One of my objectives in my conditioning sessions is range of motion. An area where I am particularly lacking in this is my shoulders. They’ve been giving me a bit of trouble lately and they’ve always been tight. This shows up in increased resistance on some exercises and downright pain on others. For instance doing simple wall slides – back against the wall, hands up in the ‘stick em up’ position you slide your elbows upwards maintaining contact with the wall. Without arching your lower back. Not so hard? For me it is nigh on impossible to maintain contact almost as soon as I lift my elbows above my shoulder. Plus it aches/cramps like crazy when I try to hold them in that position. It also affects my neck and even my scapula muscles trying to do it. Suffice to say, I need to do more of them.
Anyway, one exercise that really tests ones range of motion is the overhead squat.
This really tests shoulder flexibility and lower back and my upper back. I have only down these with a broomstick previously and it’s very easy to cheat (I bring the stick forward so it’s no longer over my hips). Today I did 3 sets of 10 reps with the 20kg bar. Wow!! So not easy. I couldn’t squat all the way to the floor while maintaining the bar directly overhead and just holding it overheard while in the semi-squat I did manage to achieve was incredibly difficult. Not heavy per se, just really, really difficult. Now obviously 30 reps of 20kgs is not going to test one’s quads, but it was certainly tough.
There’s a principle I’ve heard about some aspects of Chinese medicine – ‘if it hurts, it’s good for you’. For instance a deep massage on a knotted muscle. Hurts like hell, but you know it’s good for you. Seems like many things in life are like that. Overhead squats are my latest example. And here;s the kicker. Tony has suggested that I perform 3 sets of 10 EVERY SESSION!!! Well, I guess I’d better learn to love em quick smart.