to address using straightforward techniques and easy-to-find equipment.
Let me tell you what I did during today's training session to strengthen my 'bum shoulder'.

Warm up:
10 minutes top-rock, and dynamic stretch.


  1. 2x20 heavy kettlebell swings, two-hand
  2. 2x10 heavy kettlebell swings, one-hand [one set each hand]
  3. 3x20 heavy kettlebell swings, two-hand 

1 set of external shoulder rotation to the point of nauseating ache, using a hammer as a functional weight, and holding it from the tip of the handle to leverage more resistance.

Why It Worked:
First off, I am not in severe pain, and have no major injuries- if you do have either a severe pain or a known/suspected injury, please have it looked at by a qualified professional.

Secondly, I focused very intensely on form during the first 2 sets of heavy kettlebell swings, which activated my mid and upper back, including the rotator cuff.

Then I attacked the problem directly by performing a single set of the exercise in each hand separately, using as much weight as my grip could naturally bear, for as many reps as I could reasonably handle on both sides [dominant and weak].

Then after the session, as a finisher, I challenged the rotator cuff directly with an external rotation exercise, using a very light weight, to the point that it was forced to activate fully.

So, it was a gradual progression up to the point of directly challenging the rotator cuff, and I performed this exercise last, to keep from pre-exhausting the rotator cuff and having it be a point of failure for the other compound movements of my training session- but my shoulders feel fantastic! My range of motion appears to have increased, thanks to a post workout stretch, and the creakiness/popping I usually experience has gone down considerably.

Are you putting off shoulder prehab? With such a simple approach, you have only to add about 90-120 seconds of total exercise time, and stand to gain a tremendous deal of preventive pain relief. What are you waiting for?

Stay Strong, Friends.

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