Simple Shoulder Savers (Minimal Equipment Edition)

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Since I’m on the topic of shoulders:

Subtle (but not really) reminder that mine and Dean Somerset’s (Even More) Complete Shoulder & Hip Blueprint is now on sale through this weekend.

In fact, you can purchase that OR the combo pack (includes both version 1.0 & 2.0) for a hefty discount in addition to taking advantage of a payment plan option.

Other benefits:

  • Continuing Education credits.
  • Instant digital access.
  • 30 day money back guarantee (you will learn something that’ll improve your coaching skills and business).
  • Comes with a 5×7 autographed copy of Tony’s pecs (limited time offer).

For more info and to purchase go HERE.

Okay, let’s talk shoulders…

Simple Shoulder Savers (Minimal Equipment Edition)

A lot can go awry when it comes to the shoulders.

Anyone who’s been lifting weights for a significant amount of time will, at some point or another, have a shoulder (or two) that isn’t too pleased with them.

Sometimes it’s a niggle —> you know, something that doesn’t feel good but also isn’t something that’s going to derail your workout plans.,

Sometimes it’s a lot more than a niggle —> but you’re an idiot and proceed to max effort bench press anyway; you idiot.

Needless to say, niggles happen – to varying degrees. Here are a few short-n-sweet preventative measures you can implement TODAY to keep your shoulders from hating you.

1. You Can Never Do Enough Rows

A simple audit of one’s program often gives a lot of insight.

It’s no surprise that the bulk of people who come to me with cranky shoulders tend to have a programming issue. Meaning, they perform a lot more pressing compared to pulling movements.

In other words: People like to train the muscles they can see in the mirror.

This can lead to an infatuation of sorts with pressing movements.

I find it rarely ever hurts to add more ROWING variations into everyone’s programs. A one-to-one (pull:push) ratio is a nice starting point. However, a 2:1 or even 3:1 (pull:push) ratio is often what’s needed.

We need to take an UNBALANCED approach to “balance” things.

In other words: More rowing variations.

Sometimes it’ll be something heavy – Seal Rows, Bent Over Rows, DB Rows, Seated Rows, Chest Supported Rows.

Sometimes it’ll be something medium – TRX Rows, Face Pulls

NOTE: This isn’t to imply that the exercises listed after “heavy” can only be done heavy and that the ones listed after “medium” can’t be performed with more challenging loads. Rather it’s just to point out that those exercises tend to be better suited for those type of loading parameters.

And sometimes it’ll be an exercise that is better suited for “lighter” loads.

Like this:

Split Stance 1-Arm Band Row

2. Reaching = MONEY for Shoulder Health

I wrote about this in detail a few weeks ago in THIS article, but you probably didn’t read it because I titled it something lame:

“Exercises You Should Be Doing: This Is One That Will Make Your Shoulders Feel Better”

See? Lame.

What I should have done is title it something like:

“101 Bicep Variations That’ll Make More People Swipe Right on Your Tinder Profile.”

And then I would have LOL’d because you would have been expecting an article on how to build swole biceps and what you would have really have clicked on is an article about the Serratus and the benefits of reaching for shoulder health.

Okay, I’ll shut up.


3. Do This Before Your Upper Body Lifts

Inspired by my good friend and Baltimore based personal trainer, Sivan Fagan, this is a SUPERB movement prep series to get your shoulders primed and ready to handle some subsequent big boy (or girl) weights.

Or if you just want a good ol’ fashioned shoulder pump.

All good.

4. The Arm Bar

Outside of sounding like an 80’s WWF finishing move, this is easily one of the most under-rated exercises for shoulder health out there.

I like to use this one as an extended warm-up for those clients with a history of shoulder issues because it hits a few major big rocks:

  • Grip (irradiation = more rotator cuff activation).
  • Trains the rotator cuff in a more “functional” manner (keeping humeral head centered in glenoid fossa).
  • Scapular stability (I actually like adding a reach/protraction at the top to help train scapular motion AROUND THE RIBCAGE)
  • Thoracic mobility (namely extension; great for those stuck in front of a computer for hours on end).
  • Julian is LOCKED IN to Spiderverse over there in the corner.

5. Following a Ketogenic Diet

The fuck outta here with that nonsense.

6. Bottoms-Up Carry Variations

I love bottoms-up carries because they’re a supreme way to train the shoulders in a more “functional” manner with minimal load.

There aren’t many exercises more humbling than this.


I suck at conclusions.

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