Because the shoulder is the most mobile joint in your body, it can be the most susceptible to injury when lifting weights.
Most guys lack the shoulder flexibility and functional strength they enjoyed as kids, so protecting the shoulder during lifting weights becomes even more important.
So how can you protect your shoulders on every exercise?
A technique called “shoulder locking” (aka shoulder packing) I learned from Brett Jones of StrongFirst.
If you lock your shoulder down as you lift weight, your mobile shoulder will become very stable and strong.
The video above is part of my “Exercise Form Mastery Course”, which consists of 5 videos. Because the techniques taught are so important, I included this mastery course as a bonus in both BuiltLean Transformation & BuiltLean Workout-On-Demand.
The power of learning proper form techniques allows you to confidently do any exercise with solid form after just seeing it, which helps you maximize your strength and minimize your risk of injury.
How Shoulder Locking Works
How shoulder locking works is I want you to feel like you are dropping your shoulders away from your ears as much as possible and squeezing your armpits. The lat muscle underneath your shoulder should be contracted when your shoulder is locked. You can touch your lat to make sure it’s engaged. If you are locking your shoulders properly, your lat muscle will always be engaged.
Shoulder Locking Exercise Examples
In all of these exercises, you can see the shoulder is pushed down away from the ears and the lat and core are engaged. This locked or packed shoulder position helps to integrate your body so that your movements will be stronger and more fluid.
1. Push Up Shoulder Position
2. Single Arm Row Shoulder Position
3. Forward Plank Shoulder Position
Shoulder Lock Test
You can test if you are locking your shoulders properly by lying down on the ground and extending one arm in front of you. Have a friend grab your hand and try to lift you off the ground. If your shoulder is locked, your entire torso will be stiff and will come off the ground. If your shoulder is not locked, your body will buckle and sag.
If you have very tight pecs, upper traps, you may need to loosen them up with a lacrosse ball before you workout so that you can properly align the head of your arm bone into the shoulder socket. The biceps and lat muscles may also need to be massaged as well. (See: How To Improve Shoulder Flexibility).
Anytime you are pushing or pulling a weight, always remember to lock your shoulders down and contract your lat muscle.