My physiotherapist once used the analogy of football to explain why even the ‘’small’’ muscles we don’t really see are of massive importance. The story went ‘’imagine Rooney is the one who scores all the goals, well that’s the big muscle lifting. However if Carrick wasn’t there supplying him with the passes then he wouldn’t be able to score as well. That’s the smaller supporting muscles working in conjunction with the big muscles.’’ It makes an awful lot of sense. As the saying goes, you cannot fire a cannon from a canoe.
1 – Standing Cable Face Pull
This exercise was introduced to me by an elite strength coach and I have used it at least twice a week ever since. This exercise is there to promote good posture and in turn better shoulder integrity. By building up your trap 3 muscles (lower portion of your traps) you are going to immediately relive the pressure usually places on the bicep tendon by having excessively tight anterior (front) deltoids. The primary concern here is to fully extend with each rep and then hold the resistance for 2 seconds having pulled the weight in towards your face. The weight used isn’t that important and we are looking for 12-15 reps per set here.
2 – Good Mornings
If anyone knows about back problems it’s me, my lower back (the left hand side) is like glass on times and can cause me immense amounts of pain and stress. Another great friend who is also a top strength and conditioning coach recommended this exercise to me. By doing this exercise we can improve hip mobility, strengthen the hamstrings/glutes and lower back. These are generally reasons that back injuries/pain occur. Again, the weight used on this is minimal, it is all about controlling the weight, making the hamstrings work and ‘’feeling’’ the movement. Look for 8-10 reps, twice a week is good.
3 – Weighted Pull Ups
On the same topic, in the interest of good posture, shoulder health and balance the same good friend as from point ‘’2’’ instructed me to get as strong on these as my bench press. Therefore if I am bench pressing 1.5 times my body weight for 1 rep I should be pulling the same on pull ups. This means using a dipping belt and adding the needed weight combined with my body weight to reach the 1.5 figure. It’s logical but true. Where there’s a balance in strength there is usually balance overall.
These 3 exercises will hold you in good stead to maintain a healthy posture and in turn shoulder joints and your lower back.