Shoulder Mobility.

Why do so many old surfers have worn out shoulders?  It goes back mobility again.  Not only in the shoulder but also further down and upstream.  A good deal of shoulder end range of motion comes from the ability to extend your thoracic spine, the area of your upper back which often times become stiff or stuck due to stress, incorrect posture, low self-esteem or poor movement patterns.  My friends are surfers and so I want everyone to know that when you combine a stiff spine, with a repetitive movement like paddling, you are going to see some very unhealthy shoulders.
 
I think there is a 1, 2,3 approach to improving this.  First you need to open up and decompress the spine and restore normal motion in the ribcage.  Foam rolling can do this, stretching can do this, laying on a Swiss ball can do this and learning the Foundation Training technique of decompression breathing can do this.  If you are a surfer, a builder or someone who works at a desk and you have healthy shoulders, you should be playing with some of these things to make sure you keep them that way.
 
Step 2; Joints need lubrication and if you stay adequately hydrated, have a collagen rich diet, move efficiently and engage in some kind of strength training (body weight included) then your joints will probably be pretty well lubricated.  If not, then a great place to start is right when you get out of bed in the morning.  Stand up, find an open space, bring your arms parallel to the ground and makes some circles.  Start with small controlled circles and add a breath component, breathing in as you open the shoulders and out as you close.  Go slow and gradually make bigger circles.  15-20 works.  This will wake up those sleepy joints, squeezing nourishing, gooey synovial fluid into the joint capsule and sucking it back up as it coats the slippery joint surface.  BE AWARE, that if your thoracic mobility is limited, you will need to stick with small circles until you improve on that, otherwise you may end up wearing out the shoulder capsule even more.
 
3rd step, and I’ve talked about it before, hang more.  This stretches and strengthens the shoulder joint and will even increase the mobility of your spine. 

Above is an example that I posted on my Instagram a few weeks ago, in which I use a wall to explore the mobility of my shoulders and spine, giving me a great deal of feedback on where I am stuck and where I need to do a little work.  Create your own time lapses and send them in, I'd love to see other people exploring this kind of thing too!

Nick VoroshineComment