At a recent class I had a student complaining of shoulder pain. It got so bad he sat out the final day of training to recuperate.
I see this more and more these days in classes, terrible range of motion or mobility. Most ailments are beyond the scope of this article and my knowledge, but there is plenty to help improve your condition. The common complaint has to do with an overdeveloped chest region and or underdeveloped shoulder region. When these are combined it compounds the issue making it difficult to be pain free, much less enjoy the class. Our programs have a high volume of fire, regardless of your belief quality will always trump quantity. When you merry up quality with quantity it creates an excellent opportunity for growth unless it produces an injury or aggravates an pre-existing condition.
The wrists and your grip
I recommend students start in the morning before class with a little range of motion work. Target the general areas used in shooting, then a little full body work after class. I start by doing wrist rolls to get the blood moving. It feels great to loosen up this region and I give my self about 30-60 seconds each direction. Then I use a flat surface such as desk for the next activity. I place my palms face down and gently lean forward and back for about 10 reps then side to side for 10 reps. I repeat with my palms facing up; which works great for my existing wrist injuries. I finish with some 2-3 second isometric wrist extensions. Once you have these movements figured out, it shouldn’t take more than five to ten minutes.
Shoulders for power
I then work shoulder mobility. I spend a lot of time here because of previous injuries. Again, many have an imbalance between their frontal and rear region. The imbalance is another subject, but trying to open up the tight regions is a good place to start. I find a doorway to use and bend my arm at a 90 degree angle as I rest it against the door frame. Lean forward slightly and hold for 2-3 seconds then repeat on the other side. Next, I step through the doorway and place my palm on the door frame. Slightly twist away at the waist and hold for 2-3 seconds. Repeat on the other side. I finish by placing my hands against a wall at shoulder height with my feet about 20-30 inches back from the wall. I let gravity pull my chest downward and hold for about 2-3 seconds. You can repeat each of these drills as many times as comfortable and safe. The important consideration is never push past pain, to slowly and gently use these movements. Gradually increase the hold time, repetitions or sets if you are seeing positive results and stop immediately if you experience pain or negative results.
I want each student’s experience to be the best possible. Regardless of age or flexibility getting the body ready for the demands you will put it through is good practice.