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3 Quick Hacks to Bulletproof Your Shoulders

Updated: Dec 22, 2023

Estimated read time: 2 minute & 7 seconds

Shoulders like boulders, but still hurting?

Let's chat Rotator Cuff...

3-2-1 GO


01| "The Goldilocks Principle"

Do you remember the story Goldilocks and the Three Bears? Of course you do!

Papa Bear's bed was too stiff... Mama Bear's bed was too soft... But Baby Bear... Baby bear's bed was JUUUUSSST right!!

With all of our joints we are operating on a flexibility to stability continuum. Too much stability and your shoulder is like Papa Bear's bed - too stiff! Too much flexibility and your shoulder is like Mama Bear's bed -too soft!

Bulletproof shoulders require you to follow the Goldilocks Principle. Not too stiff... Not too loose... But just right!

I always say that the best lessons we learn as adults come from reading childrens books...

02| "Build a Bigger Tee"

Very often, shoulder pain is a downstream result of a rotator cuff that is not strong enough and is lacking muscular endurance. Perhaps we call this the "Mama Bear Shoulder."

Think of your shoulder joint like a golf ball sitting on a tee. As you strengthen and build your rotator cuff, it is like placing the golf ball on a bigger tee. The ball still can move freely, but is less likely to fall off.

Want to build your rotator cuff strength and endurance. Give the sidelying stability trio a shot. 15 reps each for the first two movements, then go to fatigue on the final movement.

03| Papa Bear Shoulders??

Well I suppose we might as well keep things rolling with the 3 Bears... Are you dealing with "Papa Bear Shoulders?" Feeling a bit on the stiff side of things?

With so many muscles and structures that can limit your flexibility, it can be a tricky endeavor figuring out where to start if your dealing Papa Bear Shoulders.

One of our favorite tools when investigating a client with papa bear shoulders is the PVC Overhead Reach test. Sit with your butt, back, and head pinned against the wall. Don't let them lose contact! Hold a PVC pipe out in front of you with hands shoulder width apart and palms facing down. Reach up overhead and try to touch the wall. Repeat, but the second time with your palms facing up.

Able to touch the wall with both hand positions? You don't have Papa Bear Shoulders!

Unable to touch with palms facing down? Do some soft tissue work to the back of your shoulder.

Unable to touch with palms facing up? Do some soft tissue work to your lats, pecs, and subscaps.

Unable to touch with either of the hand positions? You my friend, definitely have Papa Bear Shoulders 😊


Take home point...

  • Bulletproof shoulders require a well balanced combination of stability and flexibility.

  • Strengthen your rotator cuff if you tend to be more flexible.

  • Work on flexibility if you tend to be more stiff.


Your goals? Lets Crush Them!

Your Thrive HQ Team

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