To Permanently Reverse Sore, Achy, Stiff Shoulders: Do THIS & Stop Spending so Much Money on Massage Results that Never Last!

When I was a massage therapist (way back in 2008!) every single client who walked into my office asked me (some even begged me) to dig into their shoulders. Regardless of whether or not they had other issues (and most did, like low back pain, hip pain, etc), they all wanted their shoulders to get some relief from carrying the weight of the world.

For my entire short lived (year long) career as a massage therapist, I made people feel amazing for an hour or 90 minutes. They left feeling loosey goosey, a little high and finally at peace. But every time they came back their shoulders would be right back where they were before: stiff, achy, sore and in need of some major love (or a beat down, which a lot of people requested).

I quit massage therapy in large part because, though I was very good at it, I never helped permanently reverse my clients’ pain. I’m a very goal oriented person, so this wasn’t ok with me!

If you want to permanently reverse your shoulder tension, then you need to commit yourself to not only getting the proper areas of fascia released (which is not necessarily your shoulders or traps), you MUST also strengthen your mid back muscles.

Sure, the human body can adapt to “poor” posture. You may even live that way without serious pain; for a few decades. Trust me though when I tell you, you do NOT want to end up like my older clients who are 70 or 75 and wishing desperately they had learned all of this earlier, before compensation pattern piled onto compensation pattern and a lifetime of poor posture and stressful bio-mechanics caught up to them.

Start Strengthening NOW! (You can ‘release’ any time)

These exercises will take some time to carve new neural pathways and build healthier structure so I say don’t delay for any reason, start NOW. They will yield small rewards quickly that will build over time, and you can ‘release’ the tight areas as soon as you can make time (how to’s for that at the bottom of this article).

What we’re targeting:

The upper traps are one of the most overworked and overactive muscles, ready to work for us at any given moment. No wonder they’re so tired and angry (stiff/sore/achy)!

To counteract this overactive pattern we have to strengthen the lower traps and actively STOP engaging the upper traps during so many upper body exercises.

The following exercises target the lower traps, rhomboids and lats with short intentional movements of the shoulder girdle: downward rotation (depressing the scapula), and retraction (pulling the scapula back towards the spine).

Create new neural pathways and healthy habits:

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Build a Strong Foundation for Mastering Mobility with These Simple Deep Core Exercises

Mastering mobility cannot happen without a strong foundation. For truly efficient, powerful movement mojo we have to build a strong deep core.

I’m not talking six pack abs. I’m talking about the muscles that stop us from peeing when we sneeze! Or ya know, the muscles that keep our pelvis and spine stable. Kinda important. Unfortunately, many of us neglect our deep core and focus instead on our “abs” (typically rectus abdominus).

If you want your movements in life and sports to be powerful and efficient, this is a great place to start.

If you have a glute muscle not firing (and if you’ve sorted out why and are now working on firing that puppy up), then this is a great place to start. Your glutes want your deep core turned on. A stable pelvis and spine means your glutes don’t have to become your core!

The deepest deep core muscles are quadratus lumborum and psoas major, but we’re not targeting those today.

What we’re targeting:

Transverse abdominus and internal obliques.

The internal obliques lie beneath the external obliques and are superficial to, or “on top of” the transverse abdominus. They function primarily as accessory muscles to respiration (actively contracting during exhalation), as well as rotating and side-bending the trunk (imagine moving one shoulder to the opposite hip).

The transverse abdominus (TVA) helps to compress the ribs and viscera and provides thoracic and pelvic stability, as well as helping a pregnant woman deliver a baby.

Here’s the real kicker:

Without a stable spine aided by proper contraction of the TVA, the nervous system fails to recruit the muscles in the extremities efficiently, and functional movements cannot be properly performed. The transverse abdominal and the segmental stabilizers (such as the multifidi) of the spine have evolved to work in tandem. (source: wikipedia).

There are massive implications here for ALL kinds of ‘patterns’ (compensation patterns, pain patterns, injury reversal/prevention etc). We won’t go into any today, just know – this is important!

When harnessed effectively, the deep core stabilizers are our power house for movement! I’ve personally experienced the differences between powering my trail run through my core, rock climbing through my core, lifting weights via my core – and not, relying instead on peripheral muscles. And I can tell you from experience that when we harness the power available to us in this core compartment, every other movement becomes easier and less taxing on ALL other muscles (not to mention our fascia and bones!)

Here’s what to do:

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