On the show today, I have a few of the fellow RP Coaches back in action, Keiran Halton, Ryan Patrick and Ryan L’Ecuyer. The intent of today’s discussion is whether or not you should go overhead and the qualifications for doing so. For those who do want to go overhead, we share strategies and tactics to get there, while also continuing to maintain the correct body position you need. Your body is not going to stop you from doing a move you want to do because it doesn’t have the ability to do it; it is going to find a way regardless, even if that requires compensation.
We dive deep into why the ribs play an important role in getting overhead. I share the analogy, “The ribs for the shoulder blade are like the floor for your feet.” Ryan L’Ecuyer then goes into the hypertrophy standpoint of going overhead and the challenges coaches face in the shoulder flexion improvement process and why landmine pressing and angled cable rows are a great strategy to get to that next level.
Listen in as the coaches and I discuss instilling overhead exposure at an early age and how shoulder mobility will likely come easier moving forward in future training. Ryan Patrick shares his tactic on using unilateral movements as a tool to get somebody overhead by driving rotation and restoring mechanics.
What You’ll Learn in This Episode:
- [06:30] The right way to test shoulder flexion
- [13:45] Why the ribs are so important in getting overhead
- [17:03] Going overhead from a hypertrophy standpoint
- [23:16] Exercises that allow you to feel your shoulder blades
- [26:15] Stacked position and shoulder movement
- [30:00] Instilling overhead exposure at a young age
James Cerbie: Welcome back to Rebel Performance Radio on the show this week it is myself here at Kieran Halton, Ryan Patrick, Ryan L’Ecuyer, some of the rebel crew coming on board to chat about, should you be going overhead? It’s something we get asked a lot. We see a lot of people that have shoulder pain, mostly on the front side, a little bit a long head of the bicep weigh-in so we break down. Should you be going overhead and strategies and tactics you can use to actually clean up your overhead range of motion, this scapula humoral rhythm that we care about so much, so really good episode today. A lot of kind of nuts-and-bolts tactics and strategies for you.
And then we also have put together an entire page of free recommended resources for you, for free e-books, training samples, nutrition manuals for you. I just go to jamescerbie.com/freeresources. Just these are the tools that you need to rapidly level up, totally free.
We’ll put a link to the show notes and that for you as well. But let’s jump into the episode today with Ryan meet Daddy and Kieran.
Kieran Halton: Said in the kitchen at the shitty table. So, I’m not used to all the nice stuff over here.
James Cerbie: Yeah, all like the lighting and all that fun jazz.
Kieran Halton: Yeah. I just get up from the table with, like, a broken back after, female and a bunch of people back. So, this is nice to have like a standing desk set up in all the fancy stuff.
Ryan Patrick: I do like the standing desk. It’s a it’s a nice change of pace for certain types of work. Like I like the standing desk for most work, but if I actually have to read or think I need to sit down, I can’t be standing when I’m trying to do that.
Kieran Halton: Yeah, it just doesn’t work. I don’t know how people do The Walking Dead, but I think you could do take a phone call
James Cerbie: You’re just lying to yourself. If you think that you’re productive on a walking desk, you’re out of your mind.
Ryan Patrick: Yeah, no shot.
James Cerbie: Those are the people that think they’re good at multitasking when there’s no human on the planet that’s actually get it multitasking. It’s a huge mess.
Ryan Patrick: Yeah. And then you have to go back and correct everything that you were doing on the walk. Yeah.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: People actually try to work while they’re walking. I thought, you know, most people have jobs, but they don’t actually work. I mean, that’s what I thought the walking test is for. It’s like I got to stand in front of this computer in case someone emails me while I’m doing that.
Ryan Patrick: Yeah, but at least they’re not fit for all their potential.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Well, that made a lot of sense to me. I didn’t think they were actually trying to do stuff. And I don’t even have a real job. I don’t even have a fake job.
So, I don’t know anything about this. And I’ll do anything.
James Cerbie: Yeah. Did you go walk into the library up at University of Utah and they’ve got those walking tests. You see people out like trying to work or study on those things like you guys are.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: That’s wild.
James Cerbie: I would compare that to an undergrad. Mondays were an off day in season and we would go to lake campus and we would all bring our book bags and things with all the work that we needed to get done that we were behind on.
Not once did we ever open a book bag, but we felt really good about the effort since we brought it. It was like high five guys.
We brought our work just like, yeah,
Kieran Halton: It’s kind of like maybe the guy who made the floosy ball, like also me, the walking desk or something through work.
That’s kind of the same concept, right? It’s like, let me do multiple things poorly.
Ryan Patrick: I would probably use the salt and pepper shakers later on. I do.
James Cerbie: Yeah, the shake weights. That’s really what I want to see. I want to see someone on a walking desk like double shake weights going.
And they just have like an intern who like turns the page for him on the book that they’re reading.
Kieran Halton: Dude, it’s been crushing life.
James Cerbie: Absolutely nice, ok, so I apologize in advance to people listening. If you hear some tissues or coughing going in the background. Got a little bug, Ryan, suffering from allergies.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: This year I have allergies. I feel like this time of the year I’m always telling people I have a cold most years. But this time I’m telling people have allergies.
James Cerbie: I respect that, I respect that play, but what we’re going to talk about today is getting overhead in particular. Should you be going overhead? What are some of the qualifications for yes or no? And then what are some strategies and tactics that we can actually use to get you overhead and to improve that range of motion such as we’re going to get into?
I would be willing to bet. Ninety nine percent of people listening to this podcast don’t have it available to them passively. And guess what? You’re just not going to magically get it when you go under load. So as a kind of a primer on this and also apologies if I sound super nasally, you’re just going to have to deal with it. So, a lot of people want to go overhead, not entirely sure why, but if getting overhead is something you really want to do and there’s obviously some benefits that can come from different things there.
But I’ll let you guys chime in here after me. But I will say that I have never tested someone on a table. That had cleaned shoulder flexion when we started working together on day one, pretty much every single person that I have ever tested is lucky if their arm gets past the front of their nose, because when you’re testing that shoulder flexion, you have to make sure you actually pin the ribcage. And that’s where most people go wrong, is they just like test shoulder flexion, just let the ribs do whatever they want.
Understanding Shoulder Flexion and How to Test It
But that’s fake shoulder flexion. So, if I actually pin your ribs because remember, we’re always chasing this kind of ribs down pelvis under stack position. If I actually pin your ribs, don’t let your ribs, just pop out next to rotate, that’s going to be a true test of what your shoulder flexion looks like. And the vast majority of people out there just, frankly, don’t have it. And so that’s when we run into the issues of this kind of a convex curve phenomenon, and I’m not going to pick on that, I want to just pick on CrossFit, but you see it in CrossFit more than other training options and modalities. It’s just convex curve. Like everything’s fine, everything’s fine, everything’s fine. My shoulder kind of hurts now. It really hurts. Oh, fuck, this suck, right? Because it’s like an acute dosage of something like that won’t really be a problem. Like, if you’re going overhead, even though you don’t have that as an option, like you can get away with it and short acute exposures, but you’re going to really suffer with repeated exposure over time
So, I’ll let you guys just chip in here on kind of your experiences. Does it match up with essentially what I’m seeing and saying Kieran and let’s go you first. Well, kind of like go around how the videos show up here on the screen. So we’ll go Kieran and we’ll go Ryan Patrick. And then we’ll go Ryan L’Ecuyer.
Kieran Halton: Yes, so I’m not as good with the table testing as some of you guys, obviously, but we’ll just even put like say we have somebody walking in day one and I don’t know why, but like a ton of the high school kids are like kind of in to like some of the CrossFit stuff, like they all want to get a skipping pull up down and like all the hands and stuff.
So, like, they want to do it in the structured workouts. So, just to show people, like you said, we’ll just do the line the back, have them do it once and just see what happens. Always the ribs are flaring and you know, we talk about, alright, it’s like I’m just going to keep my hand here as soon as you feel your rib, come up into my hands, stop wherever you’re at.
And they just see the disparity between, the workaround where they just kind of like arch and get a lot of low back extension versus like really isolating the shoulder and being like. So that’s why we’re going to hold off on all the direct overhead stuff. Maybe we’ll close up that space. Maybe we won’t. I don’t know. But for right now, we’ll kind of stick to some potentially cleaner options for you. Right in the meantime. But yeah, that’s just kind of like to your point, day one.
A lot of people have acute strategies that might not necessarily lead to long term health or performance. So, we just try to, really make that clear from day one with those guys.
James Cerbie: Yeah, one thing I’ll just chime in on there really quick before we go to you.
I’m going to call you R.P. is that the human body is not going to shut you down because you’re going to try to do something biomechanically inefficient or not correct. You’re not going to go do a move in the cross back? Nope, not allowed. We’re not going to let you do this. It’s going to figure out a way to accomplish the task that you’re telling it to do. Whether or not it’s doing it well is a totally different conversation.
Kieran Halton: Yeah, sure, there’s always that workaround.
James Cerbie: People are phenomenal compensators, like some of the best athletes in the world, are really just the best compensators on the planet. And for whatever reason, they’ve been blessed with phenomenal genetics. They have fucking horse tendons and ligaments and you see them do things and you’re like, I don’t know how you’re not hurt, but. Great, like kudos to you, high five. It doesn’t mean that’s how I’m going to go about approaching the rest of the population because you’re on the far end of a bell curve.
Right? But all right. Let’s rotate down. I’m Ryan Patrick, where you’re at with this?
Ryan Patrick: Yeah. I mean, I like what you’re saying about the table test. So, when we test shoulder flexion, we do the one that has a little bit of an external rotation bias so that the opening of the elbow is going to face down towards the feet at all times. And you’ll see, I mean, most of the people I test once they pass 90, they’re going to start to spin out just a little bit. So, I mean, James, I don’t know if I’ve tested somebody.
It’s got one hundred and twenty degrees clean, at least not the people I’m seeing, because our people, they want to come in. They want to train hard. And you can’t really do that with overhead under most circumstances. Right, because they just don’t have the range. Sure. I’ll throw in a two-kettlebell press and a metcon on here. There, but it’s not going to be a huge part of their training, at least not early on.
And so, I mean, I might be the anomaly here, but under most conditions, I don’t really chase overhead pressing because I think some of the things, they have to give up to get there are just kind of takes away from what their true objective is. But I mean, the people that we’ve had to go about it, maybe they’ve got some neck issues, shoulder issues that biceps tendon starts flaring up. I’m a huge fan of the landmine press.
We use it for a variety of postures where I think people can stack a little bit better. We really started using a lot of seeded landmine press just because it’s a passive tilt to still get a lot of people are just like mash their glutes or try to tense everything too much. So, the seated landmine has been a slam dunk for us. But from there, I mean, if I’m going to approach it sequentially, I need somebody to be able to clean out their E. R’s and I.R’s at 90 degrees before I even try getting that additional shoulder flexion.
So, for us, that means getting that pump and all the chest to move back up, which again, back to the original conversation of creating the stack or putting the pelvis in the ribcage on top of one another, like you have to be able to get a full exhale so that the diaphragm will actually ascend and you can get that ribcage to kind of pop open. So, yeah, we do some other things, like for our super compressed people, especially the wide and four sternal angles.
We’ll do some sideline stuff, whether it looks like you’re rolling armbars, your Turkish getups, even just like a sideline cable row, just to try to increase those dimensions of the ribcage, a to p. So simple stuff like that I think is passive, doesn’t really require a lot of extra work from them because, I mean, I’ll be honest, nobody really wants to work on that yet. We talk about getting that one client of mine ready for the TSC like the warm-up is walking to the rack and starting to do some stuff.
So, as much as possible, I’m trying to bake it in and just keep them at least at a level that’s not going to create any negative influence, is not going to destroy their shoulders. So let them chase the big three. But I don’t work with a lot of overhead athletes. I mean, we did strong man for a short period of time, but even that’s just an unsupported incline for us if we’re being honest.
And I mean, maybe, Ryan L’Ecuyer can kind of weigh in on somebody who’s looking for to blow their shoulders up from a muscular standpoint. But I mean, that’s not really my realm.
James Cerbie: Yeah.
I’ll just root two things here really quick before we go to we need to come up with nicknames here because
Ryan L’Ecuyer: you can just call me L’Ecuyer or liquor as a kids call me
James Cerbie: Thinking more like meat daddy, but we can go with them both,
Ryan L’Ecuyer: You know, liquor meat daddy.
Why the Ribs Are So Important in Getting Overhead
James Cerbie: So, two things here. One, so we talk about why the ribs are so important. And I think a really easy way to think about this for people is if we’re talking about getting overhead, we need to see really good scapula humoral rhythm. Right. Like you have this femoral head sitting on a golf tee, like the golf ball and the golf. You have very little room for error. And the scapula is just a free-floating bone just hanging out.
It needs some reference. It needs something to work off of. And that’s the ribs. The ribs for the shoulder blade are like the floor for your feet. So, if you take the floor away because your ribs drive for next then rotate, there’s no chance in the world you actually get your scapula to move and upwardly rotate and do the things that we want it to do. Well, and that leads to one of two things, right? The two biggest ones that we see are anterior impingement on the long head of the bicep, by far the most popular.
It’s the hey, this hurts right here, or you’ll get the people who are on the back side posterior. You get more like a cuff and impingement. But one question follow-up for RP here is can you unpack why you like to test shoulder flexion and external rotation? Because you like that that comes across as even more of a limiter because like I don’t even get ninety degrees if you text me an extra rotation, olecranon forward, maybe aback.
Why that is. And why you’re seeing like that internal rotation as a point of view like this is like a shutdown point essentially.
Ryan Patrick: Yes, there’s a study out there. I’ll have to pull it and send it over to you. Maybe you can drop in the notes or something. And I may not grasp the essence of this fully, but basically the positions that we’re testing in, we’re looking at if you take your shoulder and just make the biggest circle you can. We’re looking at transition points. So, if you use, I think the propulsion arc is what most people reference in terms of how Bill’s talking about it.
There is 0 to 60 is going to be this external rotation bias based on the mechanics of the scapula as you kind of pass this middles end so from 60 degrees of shoulder hip flexion, up to about 120, you need to have some internal rotation available. And if you don’t have enough total. Space in terms of bandwidth between E.R. And I.R. you’re going to find that guys will start to internally rotate a lot early. So kind of back to your point is the starting position is suboptimal.
The mechanics, maybe the ribcage is completely pushed forward. You’ve got the winging scapula right out of the gate. You’re going to have to start to get some of the upward rotation and chew up some of that space as you actually need in that zone. So either you get the elbows turning out to the side or you kind of end up doing more of the YMCA position than actually staying in that tree line of shoulder flexion. So, it pulls out the deviations in movement a lot quicker.
And when I actually watch people left, it seems to be more accurate with how they’re actually going to present when they’re lifting.
James Cerbie: OK, beautiful. No, that’s the problem. Thank you. All right. meat daddy. Let’s get your thoughts here on getting people overhead. And I think it’d be really intriguing to hear from more of a hypertrophy like local muscular standpoint. Is it something that you need to have access to in order to drive hypertrophy and specific places? I’ll let you just kind of unpack that. However, you really want to.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Yeah, I mean, I would say anecdotally, it’s pretty clear that you don’t need it because ain’t nobody got it, but I’ve seen some big ass delts on the bodybuilding stage.
Going Overhead From a Hypertrophy Standpoint
So a lot of those guys, I think, kind of figured out that they can’t overhead press or they think they’re overhead dressing and they’re not they’re just doing an incline press. So and it still seems to work. So I don’t know. I don’t think you absolutely need it. I don’t like to have the lowest. I just think from my bias is just from a health perspective, like I want people to be able to do this stuff as long as possible.
And I think if I have someone who comes in, it’s like has fucking 90 degrees of shoulder flexion, I’m like, all right, we’ve got to try to do something about this. But I’ve never taken anyone who had, like, no shoulder flexion to having my full shoulder flexion. I think the only way that I could do that is to actually tear something out of their shoulder, like with a lot of these people, like I don’t know, like me, I’m not that good at my job.
Like, I just never I’ve never seen that really happen. I mean, it sounds like that’s what you guys are finding as well. It’s like we can do a lot of stuff for these people to help and get better. But like Ryan Patrick was saying, maybe we could get him to do it. But do they really want to do that? Like, are they actually going to take the time to do that? And what are they going to have to give up?
And just from the time perspective, that’s enough for me to be like, I’m not going to pursue that because, yeah, for hypertrophy, I can definitely get it. I can definitely get the look that we’re going for. I mean, the landmine presses is typically where I start people with especially if there’s someone who because sometimes I don’t know if you guys are seeing this, but I’ll see people that can get like make it look like they have full shoulder flexion and it almost like and they don’t even really move the ribcage much.
But it’s like moving only through the femoral joint and there’s like no scapula representation, which would change your start to kind of get out there. So that’s something where I really like the landmine presses for, because that’s going to they’ll build the fuel, that upward rotation taking place. There’re gaps and or they’ll like do overhead stuff, but like their shoulders don’t move. There’s no elevation. So, things like that are really useful if the landmine pressing and even if you have one of those hammer strength height of low rows, like those are awesome.
Or you can still set that up on a cable where it’s you can angle it, like it can be as much of an angle as you need and then as far as like pressing stuff goes, like a pretty much basically everyone stops at this feed on the wall overhead press with the angle is like one hundred and ten degreeish unless my geometry is completely incorrect there. Like I think that’s. Yeah. Because this would be one thing, I always think about that whenever I say because I want to make sure I don’t say seventy degrees and they’re just God this is so uncomfortable that he’s sitting on the podcast.
This is supposed to be the easy version. So yeah. Like not fully ninety degrees back a little bit. That’s a right angle for those bodybuilders on the podcast. You’re so. Yeah. Like you’re going to want to be a little bit away from that and then you don’t have to go to a full shoulder flexion. And that seems to be enough for getting a delt pump and getting delt to go along with things like scap raises and lateral raises and all those variations.
So, yeah, I don’t it’s not something I want to completely ignore. Like if I see that, it’s like, OK, I know where I’m going with the warm-up, you know, like I need them to be some encouragement of this. I’ll handle mechanic and just looking at them, I’m going to try to do some things to just push them in. Like there’s a lot of these people are going to be really wide. So that’s kind of where it guides me.
I’m not going to ignore it completely, but I’m certainly not going to attack it like crazy. And luckily, I think a lot of the exercises that help with it, things like like a hook line, pull over, variations like that also feel awesome. Like so they’ll get a lot of what they’re going for. Anyway, I’m definitely going to get a lot of laughs with that and it’s going to feel really good. And then I can I can help whatever a range of motion they have, even if that’s like nothing, it’s still going to still going to work, especially like a cable kind of setup or something like that.
So, yeah, that’s kind of where my head’s at with it.
James Cerbie: Yes, in total agreement there, because it’s like I still have not today taken someone who is missing shoulder flexion and then got them to where it’s like, oh, we’re perfectly clean now. It’s kind of like that. You can never make a solo person fast, but I can make people faster. I can improve your shoulder flexion. I can improve what that looks like. But at the same time, we don’t train Olympic weightlifters who need to jerk.
And we also don’t train CrossFitters who need to do a certain amount of overhead things. And I think that that population is going to be self -elected into anyways for people that actually have that available to them. But yeah, and so I think for people listening to this, they’re like, well, I really would like to improve, get my overhead better. A couple of questions to consider. Like what? What is your actual goal? What do you actually want to accomplish?
Because we have a lot of tools in our toolbox that can get you unbelievable results that don’t require us to try to get you doing really high-risk overhead movements. Right. I want to be married to the outcome, not like to implement. We’re using to get you the outcome. The whole argument with you don’t need a squat with a straight bar on your back unless you want to step on a platform. If you want to step on a platform, then yeah, that’s the game, right.
That is your sport. If you just want to be strong and jacked, who the fuck cares if you put a straight bar in your back is necessary? Because despite the bar, he’s a front squat. So, I think this comes back to that whole concept of people to get married to things. For some reason, I’m not entirely sure why, but for people listening who are like, yeah, I do have the shoulder pain, like what can I do to kind of help with this whole process?
One, I would stop doing all overhead movement right off the bat, like take it out immediately two is you’re going to need some input in coaching so that you can actually feel a shoulder blade moving on the ribs, because that’s another one that you mentioned, which is you see the glenoid move or see the humerus move the glenoid.
Exercises That Allow You to Feel Your Shoulder Blades
I know it, but there’s no scapular movement with it because they were probably coached or cute at one point in time to pen a shoulder blade and then like do a row or do at this when it’s like, no, no, no, no. Like, that shoulder blade needs to be free to move. That’s what we want to see. So, the first thing is to start actually being cognizant of and choosing exercises that allow you to work on feeling a shoulder blade, move on staple ribs, a seated one arm cable row, a half-kneeling, one arm, lap pulldown, things of that nature where we can slow the tempo down and actually get you, like feeling a shoulder blade, moving on ribs, because even on a horizontal row, most people suck at doing horizontal rows.
Big mistake on the horizontal row around, like once your shoulder blade stops, you’re done because you’ll see people where it’s like, OK, I row and then my shoulder blade. I literally cannot move any further. So, all that’s happening at this point, if I continue to rows, I’m just getting this like anterior glide into interior your roll. I’m just going to start pissing off a long head of the bicep. And then I think the pull-over variations are awesome.
Lay you on a floor and a three one position or hook line position gets you feeling what overhead motion feels like with ribs being where we want them. Because you hit the floor as a feedback.
I love the short seated in half, kneeling lap pulldown variations, giving you like an exaggerated eccentric, because I think that exaggerated eccentric is a great place for you to actually feel that upward rotation happening like yoga push-ups back from the days of classic performance, like yoga, push-up people to death. They work. They can be a really good option. But those are kind of some of the places where I go when I’m doing it, because I do want to work on it with people.
I want to see the fact that your shoulder blade can move because of your shoulder blades not moving like we don’t have something going on here, then you’re just playing with fire and it’s eventually going to catch up to you. So just for a longevity health trading standpoint, I want to improve it to some degree. Don’t know if you guys have any other strategies, exercises, movements, ways to approach this that you like in terms of trying to, like, reclaim, because I think it’s really more about just reclaiming the ability of a shoulder blade to move on ribs more than anything.
Like, I don’t really care about trying to get you complete full shoulder flexion. I just don’t know if it’s realistic. But I do care about getting your shoulder blade, moving on your ribs again, because once you get that, it’s like, oh, OK, here we go. Right now, I can train it higher volumes. I can drive more adaptation. That’s why we care so much about movement, movement for movement’s sake is kind of stupid.
I want you to feel good so we can train higher volume, get you more of a training effect. But yeah, we can go so opposite order this time. We’ll go meat addy back.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Yeah, I hope that sticks. I really do.
James Cerbie: You’re going to get a T-shirt in the mail.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: We still have these fantastic
Kieran Halton: Sounds like this turning into a different podcast.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Yeah. That tune in about an hour. That’s my other podcast starts, but you’re welcome. That could be your chance to call meat daddy. And onlyfan.com is that I only have one fan. It’s my mom. So that all sounds like a really good summary to me.
Understanding the Movement of the Stack
Like that is basically how I would approach it, just like starting with the first podcast. Like, I’m sure you did this intentionally. It makes sense that we started there. Like, we have to understand that dynamic of the stack first and then start getting some movement of the shoulder blade around that stack. I think that that sets you up for overhead. And I would imagine that most people completely skip that step completely, skip both of those steps, and then we see them all the time.
They go straight to overhead. And I think that I wonder and I’m curious, do you guys think like why does it get so damn bad? Why can’t we do this overhead stuff? Why is this such an issue? And I wonder if a lot of it is from how we’re taught to train in the beginning. And then we kind of get these morphological changes that take place that are really hard to undo it. It just really presents itself in the shoulder for some reason.
I don’t know, because I know that I was taught like pin everything down and like, I don’t do my scaps didn’t move for like ten fucking years.
So, I mean, yeah, forget about it. Posterior tilted, anything like that just didn’t happen for a really long time. So, I wonder if part of that, just like you just start to see structural changes because of that.
James Cerbie: I couldn’t wipe my ass off my left hand. Like literally I was so extended I had zero rotation and I played baseball in college. Just keep this in mind. I literally for over five years could not wipe my ass off my left hand because it couldn’t get there.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: So, you just kind of get a bidet. We’re here to solve problems.
Kieran Halton: That’s true.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: That’s very true. Unfortunately, not that bad. I’m not a problem anymore. In fact,
James Cerbie: I would clear the air. That’s not a problem anymore. That’s been fixed.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: That’s good. Well, I’m sure Kelsey appreciates that because at some point someone’s going to have to take care of that. So that resisted. So, I don’t know. I know I should just move forward because they started talking about wiping asses. I think we just move on to the next person because I think it’s going to go down for me. I forgot we were talking about completely so on my shoulders, but now I’m just thinking I’m thinking of Carson and his technique in, like, you know, all about Carson’s technique.
Right? He swears by the under the forward, which is insane.
And this is a guy who’s got all the shoulder mobility on the planet. But he really is. Yeah. So now that’s the only thing that’s in my head. So why don’t we move forward to somebody else like I can regain my adult self.
James Cerbie: So, one thing I will I’ll chip that on that super quick in terms of like what we’re told to do growing up, because I was the same way everything was cue to be pin. That’s what it was. Yeah. Right. And then you’re also taught, OK, we need to have quote, good posture, like stand tall, shoulders back, like this military posture. There’s like OK, well, for starters, there is no such thing as good posture.
Right. Like good posture. It’s just dynamic. Anything that doesn’t change over a period of time as bad posture. So, everybody who’s like a standing desk on your high horse, you stand for eight hours probably is bad for you sitting just saying. But yeah, in total agreement. It’s funny. I remember when I got out of college, started running into shoulder issues because my shoulder blade just didn’t move. I was in Boston, went to see performance.
This is before I interned there. I went there, got an assessment, went through like a walk through with Greg Robbins. And I remember Greg trying to coach me on a one-arm cable row. And he’s like over there, like your shoulder blade just doesn’t move. We had to spend so long on this thing like him, just like getting in there, like grabbing it, like moving it around. It’s like, do you feel this? Do you like this is what we’re looking for here?
I’m like, what do you mean? Like this is.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Yes, plenty of times, yes. So, I guess that was my question before we started talking about wiping asses like, do you guys what do you think is contributing to this have been so difficult for everybody? Do you think it would change because you guys work with kids? I’m not allowed around children. So, what do you guys think about being able to instill this stuff at a young age you think can make a difference? Or do you think we’re just kind of just environmentally and societally? If that’s a word
James Cerbie: I’ll chime in on that first, I think that if you instill it from an early age, I bet you’ll keep it. I think you like the one.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: I mean, you had at one point, right?
Instilling Overhead Exposure at a Young Age
James Cerbie: Yeah, it existed at one point and then you stopped doing it. And then over time, we have changes that take place. Like at the same time, I don’t know, like as a species. Are you really built to do things with our arms over our head? Like mechanically like you think evolutionarily. Like what would we have been doing with our arms over our head? Fruits and vegetables on a consistent basis. Yeah, like I’m reaching up to grab stuff, like maybe I’m climbing the I guess like the climbing and some of that stuff could come into that conversation.
But, yeah, I bet that if people kept doing it, like if you had a kid at an early age, you got overhead exposure to you talk these things early on, you kept giving them that input over time. But there’s no reason that they would just magically lose it. If you don’t use it, you lose it.
Kieran Halton: Yeah. You see, like the like a lot of the gymnasts, right. When they’re little, they can do whatever they want and are animals. But as they get older, get into like working and all that stuff, not using it as often, like everything is like down on and off texting or whatever. I don’t know how much that plays, but like it is interesting, right? As they get older, they definitely lose that ability which they crushed as kids or teenagers.
It’s gone pretty quickly once they stop.
Ryan Patrick: So, yeah, I think they said too much too. But I feel like the old school, like all the stuff we did. I mean, climb the ropes, get the flexed arm, hang you bare, crawl, grab off your shoulder was in so many different positions and doing so many different activities. I mean, you have to do half of those things anymore, you know. So but I mean, just do that.
James Cerbie: As far as video games that live in right here or right here.
Ryan Patrick: This might be an oversimplification.
But as far as the people that we work with who do love to train, it’s you know, I think the stronger you get, the more muscle you accumulate, the more force you have to put into the bar. I mean, your body adapts to not moving under load and just carries those adaptations beyond the session to where, you know, I’m just prepared at any time to move something heavy. And, you know, I don’t want a ton of degrees of freedom on my shoulder when I’m trying to put something over my head.
James Cerbie: I agreed. Totally agreed. Any other thoughts on this topic? Feel like we’ve done a pretty good job on this. That’s hard on a podcast, because I think there’s a decent bit of visuals that would come into this, obviously, getting with us on the training team or when we do our training camps so we can actually coach and work on this in person, we’ll make a big difference for people.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: I have one question. Yeah. All right.
So, two questions. So, like a well-done, passive shoulder flexion, I’m thinking like a lat hanging kind of posterior mediastonic expansion kind of thing. Do you guys do that with someone who doesn’t have that range of motion or you allow them to get into it with that position? That’s the first question. What do you guys think about that?
James Cerbie: I’ll lat hang them.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: It’s a lot different.
James Cerbie: Obviously, if it’s in person, that depends. So, if it’s in person, I can see it. But at the same time, like, if I’m lat hanging this person, then I actually truly like here. They’re probably a little bit more here. Yeah, I’m feeling like ribs down, staying tall with a tuck. And it’s like if they get there, I’m happy with this. And then I see that a to p expansion.
I see they’re getting posterior mediastinum to fill with air like, OK, I can live with this. I’m pretty happy with this, other people I’ve given it to and it’s like this is the train wreck. We are not going to do this because it’s a terrible option for you.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Yeah, yeah. A lot of you see the shoulder blades crunch together. Yeah. OK, so that’s kind of your Keiran. You got anything with that.
Kieran Halton: No, I mean your point though, right. Like it’s funny, like I’m a lot more comfortable even if they fuck it up. Right. You’re just like yeah whatever. Like they do feel a little bit of a stretch but it’s interesting. Right. Like you’re cool with that stuff but not necessarily like driving force through that.
So, Ryan patrick, are you’re looking at? Are they actually awkwardly rotating their stack, the appropriate amount and they’re getting some posterior expansion, still maintaining the pump handle and all that?
That’s kind of your criteria, because it seems like they can get more range when they’re passive.
Ryan Patrick: For sure I think part of it is the grip they use. So, I’m not going to hold in like a pull up grip where they’re double overhand. I’ll probably find some handles just to open it up a little bit. And then to James’s point, they’re going to kind of shift the thorax back instead of just hanging vertically. So, I mean, the main things are can they create some space between the scabs and actually pop that open with their breath, which comes to can they get that good exhale first and maintain some ab tension before the subsequent inhale?
And then I want to make sure they’re not struggling too much either, because that’s not an ideal strategy. They’re just letting it go there. They don’t have a neck, but they’ve got some. I usually put their feet. Up on something, so they’ve got a little bit support, so it’s not in there, know, it’s maybe half their body weight.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Yeah, yeah, OK. All right, cool.
James Cerbie: I actually think the angle when I think about myself are people, I have do it. I think the angle is pretty similar. It’s like a feett to wall shoulder press. I think like the shoulder angle, the degree of shoulder flexion is like really, really similar because like Ryan said, they’re not actually true here. True. One hundred eighty-degree shoulder flexion. They’re probably more like in this range, like arm to like front of the nose, maybe back a little bit because we are getting more of that posterior movement in the thorax.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Yeah, it’s funny, we like set people up in it. Go, Keiran. Was it Keiran or Ryan? I feel like Kiran’s mouth move. But Ryan made noises does go on.
Kieran Halton: I guess all that work we’ve been working on that actually the system was technologically advanced.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Sure. There whoever was going to talk and whoever wants to move their mouth is cool.
Ryan Patrick: I’ll jump in. So, one of the things I’m thinking about, but I know we’re probably on the same page with this is when it comes to do anything overhead even the unilateral or the pulling stuff is I tend to move away from a lot of the bilateral stuff and do it all one-sided. So, there’s not it’s like we’re going to jump into a barbell. So, I we’re going to jump into the pull-ups right away because there is a I mean, especially with the pulling, that’s the first place I’m going to go when I get somebody overhead just because there’s a little bit of traction on the joint instead of just compressing everything together, that may not be in an ideal position.
But even with that, there’s a they have to be able to manage the contraction of the lats with the core on the front side because they’re very powerful extensors. But at least if you do it unilaterally, they’ve got a better shot and it might drive a little rotation through the trunk, which I think can help them restore some of the mechanics. But it’s usually my first go to along with a lot of the other stuff you said, James. And then for my gym pop people, most of them still need some work on push-ups.
So, I mean, we do a lot of tempo push-ups. I think the tempo allows them to feel like their training really hard, but it lets me put them on an incline without a fight and then we’ll do six, eight, ten sets at a time and really work on the relationship between how the thorax is moving up and down in their position. And first couple of weeks, they’re going to lose the top every time, nine times out of ten.
So those are some simple starting points for for people listening that I think can really go a long way, even if you don’t have problems. Now, I think unilateral work is just a slam dunk. Save the bilateral stuff for your squad, your bench, your deadlift. Everything else, at least in my programs, are typically unilateral because I’m just trying to allocate as much volume as I can to those things. And I don’t want to chew it up on overhead and start running into more problems.
James Cerbie: Yeah, I would agree with that.
That’s I think a really important point is that the vast majority of if you want to call like an upper pull, the vast majority that I prescribe to upper pull is going to be unilateral because that is easier to control. It’s easier to manage. It’s easier to get that shoulder blade moving when you’re not trying to deal with two LAT’s that are attempting to drive you into this, like, big cross extension pattern, if we want to call it that. But then at the same time, it’s like we’ll still get like a lap pull down.
You’ll still get like a chest-supported row every now and then. It’s just out of the numbers that say like 70 to 80 percent of the pulling variations I write for, people are going to be unilateral and then twenty to thirty is going to be more like really selectively chosen bilateral pull variations as long as they’ve shown that they can actually control it. Did you have another question? Meat addy?
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Yeah. So, if we’re cool with that, then what about this shoulder band stretches and all that you guys know what I’m talking about. I like this one. We’re like, yeah, the bands. Yeah. Do that whole thing.
Like where, where does that fall. And I haven’t spent enough time to do that shit anymore. I don’t know, like I feel like it’s something maybe
James Cerbie: You talk about, like Kelly Starret back in the day a leopard.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: See I’m like the oldest twenty-nine-year-old person on the planet. So, I don’t know if people still do that stuff Ryan Patrick is out. He’s like, I’m not having this conversation this time off with I’ve got other things to do. So yeah. I just want to hear you. I just want to present that, that like because that’s a passive shoulder stretch. Right. Like that’s a different thing than what we’re talking about.
And it doesn’t have the prerequisites of the thorax being in a good position, the shoulder blades moving the way that they should and getting expansion in the right places. Do you guys agree with that?
General Population Stretches
James Cerbie: Yeah, I’m not a huge fan of passive stretching anyways, I just general like in general, I just don’t think passive stretching works. Like I’m not adding Starcom years in series. I’m not like it just comes back to managing tone to a muscle, which then dictates how you can express a range of motion.
I came up in the oh, you have tight hamstrings. Let’s stretch those suckers like I got stretched day night.
It’s just a terrible strategy. It doesn’t work. It’s going to do is essentially. Create some laxity air quotes, right, like it’s going to create some looseness someplace we probably don’t want it right. I was like everybody that was sleeper’s stretching for so long. It’s like, oh, that’s awesome. Great idea. People still do that shit. It blows my mind.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Like that whole like that’s why I still think it’s out there. Yeah.
James Cerbie: It’s 100 percent still out there. You guys heard ram one. Like they have too many people and I think I’ll watch people do that. I’m like, holy Christ, what are you people doing? This is so stupid. Like your sleeper stretching. You’re doing all this stuff. I’m like, awesome, dude. Yeah. Let’s just get a pathology in the posterior shoulder. I think just keep doing what you’re doing because then you’re probably going to come spend money on us at some point in the future.
Yeah. I mean I think stretching could be an entire podcast in and of itself. That’d be a really good one to get Lance on for, to actually he could jam on that better than the four of us can. But yeah, just as a general rule of thumb, I don’t stretch anybody because I think it’s a losing strategy, right.
Ryan Patrick: I definitely don’t fuck with the bands. I mean, I don’t need people talking themselves into my position.
I know a lot of people are kind of pooh pooh on it. I also have people use the foam roller, at least if I can get a short-term input that can change tissue stiffness and then later some other activities into it inclines. They still seem to like it. They feel loose after. And it’s just one of those battles I’m not going to fight. And the for the integrity of science of whether the foam rollers doing exactly what it’s prescribed to do or not.
But I know it results in some quick changes that as long as we support it with other activities and then the right kind of strength training, which I think of, is just cement down the range you’ve got. Things seem to shake a little bit better, but, you know, the straight-up stretching. I mean, I’ve done my job hang off the lean back from the bar and do a lot of stretch and then try to drive some air to that openside.
But yeah, that’s about the extent of it.
James Cerbie: The only two stretches, air quotes that I will ever do is the one that you just mentioned, which is like hanging back off a poster bar. But then for me, it’s like drop your opposite ribcage, rotate a little bit and I want to give you a cookie. I want to see if you can fill that. But can you fill that half of your thorax with air. So, that for me is more of a respiration drill.
The only stretchy thing I’ll do is pretty much everyone I work with gets a modified version of a couch stretch right for me.
Kieran Halton: Step over-stretching. No.
James Cerbie: So that’s the stuff, that’s the one where like your foot’s up on a bench
Kieran Halton: So, like a rectus from worst kind of stretch. Yeah.
James Cerbie: I kind of like the bottom of the Bulgarian split squat with your knee on the ground, but I’ll put a small foam roller between the heel and the ass. . And it’s like, OK, you’re going to get 30 hamstring contractions here.
Kieran Halton: And you’re also working on talking while you’re in that.
James Cerbie: Yeah, we’re getting a talk. We’re getting positions, they told us at the top of your head, OK, cool, fire your hamstring. And it’s like, yeah, we’re going to decrease quad tone that way. But it’s like I just don’t think there’s really any support in the literature unless you start, like, hanging weights off chicken wings for eight hours at a time. Yeah, I know, I mean, where you got no,
Ryan L’Ecuyer: I already did six times in.
Kieran Halton: Another one of the static stretches that I actually kind of like for a lot of gen pop and they like it.
So, we’ll leave it in there, all the trains or whatever, like the lateral line stretch only because to your point. Right. Like your kind of naturally closing off one side so you can get good and really open up and drive air through that way. So that’ kind of nice. And plus, nobody actually goes like fully overhead with it. You’re always kind of on an incline angle anyway. That’s another nice one that regular training is like tend to gravitate towards.
James Cerbie: Yeah. Because what you’re really doing is just, you’re driving a left zone of opposition to see if they can get right apical expansion. Right. And almost always the stuff comes back to airflow to a certain degree I think you’re trying to do.
Kieran Halton: You’re creating context for other drills in the future and stuff that makes a lot of sense to me. That’s not that’s time. Well, use like even if I don’t think I’m going to blow somebody’s shoulder out by, like, having to do like some band stretches or something, but it’s like I’m not doing I just don’t think I’m doing anything at all for anything.
Alright well, we just did that for five minutes now. We going to actually do something that does something because that to me, like there is a cost. Like if there’s a time component to this thing, then there is a cost. And that is important to me. Like, I don’t want to be like wasting a ton of time because we’re going to do somebody’s bicep curls program anyway. That like I mean; we’ve got to justify every minute that we’re spending on that stuff.
James Cerbie: All of it we can end on that. We’re not going to stretch because we need more time to do bicep curls.
Kieran Halton: Absolutely. That summarizes this
James Cerbie: That summarizes this entire episode. We’re going to this entire company.
Kieran Halton: Really this entire company.
James Cerbie: We’re going to hedge it on that basis and everybody you guys have an amazing week. Do you have any questions on any of this stuff? Please feel free to hit us up Instagram, come to the website, contact us. We understand this is like a big, big topic. We’ve unpacked the tip of the iceberg, if you will, in this. But I know it’s something a lot of people have questions on.
So if you have more questions, if you want to unpack this further, just shoot us a dm, shoot us an email.
We’d love to chat with you more on the stuff I realize. Have an amazing week. And yeah, we’ll be back.
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