SHOULDERS: IMPROVE STRENGTH AND MOBILITY TO PREVENT INJURIES
Blog #4 of 7 in series by Angelica Avolio
Climbing, Inverts, spinning: one thing they have in common is the involvement of our shoulders, whether it entails pushing yourself away from the pole or lifting yourself up. And often, these moves require our arms to extend more than what they would naturally, putting a strain on our shoulder. And as such, it is therefore needless to say that work on your shoulder strength and mobility is essential if you want to not only perform amazing tricks, but also prevent your arms and back from over working and injuries. In this article we will take you through the importance of shoulder strength and mobility exercises, so you know how to get ready for your next competition.
SHOULDER MOBILITY: WHY DOES IT MATTER AND WHAT TO DO TO IMPROVE IT?
Our shoulder joint is one of the most vulnerable joints in our body and the most prone to getting injured. This happens mainly when we perform movements outside our comfortable range of motion, and pole dance is full of them, especially if you lack mobility in this area. Your shoulder mobility can be improved through targeted exercises that work on your range of motion, and usually include dynamic stretches that can be performed with the aid of a band or a light bar, such as shoulder rotations. Another great exercise for this purpose is the reverse fly, which is performed using dumbbells. For this exercises, you would need to move the weights from the midline out from a standing bent over position. You can even perform these shoulder mobility exercises as a warm up prior to your pole dance training session.
SHOULDER STRENGTH AND SHOULDER STABILITY ARE JUST AS IMPORTANT TO PREVENT INJURY
Once you improved your mobility, you should still not forget about strengthening your shoulder muscle. In fact, increasing your shoulder muscle strength would also improve the stability of this joint as the strengthened muscles would stabilize the bones, ligaments and cartilage in this area, and therefore further prevent injuries. To work on your shoulder strength, you should aim to focus on overhead push exercises, like shoulder presses, or even handstands. Conditioning training should be performed at least once a week in order to see the benefits transferred onto your pole fitness performance. The mobility exercises described above can also be used as a warm up to get the muscles and the joint ready for the resistance training that will follow. Conditioning your shoulder is very important to enable progress as the more you advance in this sport, the more strain is put on your muscles and the higher are the technical skills required.
As mentioned in this article, taking care of your shoulders health is very important for an variety or reasons, from injury prevention to improved performance. Mobility should be performed prior to any pole fitness training to warm up the shoulder joint and improve your range of motion, but should also be used as a warm up for your conditioning sessions. On the other hand, shoulder focussed conditioning sessions can be performed once weekly, but are extremely important to prevent injuries and enable progress.
Borsa, P.A., Laudner, K.G. and Sauers, E.L., 2008. Mobility and stability adaptations in the shoulder of the overhead athlete. Sports medicine, 38(1), pp.17-36.