Top 8 Exercises for your shoulders and Abs
Lately a bunch of clients have needed big time shoulder help. What do I show them? Lots of different shoulder blade exercises on the roller to get the muscles around the blades to stabilize and cooperate. I always like to alternate hip or core exercises with upper body stuff, so here are my top foam roller exercises to try at home. Try all of them for a minute and a half for maximal neural learning!
Exercise 1: Hitchhiker
Start with your hand, and maybe a small 3-5# weight in that hand, on top of your opposite hip. Diagonally rotate that thumb over the same side shoulder, anchoring the move in your shoulder blade for 1:30
Exercise two: One Toe Tap
Bring the knees to 90 degrees in the air and hold using your core and hip flexors. Now touch one toe down exhaling as you go. Do not feel in your back- if so, don’t go down as far or just practice balancing with legs in the air.
Exercise 3: Shoulder Blade Retractions
This looks like nothing is happening because all the movement takes place in the blades themselves. Arms straight up in the air, puuuuul your shoulder blades apart, and then pull your shoulder blades back together forcefully towards the roller equally. Do not tighten up the neck; focus on the lower aspect of the blades.
Exercise 4: Hot Cross Buns
Tuck elbows into ribs and have hands rest on opposite bicep. Open up hands and STOP at ninety degrees to try and work a tiny little rotator cuff muscle called the infraspinatus on the lower part of the shoulder blade itself. This is very subtle and keep all work out of neck.
Exercise 5: Straight leg drop
Now lift both legs straight up in air, and drop one straight leg down again feeling core and hip flexors work for 1:30. If you feel your back, try modifying how far you drop your leg and really exhale hard as the leg starts to drop.
Exercise 6: Helicopters
Start with weights at sides of ribs, pretending the weight in the hand is the rotor of a helicopter. Try to create rotation in the shoulder blade as pivot on your elbow. Circle clockwise and counterclockwise for 1:30. Keep work going in lower part of shoulder blade and not in neck.
Exercise 7: Open the Newspaper
Again tucking elbows into the ribs, open imaginary newspaper across chest feeling lower part of shoulder blades slide in towards spine and roller for 1:30. The roller should be a fantastic way to give you some kinesthetic feedback on what your shoulder blades are up to. If you feel the movement happen at the bottom of the blade, great. If not, this is your mission should you choose to accept it. 🙂
Exercise 8: Air Bike
Starting with knees bent at ninety degrees in the air, and start bicycling your feet for great work in the abs and hip flexors. If it creeps into your back, put your feet on the ground and break the 1:30 into 2 sets of 45 seconds.
I hope these exercises help your shoulder blades move more freely and with strength. If nothing else, just lying on the roll gives shoulders a welcome break from the forward hunching of driving and computers. Let me know how you liked the workout in the comments below!