Shoulder injuries are commonplace among bench-pressing men, but they’re certainly not inevitable. With a little guidance, you can easily sidestep debilitating injuries while even improving your athletic performance in the process.
Whether your shoulders are shot from years of pressing or your goal is to avoid injury and overuse altogether (or you recently started getting into overhead lifts and you’re realizing how essential shoulder range of motion is to execute these moves properly), there are a couple of exercises and stretches you can do to shore up your shoulders.
“I’m going to show you one of the best exercises you’re not doing to open up your shoulders,” says Nyree Brown, a trainer at Equinox in New York City.
“This is all about stretching and keeping mobility in our shoulders,” she says.
Watch the video above to see Brown demonstrate a stretch that you can do with no equipment at all—that is, depending on how flexible your shoulders are to begin with.
The goal is to hold your hands together behind your back, but if you’re not quite there yet, Brown has a quick fix. “For those with tighter shoulders, you can use a strap,” she says. “Grab the strap, and start to walk the hands together, keeping that top shoulder open.”
Either way, do this stretch daily and you’ll gradually find it easier and easier to meet your hands behind your back. You’ll also notice a wider range of motion in your shoulders and possibly even less pain during pressing movements if that’s something you’ve been dealing with. Best of all, it’s an investment in your athletic longevity.
“This one is great to keep those shoulders open and also prevent injuries, which is what it’s all about,” Brown says.
By Dean Stattmann