If you are new to pole you probably haven’t thought too much about how important a healthy shoulder is to your workouts. It’s easy to take class then immediately skate out the door without stretching your shoulders because you’re thinking about dinner. Likewise, it’s easy to overlook conditioning the little muscles of your shoulder because it doesn’t feel like much of a workout and it’s kinda boring….until, you get injured!
If your shoulders feel healthy then NOW is the time to pay attention to them, stretch them, condition them, respect them and love them (more later on how to do that) and they will be there for you.
Let’s begin with bit of explanation about the anatomy of your shoulder, some common afflictions to them and why it’s so easy to injure them.
What is your Rotator Cuff?
Rotator cuff syndrome is a very common shoulder injury.
Your shoulder joint is a relatively unstable ball and socket joint that is moved and controlled by a small group of four muscles known as the rotator cuff.
The subscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus and teres minor are the small rotator cuff muscles that stabilize and control the shoulder movement on your shoulder blade (scapula).
As the name suggests, the rotator cuff muscles are responsible for shoulder rotation and form a cuff around the head of the humerus (shoulder ball). (phisoworks.com.au)
Even if you are doing conditioning exercises like pull ups, pushups, handstands, ect. to get you strong for your pole work, those exercises are not targeting the little stabilizer muscles of the rotator cuff, and you are neglecting something that may come back to haunt you. The other thing you need to be doing is stretching your shoulders after your workouts so that your shoulders don’t get all bound up, losing range of motion and setting you up for injury. My personal experience with shoulder issues (or any injury) comes less from lack of conditioning and more from training stupid, so I am gonna throw a little personal advice out there to you-DO NOT DO THE SAME MOVEMENT OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER no matter how badly you want to master it! Repeating the same movements in the same training session is one of the worst things you can do to your physical health. Switch up your movements, and try to limit your execution of a certain move to under 3 times per session, even better, alternate sides (ewe) to help your body maintain balance.
Below I am providing some links for doing both conditioning and stretching for the shoulders.
The first video is for conditioning the rotator cuff (the time to do this is while your shoulder in good health!). The second video is for stretches on the wall. I do both of these types of exercises every time I train. The last video is for correcting the affliction of the the shoulder know as shoulder impingement of the ac joint (mild case inflammation), I am including it because since I have been doing these exercises for my own rehab and I can honestly say I feel my body working in a new way and have a new sensation of the muscles in my shoulders as a result, it’s like I found a missing link to my training- so I guess my injury served some purpose. I don’t know that for sure, but it seems about right in retrospect.