Training your shoulders can be a tricky business. The joints can be delicate, especially if you’ve injured them before—so you need to make sure to prep properly before you jump into the heavy weights.
Men’s Health/Eric Rosati
Trainer Charlee Atkins, C.S.C.S., uses this movement, the PAR-CAR (partial shoulder controlled articulation), to mobilize her shoulders.
“I loving combining the different areas of training,” says Atkins. “This [movement] combines shoulder extension with shoulder rotation in a controlled exercise.”
One of the main reasons the exercise is so effective is that it is easily adaptable for those with physical limitations. If you’ve been lifting for a long time, you’re bound to run into some shoulder soreness sooner or later—and if you haven’t, it pays to take preventative measures before any problems develop.
“If you have shoulder issues or your mobility is limited, change the angle at which you extend the arm up (meaning there will be more space between your arm and your ear),” advises Atkins. “The movement is that of an ‘arc,’ so make sure you’re staying in our line of mobility.”
To perform the PAR-CAR, you’ll need a set of dumbbells. This is a movement that should never be done with a heavy weight—so keep anything above a 10-pounder on the rack. If you need a set of dumbbells to do this at home, check out this option from Bowflex.
If your shoulders are particularly overtaxed, Atkins recommends dropping the dumbbells and just going through the movement. “If you have any shoulder issues, I recommend first trying without weights,” she says. “You can do this as a warm-up without weights called a Shoulder CAR (controlled articulation).”
Add this at the start or end of your shoulder workouts with 3 sets of 8 reps. Want to learn more moves from Atkins? Check out our series full of her workout tips, Try Her Move.
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