When doing this shoulder warm-up protocol, focus on lower belly breathing. Since we’re focusing on the chest and shoulders, it’s easy to fall into an upper body breathing pattern, but this is exactly what we DO NOT want.
Importance of the Psoas and Diaphragmatic Breathing
To cue this lower belly breathing, I advise doing a psoas release before beginning this protocol.
This would entail lying on something like a softball or a kettlebell. Placing it near your pubic region and lower abdominals, you breathe through your lower belly and allow this tissue to release.
Your body will want to fight and breathe through the upper body while keeping the abdominal area tight.
The goal, however, is to keep that area supple.
Elliot House describes this as “breathing into your balls.”
I’ll go into this in more detail in another post, but for now, focus on lower belly breathing.
The psoas release will give you connection to proper breathing mechanics while simultaneously having the awareness of your chest and shoulder girdle as you work on activating and opening it up.
This series of exercises will go a long way in ungluing this area of the body, giving you more movement in the most mobile joint in your body. Conversely, it often becomes the tightest joint in the body, making it even more imperative to work on.
I’ve covered many of these in the past so I won’t go into detail on them specifically. The focus is on giving you a gameplan to take directly into your training.
By spending time ungluing and stabilizing this area, you will have more angles of attack allowing you to incorporate and hit different chokes, because your shoulders are able to move in all of the motions they’re supposed to!
Banded Rotational Opener
Taking care of the rotational components of the shoulder is something you will thank yourself down the road for if you don’t already have shoulder issues. If you do, this is great prehab/rehab work to keep the joints “oiled” for your training!
Banded Shoulder Pull Aparts
Band pull aparts help to to activate the posterior shoulder and open up the chest. This helps to create good posture and strong head positioning — something essential for grapplers.
Final Considerations on These Shoulder Activators
Add these movements in before and after training and as part of your strength training protocol. Do at least 10 quality controlled reps at a time for each movement. If you need more sets, do them accordingly.
More than anything, as I always say, grease the groove and feel how the movement affects your body. Make it part of your daily practice and see it add up for your overall bodily health. I’m confident it’ll help your game, too.
As always reach out to me with any questions!
I cover more performance training tidbits for the Jiu Jitsu Times that will help you prepare, recover, and perform better on the mats.