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functional upper body workout phase 2

by Monica

Here's phase two of the functional upper body workout. You are ready to progress to this workout when you can see (it's visible in a mirror or pic) that your shoulders and neck are back in alignment with the rest of your body.

You should be able to accomplish good alignment with 2-3 weeks of functional upper body workout phase 1 especially if you are combining those functional exercises with foam rolling, flow yoga, and flexibility exercises that bring the body back into alignment.

Functional Upper Body Workout Phase 2 Instructions: Perform 50 seconds of each exercise with 10 seconds rest between exercises and repeat the circuit two more times. You can also try 12-15 reps of each with 5 seconds rest between exercises and repeat 2 more times.

Resistance band scapular retraction - keep your arms as straight as possible as you contract the shoulder blades back (as you can see in the video this exercise is very challenging for me). If this exercise is too hard with a band stand facing a wall with arms straight and fingertips touching the wall and practice retraction so the fingertips come away from the wall and arms stay straight.

Resistance band straight arm pulldown - bend slightly at the knees, keep chin up and only contract the abs as you pull the band down with arms straight

Stability ball scapular retraction pushup - keep thighs on the ball and squeeze the shoulder blades together and bend elbows back so the chest naturally sinks towards the floor. Use the core and back muscles to push up and avoid rolling the ball back and forth. Remember that this is a postural correction exercise not a chest or arm exercise.

Stability ball alternating dumbbell presses - use the core to stabilize and try not to bounce or roll the ball and keep the hips up and knees bent at 90 degrees.

Resistance band bow and arrow - bend the elbow and squeeze the shoulder blade as you rotate into a warrior stance. Keep the hand close to the chest (practice without the band if necessary). Draw the abs in as you rotate and release as you extend the arm back to starting and keep the knees slightly bent and hips relaxed. Your back foot should be pivoting with every rep.

Rope climbs (optional) - from a sitting position use your upper back muscles to climb up to standing by squeezing the shoulder blades every time you pull yourself up. This is a fun exercise and a great way to practice

Workout Tips: Remember that this workout is all about improving shoulder stability and integrating that into full body movement. Phase 1 of the series was more about isolation and phase 2 is all about integration (coordinating shoulder function with core function) so remember to draw in the deep abdominals (TVA) as you pull or push. Your TVA should be helping to stabilize the shoulder and the entire body as you are moving through the hardest part of the exercise.

A red resistance band works for most people but if you are very strong a blue one might work better. A green band is ideal for those who have trouble coordinating shoulder and core movement.

Got questions or need more modifications? Please post them below. I'll be posting more functional and flexibility workouts later this week.

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