6 Steps To Even Shoulders, Hips & PR's

Last week we broke down the 3 basic types of postural issues that face most people in this article here. It can be helpful to think of your trunk and your spine as the roots of a tree, and your arms & legs as the trees growing out of them. If the roots of the tree are not properly in place than the stability of the tree’s will be compromised.

If you are dealing with a postural issue, you will likely deal with chronic issues at the shoulder, hips, knees, ankles, or all of the above. This is because when things are out of position at the center you will struggle to move well under load and have pain at the distal joints.

If you're reading this I am assuming you are an athlete (athlete being someone who works out with the purpose of improving their ability to perform various tasks). Every athlete I know wants to get better in some way. Normally the desire is having faster times and to lift heavier weights. The better your posture is the quicker your times and heavier the weights can be. Fixing your posture (even partially) might be the quickest way to hit massive PR’s in training or competition.

Last time we talked about the alignment of the spine from front to back (a very basic look at posture) and now we are going to move deeper into the aspect of posture. This would be the hips and shoulders. Everyone has looked at there posture in terms of anterior vs posterior issues. But If 1000 people took the postural assessment video I can guarantee at least 700 people noticed that one hip and/or shoulder was higher than its counterpart.

Uneven hips & shoulders can be incredibly detrimental to movement and to enjoyment of training. One of my lifters came to me with truly horrific posture, but we worked tirelessly to fix it and the results have provided a night and day difference. But life is an ever evolving process and the because sometimes life gets in the way, he had not performed his preventative measures for a week and his shoulders went haywire. This is a video of what it did to help fix his issue and his snatches. The video is only 30 seconds so don't worry we won't bore you to death. 

This is a small example of how uneven shoulders can cause issue when training. Hips can do the same thing when squatting or pulling. The difference in the height of the hips can cause a unique rotational force on the body and lead to ankle, knee, hip, or spinal injuries. One of the most common being SI joint issues.

Hips and shoulders can be pulled out of line by a variety of things, most common being overly tight muscles. Sitting in a specific position, like police officers do in their cruisers will cause their hip on the gun side to be twisted and tighter because they sit to avoid the gun from constantly poking into them. This is just one example but people do it all of the time with wallets, and many other things they might keep in their pockets while sitting. Often uneven hips is misdiagnosed by athletic trainers or doctors as one leg being longer or shorter than the other. This is an accurate assessment of the result but not the cause. Thus, this will not lead to a fix for the issue.  

Okay all of the wordy bits are out of the way. Here is the step by step process of what we can do to identify & fix the hips and shoulder.

Step 1: Postural Assessment Video. What you need to do is watch the video I have hyperlinked to. Set up your own phone and mimic it. (make sure the camera is directly in front of you because otherwise it becomes very hard to see your posture). To ensure that we can use the later screenshots for their purpose make sure your shorts or pants are touching the same point on both sides of your hips.

Step 2: Screen shot the video at all 4 points. Your screenshots should look like this.

Male Screen Shots

Female Screen Shots

IMG_1548.PNG
IMG_1550.PNG

Step 3: Compare your positions to those of the archetypal postural issues shown below.

 Extension Bias

Extension Bias

 Flexion Bias

Flexion Bias

 Sway Posture

Sway Posture

Step 4: If you did this last week you can skip this step and move to 5. If not you need to identify which postural issue you most identify with. (If you are not sure you can email me and I will let you know what I see). This is done with the screen shots from the sides.

Step 5: Compare your screen shots from the front and back to the pictures below here to determine what is uneven (hips, shoulders, or both). This is fairly easy to see, again if your having trouble identifying what it is your dealing with feel free to email me at Derek@ironprescription.com.

Step 6: We break up the plans below by both flexion, extension, or sway + uneven hips, shoulders, or both. So it is very important that you pick the most applicable one to your situation and move from there. The hyperlinked videos that fall under your specific postural issue each day for the next month, you can thank me later. I have writen in how long each smash should be done for and how many repetitions on the breathing and positioning work should be done.

Extension Bias + Uneven Hips

  1. SMR

    1. QL Release x 3 min per side (make sure to pay special attention to the higher side)

    2. Erector Release x 3 min total.

    3. Joystick Adductor Release x 3 min per side

  2. Breathing

    1. 90/90 w/ Reach x 10 (make sure you can’t push in the the outer edges of your stomach on your exhales)

  3. Movements

    1. Cat & Camel x 8 reps

    2. Standing Lean & Reach x 5 each side

    3. Thread The Needle x 5 each side

  4. Stabilization

    1. QL Butt Walks x 2x15 each side

    2. Dead Bug 2x10 each side

Extension Bias + Uneven Shoulders

  1. SMR

    1. Levator Release x 3 min total

    2. Scaline Release x 3 min per side

    3. Erector Release x 3 per side

  2. Breathing

    1. 90/90 w/ Arm Overhead x 10 Breaths

  3. Movements

    1. Cat & Camel x 8

    2. Standing Lean & Reach x 5 each side

    3. Spiderman w/ Dip x 5 each side

  4. Stabilization

    1. Serratus Activator x 2x10

    2. Weighted Windmill x 2x8 each side

Extension Bias + Uneven Hips & Shoulders

  1. SMR

    1. QL Release x 3 min per side (make sure to pay special attention to the higher side)

    2. Joystick Adductor Release x 3 min per side

    3. Levator Release x 3 min total

    4. Scaline Release x 3 min per side

  2. Breathing

    1. 90/90 w/ Arm Overhead x 10 Breaths

  3. Movements

    1. Cat & Camel x 8

    2. Spiderman w/ Dip x 8 each side

    3. Standing Lean & Reach x 5 each side

    4. Side Lying Thoracic Opener x 5 each side

  4. Stabilization

    1. Serratus Activator x 2x10  

    2. QL Butt Walks x 2x15 each side

    3. Quadruped Squat x 2x10

    4. Weighted Windmill x 2x8 each side

For the purpose of this article when we talk about uneven hips and shoulders we will group flexion bias and sway posture as the same.

Flexion or Sway + Uneven Hips

  1. SMR

    1. Pec Release x 3 min per side

    2. Lat Release x 3 min per side

    3. QL Release x3 min per side

  2. Breathing

    1. Prone Breathing x 15 Breaths

  3. Movements

    1. Side Lying Thoracic Opener x 5 each side

    2. Spiderman w/ Rotation x 5 each side

    3. Standing Lean & Reach x 5 each side

  4. Stabilization

    1. QL Butt Walks x 2x15 each side

    2. Cook Squat x 2x5 each arm first

Flexion Bias + Uneven Shoulders

  1. SMR

    1. Pec Release x 3 min per side

    2. Lat Release x 3 min per side

    3. Scaline Release x 3 min per side

    4. Erector Release x 3 per side

  2. Breathing

    1. 90/90 w/ Reach x 10 Breaths

  3. Movement

    1. Quadruped External Rotation x 5 each side

    2. Spiderman w/ Rotation x 5 each side

    3. Standing Lean & Reach x 5 each side

  4. Stabiliation

    1. Serratus Activator x 2x10

    2. DB Z Press 2x10

Flexion Bias + Uneven Hips & Shoulders

  1. SMR

    1. QL Release x3 min per side

    2. Joystick Adductor Release x 3 min per side

    3. Scaline Release x 3 min per side

    4. Erector Release x 3 per side

  2. Breathing

    1. 90/90 w/ Arm Overhead x 10 Breaths

  3. Movement

    1. Quadruped External Rotation x 5 each side

    2. Spiderman w/ Rotation x 5 each side

    3. Standing Lean & Reach x 5 each side

    4. Side Lying Thoracic Opener x 5 each side

  4. Stabilization

    1. Serratus Activator x 2x10  

    2. DB Z Press 2x10

    3. QL Butt Walks x 2x15 each side

    4. Cook Squat x 2x5 each arm first

 

Want to share your questions or progress? Feel free to share in the comments below! Are you interested in the full package? Click here to get your own PERSONALIZED version of The IronSpine to take back your posture and eliminate pain.