The Woman’s Shoulder- Part 1 of a 6 part series

HOW MANY OF YOU HAVE DONE A MILLION PUSH-UPS AND THE NEXT DAY THE FRONT OF YOUR SHOULDERS ARE SORE?

Those my friends are your anterior (or front) deltoid muscles, and they should NOT be as sore as they are. Want to know why? Because we spend a whole lot of time working the front of our shoulder, to death, without effectively strengthening the rest of it.

 NOW THIS POST CAN APPLY TO MEN TOO, BUT FOR THE MOMENT I’M FOCUSED ON WOMEN.

Many of us enter this sport with weak shoulders, which means when we do push-ups, bench press, ring rows, pull ups, or any other movement that requires use of the shoulder, we default to using our biceps, anterior delts, and struggle struggle struggle.

A lot of us (myself included) see high rep pushups or ANY ring dips in a workout, and we are ready to do the rocking/kipping/flopping around on the floor that we try to make resemble a push up, and we might avoid the ring dips all together.  Regardless, we know we’ll be sore as f*ck the next day.

WELL HERE’S THE DEAL-

We come in with a weak shoulder and we end up strengthening PARTS of the shoulder, which helps us get better, but it doesn’t build us out the way that might make the most sense.

What makes the most sense is to address the WHOLE shoulder, which was not something I really gave much thought to. In fact I honestly thought the whole shoulder WAS getting addressed, and so I focused on mobility more and presumed that with the correct positioning everything would get stronger over time.

Recently though, after one of the coaches pointed out to me how anterior delt dominant I was and suggested how to improve it, I immediately began watching the other women in the gym and realized the majority of us suffered from the same dilemma.

It doesn’t matter how many presses we do or how much we mobilize,

IF WE DON’T USE THE REAR DELT, WE WILL ALWAYS REVERT BACK TO THE SAME MOVEMENT PATTERNS.

It was recommended that I throw in rear delt flys to address this issue, and it made such a huge difference in such a short amount of time I’m now advocating that most if not all of my women athletes perform the same exercise on a regular basis.

I suggest performing 3 to 5 sets of 8 to 10 reps at a light to moderate weight. Do these three times a week for six weeks to ten weeks, and bang, you’ve got a stronger shoulder!

THE COOLEST THING ABOUT DOING THIS MOVEMENT IS THAT IT PROVIDES IMMEDIATE FEEDBACK.

I started doing these supersetted with my rings dips, and guess who’s dips immediately got better? Mine! Whoo hoo! How come, you ask? Because I was trying to do all the work with my chest and front of my shoulder, and some major muscle groups were not in the game.

The other cool thing about the rear delt fly is it also hits the lat (latissimus dorsi)- which is another muscle we women don’t have much of, that’s used for A LOT of things in lifting (like pull ups, cleans, deadlifts.. basically, anything that involves pulling).

TRY ADDING THIS MOVEMENT IN AND SEE HOW IT GOES.

You can even do it with bands if you wanted. Your coach can help you find the right positioning, and you can use this movement supersetted or in your warm ups.

This is the first in a series of posts I will be doing on the woman’s upper body, developing strength specific for the movements we do regularly in the gym, and the specifics we need to focus on to avoid shoulder and elbow pain and injury.

I hope this post helps, feel free to leave comments or questions below!

My mission is to help everyone I can become the healthiest, strongest versions of themselves. I am a Crossfit coach, athlete, Health and Nutrition coach, Movement Rehab Specialist, and a grad student completing my masters in Kinesiology with a focus on integrative wellness.

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