Initially, the vast majority of our clientele exhibit less than optimal upper-back strength/stability, and a drastic imbalance between the upper traps and mid/low traps (the upper traps proving to be dominant in this relationship). Considering a large portion of our clientele are overhead athletes, the scenario above provides a perfect recipe for shoulder dysfunction. Desk jockeys and bench press “specialists,” keep reading because you can benefit from the information below as well. One of the many drills we incorporate into our clienteles programming to increase strength and reduce asymmetries in the stabilizing muscles surrounding the shoulder blades is W, T, Y, and I. The clip below was taken from our online database of exercises that we use to coach our distance coaching clientele. Without further ado, I give you the W, T, Y, and I drill:
The drill’s benefit lies in the execution of the movement (what else is new, right?). A couple important coaching cues to note are as follows:
-Perform these drills on a flat-solid surface where one is parallel to the ground. This will ensure the delts and upper traps don’t take over the movement. My preferred surfaces are a bench, or treatment table. You’ll see these drills sometimes performed on stability balls or other unstable surfaces. I’d advise not doing them on these surfaces as it’ll detract from force output and subsequently the conditioning of the upper-back musculature.
-Avoid hyperextension of the lumbar spine (lower back) as this will again limit the effectiveness of the drill.
-Be sure to squeeze the middle of the back (lower and mid trap activation!) when performing these movements. If you feel like you’re shrugging to raise the arms, that’s a sign your upper traps are taking over and you’re now just compounding problems…
-If you’re having a difficult time performing them bilaterally (both arms simultaneously), try performing them one arm at a time.
-Try to relax the neck as much as possible; stare at the ground NOT the wall in front of you.
If you’re an overhead athlete it’s imperative that you address your upper-back through drills such as these. Honestly, your pitching career probably depends on it.
For our bench press “specialists” in the crowd, if you think addressing the retractors and depressors is a waste of your time, enjoy benching 185 the rest of your life…if you’re lucky enough to bench the rest of your life.
And for the desk jockey whose neck and shoulders kill him after a day at work, or weekend golf/tennis match, come see SAPT and we’ll get you right.
To improve your fastball, serve, bench press or just quality of life, give me a clicksee right HERE…
A pocket full of M80’s and Roman Candles…who’s coming with me…
Chris AKA Romo AKA "Put your dishes in the dishwasher, please"