I want to show you guys a fantastic exercise that kills about 14 birds with 3 stones. It’s called Kickstand Scapular Row Circles.
What it improves:
-Strength of the scapular retractors through full scapulothoracic motion (shoulder blade gliding on your ribcage)
-Core coordination cross body from upper to lower (this is important because your body is built like a giant X so the left arm and right leg are connected through the middle).
-Hip hinge and glute medius activation
How to categorize it:
It can be categorized as a mobility/core drill along with an upper pulling component. If you do this as a superset with rows, it will be even more upper body pulling dominant. If you are following the Ultimate Athleticism program template, pair it with a lower push.
How to do it:
1. Grab a kettlebell or dumbbell you can easily row for 10-15. You want to be able to control the weight through the full range. If you have trouble, go lighter. If you still have trouble, you may need to do some scapular circles with no resistance first.
2. Assume a bent over row position (hip hinge or deadlift position). Bring the same side leg (as the weight) back a step. Keep 90% of your weight on the front leg, making your back leg your kickstand.
3. Perform controlled scapular circles for 10 reps. Reverse the direction of your circles.
4. Do this as a warm up, as a mobility drill spliced with your strength work, or incorporate it with some rows as an upper pull. Try it in a single leg stance if you want to really test your balance and that glute on the standing leg.
In the video I am holding with the right arm and standing on the left which is what gives you that excellent training effect for the sling systems. These muscles work together to provide stability between the hips/pelvis/core/shoulders. If they don’t–you’re gonna have a bad time.
For a more in-depth understanding of these sling systems Anatomy Trains is a great resource:
Anatomy Trains: Myofascial Meridians for Manual and Movement Therapists, 3e
The ability to control scapular movements is a REQUIREMENT for having a healthy shoulder. If your scapula does not move properly, your ball and socket joint (glenohumeral joint) will try to compensate; because it is so mobile and vulnerable you’ll be more likely to have injury and pain. For more details and a structured path to healthy shoulders, grab a copy of Simple Shoulder Solution–it covers Scapular movements in addition to Neck, Thoracic, Core, Glenohumeral, & more.
Better every day,