Shoulder Saver Bench Warm-up

TAGS: shoulder saver, bench warm-up, matt mills

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When I was younger, I would skip any kind of warm-up and just head straight to the bar. Back then, of course, I didn’t have the wear and tear I do now on my body from years of competing. You can ask just about any lifter that’s been in the iron game for over ten years, and I bet all of them will say they wished they would have spent more time stretching and warming up. Don’t worry, I’m not an advocate of these ridiculous 45-minute warm-ups where you lay on a foam roller until you want to take a nap. I’m going to outline here what I do for my upper body days that take a max of 15 minutes. Since starting this routine, that I do on both of my upper body days per week, I have had far less pain and less nagging injuries. Now I know what some of you are thinking about static stretching reducing power output. I would much rather lose a few pounds on a lift than get injured. Also, I’ve hit multiple PRs since I have started doing this, so I’m not sure how much I believe that you’re going to lose weight on the bar anyway.


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Blast Strap Pec Stretch

You can also do this in a doorway, but I prefer the blast strap as you can move your arms into each position more fluid. You are going to hold each position for one minute. First, you are going to hold right out to your sides, just lean in and get a good stretch. This should feel good, so don’t try to rip your arms off. Next, go low and hold for one minute and finally go high for one minute. In the video, I speed things up so you can see each position.

Banded Lat Stretch

This one can be a little tricky to get the hang of. You have to fully relax the side you are stretching and really let that band pull on your arm. Wrap the band around your wrist then lean forward. As you feel your lat, turn your hips in the opposite direction, as seen in the video. If you do this correctly, you will feel this down to your hip. Hold each side for one minute.

Accumobilty Ball Trigger Point

Take your Accumobility ball and put it up against a rack. If you don’t have one of these, a lacrosse ball will work too. Reach your arm out straight and dig that ball into any knots you find. When you find the right spot, just lean into it for 60 seconds on each side.

Band Pull-Aparts

Band pull-aparts are a very common exercise, but I see them butchered so many times. I won’t get into an explanation here, as Murph has a great video up on his Instagram, so check it out. I will note that the band pull-aparts, and the over-and-back stretch I do are all in a row for 3 sets of 10 reps on each with no rest.


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Over and Back Stretch

This is one you can do with a PVC pipe, but I prefer a mini band. Simply grab the ends keeping your arms straight and go over your head until the band touches your lower back. Come back around until the band touches your waist. If these are easy then simply bring your hands in a little.

Rotator Cuff Internal and External Rotations

This is one of the simple and boring warm-ups that people just don’t do, but they need to. I’m sure we all know someone that has torn a rotator cuff and needed surgery. I will do everything I can to avoid something like that, so you need to so some direct rotator cuff work. Very quick and easy, just wrap your band around a rack. Move out to where it is challenging and do 3 sets of 10 each way. There's no need to rest at all. Keep reps slow and controlled here.

After this, you should feel ready to hit some heavy bench. Pecs should be warmed up, and you will have a nice burn in the shoulders. Give this a shot, and drop a comment to let me know how it works for you!

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