Mark Reifkind: Shoulder Mobility

Mark Reifkind discusses the reality of living with injuries and shares a stretch to help regain shoulder mobility before your workout.

I’ve had both the very top end and the very bottom end of experience. I was an elite level gymnast and I could pretty much do anything I wanted—had hyper-mobile everything . . . full splits and could do everything on the rings.

Then, I blew out my shoulder and my knee and basically went to being crippled.

So I’ve known the highs and the lows. I have an appreciation for both.

My right shoulder—I blew it out when I was 21 and never had it fixed. It’s a problem. I’ve had to find ways to get it to move so that it doesn’t hurt all the time.

This stretch is one of them. Take the rings or TRX and start with your arms overhead. Remember, I talked about locked elbows? This is why. What we’re going to do here is to get a stretch and we’re just going to move the arm down, a little bit at a time.

My mindset is not focused on my hands. My mindset is my shoulder blades moving my hands. Do you see my shoulder blades move? That’s what I’m trying to do with my elbows straight.

If your arms bend, then you end up using your biceps as your shoulder blades and you never gain shoulder mobility.

This is the sequence: First thing, lock your elbows. Get as high as you comfortably can. You’re going to move 3-4″. . . small movements. Once you’ve done that a few times, step forward and just stretch—feel your pecs and shoulders. Step back, so that the end position is the new starting position, and then move another 3-4″.

Again, your focus is on getting your shoulder blades to move your hands with your elbows locked. Then stretch. Hands are open, rings are in the heel of your hand like you hold a kettlebell.

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