Common Weakest Links of the Shoulders Among Climbers – Part 2

Natalie Snyder PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS

Female Athlete Specialist

July 15, 2021

Hey climbers!

            Did you read in the previous blog post about the common weakest links of the climbers’ shoulders?  Did it get you thinking about how your shoulders look when you climb, perform push-ups, reach overhead, or simply its posture when you’re standing? 

            It is NOT necessary to train ALL 18 muscles of the shoulder.  We train what is weak. Those common weakest links are what holds your scapula back, flat against the ribcage, and holds the humeral head centrally onto the scapular plate (the glenoid). 

Both the hip and shoulder joints are ball-and-socket, to allow us a wide range and degree of freedom to move the entire leg or arm anywhere.  Unlike the hip joint, the shoulder joint is not ball-and-socket, but almost like a golf ball on a pin.  It’s so shallow!  It’s barely touching!  So, we have labrum (a suction cup to deepen the joint) and ligaments and muscles to hold the arm up next to its “pin”.  See picture below. 

            It’s the posterior external rotators and scapular retractors that we need to focus on to improve our scapular movement and stability while the arm can move, pull, push, and swing in the space.  Strength and stability come first.  Then skills come second.  Followed by power and performance last.

            The shoulder joint is both brilliant yet a stupid joint.  We can train it smarter.

            I love the shoulder joint.  It’s complex, very trainable, and makes me think harder.

I’m proud to be aspiring to becoming a shoulder specialist.


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