Scapular Control Part 2
Over the last 7 years as a trainer I’ve noticed a few things that remain pretty consistent.
Men want to get ripped, women want to “tone-up” (which I think is the same thing!), and both are deficient in overhead movements.
At one point in time we moved on all fours and while we didn’t have lats the size of gorillas, we did have far more control of our limbs than we do now.
The obvious answer is we moved from quadruped to biped. One can argue our overhead movements are inadequate because of technology, lack of movement, etc.
I don’t really think it matters though because on the whole people have very poor shoulder health. Period.
Whether you’re “locked up” or “hypermobile” both present the same problem; a lack of scapula control.
In part 2 of this two-part article I’ll show you the third and final step you can take that will vastly improve your shoulder health and your life at the same time.
Step 3 – Expand Your Control
The combination of positional breathing drills and arm bars is life-changing.
It’s a bold statement but the fact of the matter is when done properly it really can, and does, change someone’s life.
By the way, to do it properly only requires you practice often.
Once you’ve gained some awareness of your T-spine, where it is, how it should move, and how it relates to your shoulder stability, now it’s time for the fun stuff; loading the shoulder.
Once you’ve reached step 3 you’re out of the woods, but let’s make sure you don’t head back in.
The waiters press looks like this.
Here’s why it rocks and why you should do it…
Again like the arm bar, the waiter’s press is all in the way you hold the bell.
Balancing the bell as if it were a tray and you were a server, again helps position the shoulder in an optimal position for pressing.
You’ll find that little coaching is needed here. The elbow will rotate forward pushing the scapula down and back naturally in order to hold the bell in position.
You’ll need to maintain that position, as the bell is gradually pressed overhead.
The eccentric (downward motion) of the exercise is where a lot of the challenge comes into play.
If you were holding the bell normally, with the weight on the back of the wrist, you’d be free to allow the elbow to do what you want, allowing it wing out, tuck in, or drop completely.
In the waiter’s press, allowing any of the aforementioned possibilities to happen would result in you dropping the bell – not good. Hence your need to maintain scapular control throughout the movement.
All accomplished by merely flipping the bell on its side.
The waiter’s carry is also a great move to gain control.
Simply press it overhead, start walking, and maintain control.
The two together give you more scapular control and increase your chances for developing some seriously strong/healthy shoulders.
Start light for the waiter’s press. A 4kg bell is appropriate for those who are rehabbing an injury, dealing with hyper mobility, or are new to exercises altogether. As a coach, or a self-coached athlete, you’ll notice once the client has gained awareness of the pattern in which to press the bell overhead, going up in weight happens relatively quickly – usually after the first set or two.
While you may not develop the lats of a gorilla, when done in order, each of these 3 steps in part 1 and 2 will vastly improve your overhead performance and open many doors of movement for you in the future (and high cabinet doors as well.)