We've all been there. You're either pressed for time or don't know the importance of a proper warm-up before hitting International Bench Day with the bros. Some might not have been coached properly. Some don't think it's important. But the day may come where you feel a strain or a pull, and THAT will be the day you wish you warmed up properly.
Now, like anything in life, this warm-up does not come with a guarantee. But, for over 13 years at Tank's Training Facility, we have utilized this warm-up, and we have had zero injury issues with our athletes, clients, and lifters who follow this warm-up.
I did most of this as part of my warm-up before taking the field back in my football days. BELIEVE me, my shoulders took a beating, BUT I never had any issues or injuries. My position was nose guard to 3tech, and for those of you who know the "plugger" position know I constantly pushed 300-600 pounds (or more) of body weight across the line of scrimmage numerous times per game.
Give this upper body warm-up a try and see if it helps YOU as I KNOW it helps US.
Upper Body Bench Warm-up
A simple set-up and all one needs is a wall and their body. Stand against the wall with the back and everything having contact against it. Stand erect and raise your arms into a "W" position, meaning the arms on either side, elbows bent, and the back to the arms contacting the wall behind you. Slowly extend the arms outward from the body, forming the letter "Y." Continue to focus on contact against the wall with the arms. Repeat for repetitions. We usually go for 45/60seconds. Go slow and take your time.
Wall Internal/External Rotations
Again, this is another simple setup as all you need is a wall and your body. Stand against a wall and place your elbows up on either side of the body while forming a letter "T" with your arms and body. We like to pinch our shoulder blades together while performing these (it should be the same shoulder sensation as when bench pressing). Slowly rotate the arms up and down while keeping constant contact against the wall. Keep the elbows against the wall on either side of the body. Repeat for desired reps or time. We like to do 45/60 seconds. Go slow and take your time.
Banded Internal/External Rotations
For this, you will need a long band. We use the elitefts brand. Cinch the band around a sturdy object. Holding the band in one hand, step away from where the band is cinched, taking up the slack as you go. For internal rotations, make sure your elbow locks at 90-degrees, and the elbow does not leave the side of the body. I explain it best to my athletes and clients to imagine a piece of paper between your elbow and the side of your body. Don't allow the "paper" to fall. KEEP THE ELBOW ON YOUR BODY. Perform a specific number of repetitions or go for time, then switch arms. We usually do these for five to eight repetitions.
Do both arms on both sides. Control the speed. Slow and steady wins the race here. Most people are typically stronger on internal rotations. Additionally, with internal rotations, you might need more band tension. The opposite goes for external rotations. Most people are not as strong at these or have mobility issues that come into play, so you might have to move in a little closer to where the band is cinched. Make sure you have equal distance no matter where you stand so you don't create an imbalance.
Face Pulls with External Rotation
For this movement, you will also need a band. We use the elitefts brand. Cinch it around an object that will not move. Pull the band towards you, similar to a face pull. Keep the arm up and focus on pulling back as far as your mobility allows, then slightly pause. Raise the band upward while bringing your arm up to a 90-degree angle and then slightly pause. Bring the arm back down with a slight pause. Return to the starting position. Do these for a specific amount of repetitions or for time. We usually do these for five to eight repetitions per arm.
Take a little more time before hitting your next upper body session with this warm-up. It is super simple and very effective. Please feel free to ask questions or comments below or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please shoot us a PM on our social media platforms as well.