Over my 10 years of driving a truck for work, my neck, upper back, and shoulders have steadily gotten tighter and tighter. It’s become so tight in the past year that it even interferes with my breathing from time to time. I’ve put it off for too long. Let’s be honest… I’ve been lazy. It’s time to do something about it.This morning I decided that I was going to start an “intensive” rehab program. The guidelines are simple. The exercises have to be convenient. If I have to go too far to do the exercises or I need too much equipment, it won’t happen often enough to be useful.
I decided on two simple exercises to work my shoulders through a range of motion I don’t use often enough. Why my shoulders? Because my neck is directly connected to my upper back and shoulders. If my shoulders are tight, it will very much affect my neck. If I improve the range of motion in my shoulders, it will loosen my neck. If I focus on just my neck, I will basically never get to the root of the problem and my neck will only ever loosen up temporarily.
So… the two exercises I picked are an overhead press and an upright row. Funny story about these two exercises. I was a competitive swimmer for years growing up and I was never allowed to do either of these exercises. I was always told these exercises would damage my shoulders, which were already trashed from swimming. Maybe not doing them is the real root of my shoulder issues!
I have a fairly light weight plate that I usually use for rucking, about 35 lbs, I keep in the apartment that I’ll be using for both of these exercises. The point of these exercises isn’t to lift really heavy and build a lot of muscle. My goal is be able to do these exercises multiple times a day for multiple sets. The more often I can do them, the faster I will improve my range of motion.
I want to do 3 sets of 8-12 reps 2 to 3 times a day. I don’t want to do these exercises until failure. I don’t want to make myself sore. I don’t want these exercises to affect my ability to go about my normal day. What I want is for my body to get used to performing activity again around and above my head.
I need my shoulders to improve at pushing things overhead and pulling objects up toward my face again. I lost this range of motion because I rarely do this any more. I’ve done it twice today, and I’ve already noticed an improvement. I love stretching, but I don’t think it affects enough change by itself. I feel that stretching needs some resistance training as well to really affect change. So I’m going to do these exercises regularly and get back to some normal neck and shoulder function!