It surprises me that so few people pay attention to giving their shoulders a thorough warm-up before going heavy on the bench or engaging in other heavy exercises involving the muscles of the shoulder girdle. About anyone you ask in the gym will testify that they have had some kind of shoulder-related pain that could probably have been avoided by investing more time in a proper shoulder warm-up routine.
Personally, I really like doing shoulder exercises such as the Overhead Press (OHP), Seated Dumbbell Press, Handstand etc. However, like many trainees I have had my share of shoulder pains caused by the non-existence of a specific shoulder warm-up and also partially due to improper lifting technique. After looking to establish a warm-up template to get rid of my pain syndroms I have stuck with the below list of exercises which will (hopefully) keep my shoulders healthy and strong for years to come:
1. Static Handstand
Anytime I am about to perform either the OHP or the Push Press, I start my warm-up by kicking up into a wall-supported handstand and hold it for roughly 60 sec. After repeating for 2-3 sets with minimal rest in between my shoulder f without having pre-exhausted it too much for the ensuing lifts. Besides, the handstand is pretty handy at allowing our body to experience gravity in a revere direction.
2. Shoulder Shocker
This is a useful exercise consisting of three single movements that are performed continuously. First comes the Seated Plate Raise followed by the Seated Lateral Raise with dumbbells and finished with a Seated Clean & Jerk using the same dumbbells. I use it mainly as a warm-up with relatively light weights. But its creator, Joe de Franco, recommends using it a single shoulder-building exercise performed after a chest and back workout.
3. Shoulder Dislocation
This is a great one for general shoulder mobility. Especially, I have found the half circles to be really effective in getting blood into the shoulders. as well as providing the lats with a nice stretch. I realise not everyone will be able to perform this exercise full range – so take it easy initially and work toward a more complete range of motion. It will pay down the road.