Here are a couple great ways to get your shoulders warmed up for any overhead work or as part of a daily shoulder prehab/rehab/recovery routine. I have been using these regularly and my shoulders haven’t been happier, especially with a lot of weightlifting and strength gymnastics work.
Single arm overhead carry: This is a great way to improve shoulder stability, midline stability, and serves as a simple way to prep your shoulders to do work. Choose a light kettlebell… then grab one that’s even lighter. Don’t underestimate this. It gets pretty spicy pretty quick. Get the bell over head and make sure your thumb is pointed back to set your shoulder into external rotation. Keeping your traps relaxed (try not to shrug) elevate the KB as high as possible and walk around for about 100m. My gym is very small, so I do several laps around the building. Make sure to keep your ribcage down and butt squeezed to maintain neutral spine
Xiopeng: this is a great exercise to strengthen the muscles of the shoulder in various positions and ranges. It takes the shoulder through external rotation to internal rotation and back again in an active manner. Again, use a light weight (5-10lbs is sufficient) and slowly and with control make smooth circles with your arm. When the weight is in front of you, rotate at the hip away from the weight. When you reach full flexion (overhead position) rotate your hand the other direction and twist your body facing the weight. When the weight is in front of you, your shoulder should be in external rotation. When it is behind you, your shoulder should be internally rotated. Again, keep your ribcage down and butt squeezed to maintain neutral spine. Stand next to a wall if you need a guide to maintain a smooth range of motion. Do 5 reps each arm going forward followed by 5 reps each arm going backward.
Ray Regno CFL3 Trainer, USAW Club Coach
Movement Coach at Movement Rx
CrossFit Level 1 Seminar Staff, CrossFit Weightlifting Seminar Staff
Head Coach at CrossFit Stronghold