Hi! I hope your weekend was just lovely. Mine was good. Dave and I had a friend in town for one night, which kept us out a little later than normal on Friday, but I was still up to teach BODYATTACK on Saturday morning. After that, I went to an Open Barre event at Avant-Barre and laid low in the evening, while Dave worked at a basketball game. Yesterday morning, I taught a bootcamp in a park and then enjoyed some more downtime and tacos for dinner. The fun of Friday night was enough for one weekend, and I pretty much felt like relaxing for the rest of it. Now let’s get to business for today.
Do you need to improve your upper-body range of motion?
Over the past few months, I’ve started incorporating something called “mobility” or “corrective” exercises to the beginning of many of my workouts. Mobility exercises are designed to do just as you’d expect — help you be more mobile and correct dysfunction or tightness. When I first entered the personal training world, although I had been teaching group fitness for a long time and was physically fit, through a few assessments I found out that I had very tight shoulders and needed to work on improving my shoulder and thoracic (upper-back) mobility. And I’m not alone …
Limited range of motion in the shoulders and upper back is an incredibly popular condition, mostly because people are used to sitting hunched over at the computer, or they hold their stress in that area of the body. However, I’m pretty sure my case was worsened by teaching a ton of group fitness for years, with minimal stretching. I’ve changed my ways now, and with some concerted effort via foam rolling, loosening up using a lacrosse ball and staying consistent with a handful of mobility exercises, (which aren’t always fun), I’ve improved how well I can move my upper body, and it feels awesome.
Because it’s such a popular condition, I thought I’d share the two exercises that I’ve not only assigned to countless clients, but I’ve also been using on myself to improve my upper-body mobility. Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to shoulder dislocates and W-to-Y on the wall.
How to do a shoulder dislocate with a tube
To do shoulder dislocates, you’ll need to grab a belt, a rope or a resistance tube. Stand with your feet hip width, brace your core and wrap whatever you choose to use tightly around your wrists so you can hold it taut. Hold your arms super straight and down in front of your body, with tension on the tube. Then, take the tube up and over your head, behind your body and back down, meanwhile keeping your core tight, chest up and arms super straight.
The hardest part of this move is keeping your arms locked and straight, because as you go overhead and your shoulders tense up, the first thing you’ll want to do is bend your arms. Don’t let them bend! The tube should touch the front of your thighs and the back of your thighs to complete a full range of motion. Do this exercise about 15 times in-a-row before you do any upper-body weightlifting, and in just two weeks you’ll start to see some results in how straight you can get your arms overhead, while keeping your shoulders down. Believe me, shoulder mobility is truly a beautiful thing.
How to do a W-to-Y on the wall
The next move does not require any equipment at all, other than a wall. Stand in front of a wall, with your feet hip width and heels back against the wall. Bring your arms up and bent out to your sides around shoulder-height, making a “W” position with your body. Keep your shoulders, elbows and the back of your hands against the wall, your chest up and core tight. Slide your arms up against the wall straight out and up until they make the “Y” position. Then return down to the “W,” maintaining close contact with the wall.
Repeat this about 15 times in-a-row before you do any upper-body weightlifting, and like the shoulder dislocates, in just two weeks you’ll start to see some results. And a word of warning: This one burns, but it really works.
My shoulder and upper-back mobility still has a long way to go. With these exercises and some yoga, I’m hoping to be able to grab my hands together tightly behind my body on both sides one day soon, but right now, it’s still a work in progress.
* Disclaimer: Even though I’m a certified personal trainer, I’m not your certified personal trainer, so ask your doctor before trying any new moves.
The first community-powered sportswear company
If you enjoyed my workout attire in these posts, check out Tribesports, the creators of it. Tribesports is not your average fitness apparel company. It’s community-powered and uses crowd-sourcing to create clothing designs and reward active people who exercise regularly by giving them discounts. The folks at Tribesports reached out to me about attending an event in San Francisco a few weeks ago, and because I was teaching my own class at the time I couldn’t go, so they let me pick out an outfit for free to test out on my own time.
Shown above: Tribesports Women’s Performance 2 in 1 Charcoal Shorts in size X-small and Tribesports Women’s Performance White Tech Tee SS in size X-small.
The verdict? The outfit fits perfectly, looks great and is unlike anything else I had in my workout wardrobe. Because there are little leggings under the shorts, I can definitely wear these to kick, jump and lunge when teaching BODYATTACK or any other cardio class. And the top is plenty long, which is something I look for in anything I’m going to move around in. Thanks, Tribesports, I’m very impressed.
Now since it’s Monday, let’s get to my usual recap of all the workouts I did the over the past week.
- Monday – Taught one-hour BODYATTACK class, foam rolling
- Tuesday – Attended one-hour Hatha yoga class at Satori Yoga
- Wednesday – Taught one-hour BODYATTACK and BODYPUMP classes, foam rolling
- Thursday – Attended one-hour barre class at fitmob headquarters
- Friday – Attended one-hour Barry’s Bootcamp Full Body class, foam rolling
- Saturday – Taught one-hour BODYATTACK class, took a 30-minute Avant-Barre class
- Sunday – Rest day
What was good about my week of workouts?
Variety! I got in plenty of cardio, resistance training, yoga and even a barre class and-a-half this week, which meant every single workout was different. Also, I pulled back on the intensity of my workouts this week based on last week’s soreness by keeping it pretty light on Tuesday with yoga and on Thursday with low-impact barre. Sunday was a good rest day, although I did teach an outdoor bootcamp class and demo moves as we went along, but I didn’t participate in the workout.
What could have been better?
Because I work in fitness and usually tend to do more working out than the average person, my problem is usually being sore from too much movement rather than too little. This week was a good line-up of workouts that didn’t run me down. The only thing that could have been better is perhaps a little more foam rolling. At least I spent some time doing mobility work (as shown above) and some massaging with my lacrosse ball.
Alright, friends. I hope your week starts off fabulously. And hey, if you’re a little tight in the shoulders, why not give these mobility moves a shot? I’ll be back tomorrow for something non-fitness, so check back soon!
Questions of the day
How was your weekend? Did you have a good workout recently? If so, what did you do? Do you ever incorporate mobility or correctives into your workout program?