Top 5 Shoulder Strengthening Exercises

Do you recall how your upper body felt after your first few aerial classes?


Possibly your hands were so tired you weren't sure how you were going to hold the steering wheel to drive home? Maybe you had a difficult time putting your hair in a pony tail? Or, you had to ask for help to grab something off the top shelf because your arms were so sore?


Yep, aerial is intense!


It makes us super sore ... then we get hooked and keep coming back for more!


Most aerial skills require strength in a pulling action which many aren't initially accustomed to - hence why the soreness can be so intense!


It's important for the overall health and strength of our shoulders to incorporate both PULLING and PUSHING actions in our training.


In this technique tip, my handstand coach Hayley offers shoulder strengthening exercises in a pushing action - something we tend to neglect as aerialists.


If handstands are something you're curious about - specifically how to do a press handstand (which was a goal of mine for years before I began training with Hayley) then you're in for a treat!


Hayley breaks down her top 5 favorite shoulder exercises to strengthen the 'pushing' action in your handstands! See the video and descriptions below for a breakdown of the exercises.



#1 Shoulder Shrugs in Plank In a plank position, align shoulders over your wrists. Push up in between your shoulder blades and slowly control down. Complete 2 sets of 10.

#2 Elevated Shoulder Shifting in Plank Position In a plank position with feet elevated on a chair or small stool - align your shoulders over your wrists. Shift shoulders forward past wrists keeping your core engaged and actively press away from the floor. Shift your shoulders forward and back 10x. Hold shoulders past your hands for 10 counts to finish.

#3 Yoga Block Hinges On your hands and knees in a puppy pose, press palms into the yoga block and extend arms to straight. Keeping elbows down and parallel, lift the yoga block up behind your head and down. This increases both strength and mobility of the shoulder. Do your best to not allow your elbows to splay out. Complete 10 hinges. #4 Yoga Block Squeeze Stand tall with hands pressing into the yoga block at hip level. Hold for 10 counts.

Lift the block squeezing inwards to shoulder level, engage abs and pull front ribs in. Hold for 10 counts.

Lastly lift the block overhead, pressing hands inwards, allow shoulders to push up toward ears(as if you're in a handstand) keep abs engaged and ribs pulled inwards to maintain a hollow body shape. Hold for 10 counts. Repeat 3 sets.

#5 Shoulder Shrugs in Handstand on Wall Place hands shoulder width down on the ground. Slowly with control, walk your legs up to handstand on the wall. If comfortable you can walk the hands into the wall so that your chest is touching. Push up through the shoulders towards your ears, keeping your elbows straight and control down. Complete 10 shoulder shrugs and exit carefully by walking hands forward or cartwheel out to the side.


Interested in learning more about handstands?

Click here to grab your free Press Handstand Guide!

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