Shoulder Stability and Control

You guys do all realise that I do more stuff than just have people do band pull-a-parts and stand around laughing at them don’t you?

The blog doesn’t reflect everything I do everyday…you realise that as well don’t you?

Like for example today…went something like this:
Early, early morning…clients and athletes…mid morning…eggs and coffee and fighting with and harassing people on the internet…meeting at lunchtime with a sports organisation (I always like to schedule meetings around meal times…these guys got off easy as I’m in training…so just 3 cups of coffee) then over to Dublin City University to work with some intellectually disabled athletes…which is brilliant work…and not to different to the challenges I face with the rest of my athletes. Then some paper work…I hate paper work. Then this afternoon and evening I was in the gym and on the pitch with some more intellectually disabled athletes as you can see below.


Pitch conditioning session.

On to the topic of the moment…I do get a lot of emails from people asking a variety of questions…but lately a lot of them have been of this variety.

Subject: Improving Scapular Control
Will,

I’ve been reading your blog for the last couple of days. I was wondering if you could outline or send me a link (if I miss it) about the approach you use to improve scapular control?

I also see a lot of band pull apart video that you put up. Could you maybe write a blog post about how you analyze the video? Sometimes while looking at the video, I don’t know how it has improved or not.

Thanks,
Random Internet Person

It really is quite simple…with regard to analysis…I look for symmetry and control…it is rarely ever perfect but you have to start somewhere. I mean there are books written all about this sort of stuff and it would be crazy for me to go into massive detail after other much smarter people have done so…but that’s never really stopped me in the past. I start at the neck and work my way down. Look at how there traps sit, look at their shoulder height and position, the level and orientation of their scapula.

I have them do the band pull-a-parts in a horizontal and vertical plane…in an open and closed position. I have them do chest supported scap rows to see what their scapula recruitment is like…to essentially see whether they are trap or rhomboids…a lot of people can’t use their rhomboids…they are just so trap dominant…see also athletes that are really crap at inverted rows…do you see how this all starts to come together…any way…then I get them to do some scap push ups and inverted shrugs and scap chins….see what they can do and what they can’t do and how good or bad their control of these movements are.

Then we fix it. I mean seriously…how can you possibly think your bench, pull ups or chins, military pressing…..actually forget that…how can you seriously think you could be doing anything as well as you could when essentially the ‘base’ of all these movements is crap or even just worse than it should be.


This is the first known diagram of proper Band Pull-A-Parts and Shoulder Band Dislocates.

As always…if people ask proper questions or even make proper criticism I’ll be only to happy to clarify or post more on the subject…and no, ‘you’re a fat idiot’ is not proper criticism.

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8 thoughts on “Shoulder Stability and Control

  1. kira said…
    Do people really call you a ‘fat idiot’?
    Yes…people can be so cruel.

    I think that’s both disrespectful and inaccurate. You’re just fat.
    Down under 112kg today…won’t be fat for much longer.

  2. Will,

    Yay for getting my pm as blog post of the day. =D

    Can you give a generic template for fixing the scapula? Do you just get your athlete to do couple sets of scap push up, chest supported scap row, inverted scap press, scap pull up and YWTL in his warmup?

    Once they are fixed, do you still still let them continue doing it to maintain?

    Thanks.

  3. I’m not Will (thank god) but what you’re describing is only scap strengthening which isn’t the same as control under dynamic conditions.

    Stuff I used last time I had to fix a dysfunctional shoulder were things like push ups or push up holds on top of a swiss ball, things that forced the athlete to stabilize the shoulder against an instability challenge.

    This was done in addition to basic activation and strengthening stuff (YWTL, scap push ups, etc).

    Lyle

  4. cun2x aka Random Internet Person said…
    Will,
    Yay for getting my pm as blog post of the day. =D
    You are way too easily excited.

    Can you give a generic template for fixing the scapula?
    Yes and No.

    Yes, I can give you one.
    and
    No, it isn’t guaranteed to fix the scapula.

    It really depend on what the underlying cause of the problem actually is.

    If you wait out the weekend I am going to start picking Barry to piece and putting him back together again. His program initially will be somewhat generic.

    Do you just get your athlete to do couple sets of scap push up, chest supported scap row, inverted scap press, scap pull up and YWTL in his warmup?
    They usually do ‘some’ work like this before they do any upper body work in training.

    Once they are fixed, do you still still let them continue doing it to maintain?
    Absolutely.

    lylemcd said…
    I’m not Will (thank god) but what you’re describing is only scap strengthening which isn’t the same as control under dynamic conditions.
    I agree…scap work done poorly…can still have a strengthening effect. Likemost things in life the devil is in the details. Scap stability is very much based on ‘control’. Like I said…I’ll go through it with Barry…video it…and post it.

    Stuff I used last time I had to fix a dysfunctional shoulder were things like push ups or push up holds on top of a swiss ball, things that forced the athlete to stabilize the shoulder against an instability challenge.
    You’ll see this and so much more…I’m not even going to make anyone subcribe to my ‘inner circle’ to get the $1000 in value.

    This was done in addition to basic activation and strengthening stuff (YWTL, scap push ups, etc).
    OK…maybe I will get people to sign up.

  5. Hi will thanks again for replying and this new post has lead to a few questions.
    First is there some way we can contribute to this blog beyond just asking questions, (i was thinking of providing ourselves as datapoints kind of like what kira mentioned in a comment this week).
    Now on to the good stuff (hopefully)
    About trying to balance athletes i realise and see the need to balance them out, but can you get to a point where they become too normalised and lose the adaptions that come from and are necessary to playing their sport. My line of thinking here is mainly for throwing sports and the right to left and internal to external dominance that you normally see.
    Staying with the shoulders when you programme the high volumes of inverted rows and pushups are these there for the athlets shoulder health as the main objective.
    Also if an athletes shoulders are shocking what pressing pulling exercises do you generally put into ensure they stay strong but are still staying safe and fixing the problem.
    Last 2
    So staying with this theme of health for athletes you generally program more front core work than low back work, what has lead you to this decision over the years of traing, ie costs and benefits of one versus the other. Or do you find that focusing of posterior leg strength takes care of this for you
    Lastly what band do you mostly use in the test that barry ian and the rest have performed.
    Thanks again for repeating yourself i am sure we will get it sooner or later

  6. I’m happy to be the guy in the video getting his shoulders fixed, but only as long as my face isn’t shown as I have an image to protect. People think I’m a perfect physical specimen, it’s what I use to overcome my crippling personality. Any doubt about my beauty and/or physical perfection could lead them to see the asshole beyond the beauty.

  7. What about mobility work pre strength work? Any specific rolling/ soft tissue drills that you favour/ if at all- jesus Will work for your money if your going to have an inner circle or an imaginary product you have to fix all shoulder problems with one template!

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