Overhead shoulder control and strength is vital in many activities of life. The push press, the snatch, kipping, and many more CrossFit movements require a significant amount of overhead control and strength. The back swing of a golf club or tennis racquet both require a significant amount of overhead control and strength. For some placing their luggage in an overhead compartment or placing dishes in cabinets will be a challenge. However, clinically we find people lack the overhead control and strength to perform their activity of choice. The Turkish Get Up is one of our favorite accessory exercises to address this problem.
Top Exercises for Shoulder Strength and Control
Turkish Get Up for Shoulder Control
The Turkish Get Up requires you to maintain good shoulder position through the movement. While moving through the various positions you will need to maintain good shoulder position and control through flexion of your trunk, extension of your hips, and rotation of the trunk and hips. This can be very challenging and it is why this is such a great exercise to prepare the shoulders for anything life can throw at you. A goal to shoot for is 40% of your body weight each arm.
Kettlebell Windmills for Shoulder Control
If you aren’t quite ready for the full Turkish Get Up, kettlebell windmills are a great exercise. The kettlebell windmill does not take you through as many positions while working on overhead control as the Turkish Get Up, but still effectively challenges shoulder and trunk control. If you’re looking for higher volume in this specific range, are short on time, or can’t do the full get up, these are a great variation.
Kettlebell Arm bars with Screwdrivers
Kettlebell arm bars with screwdrivers are another great way to challenge the control and strength of the shoulders. As you rotate, literally every muscle of the shoulder has to fight to maintain the control. Adding rotations to the kettlebell arm bar forces the shoulder to maintain that control in a large variety of positions.
Kettlebell Arm Bars
Kettle bar arm bars are another great regression from the Turkish Get Up. Maybe the shoulder isn’t ready to go through the variety of positions in the Turkish Get Up or possibly the shoulder is too irritated to tolerate rotations in the arm bar position. If this is the case the straight up kettlebell arm bar will provide plenty of challenge.
Finally, if all of the above are too challenging or the shoulder is too irritated lying on your back, pressing the kettlebell, and performing rotations is a great place to start. This is a less challenging position for the shoulder compared to the previously listed variations, but the combination of the press and rotations will provide plenty of stimulus to the shoulder musculature.
Still Dealing with Shoulder Strength Issues or Pain?
If you are having trouble with shoulder pain, overhead lifting, or hitting positions during overhead lifts schedule an assessment with one of our shoulder rehab experts to get back to the things you love! Incorporating any of these exercises into your daily (or weekly) routine can help you boost your shoulder control and strength, and avoid shoulder pain!