3 Shoulder Saving Exercises

Many people have their fitness and health goals derailed by a lack of healthy shoulder function--and being able to reverse that is a priceless talent.

The prime mistake I see made, is a narrow focus. The glenohumeral joint is just one small part of healthy shoulder function, yet most people ONLY look there.

The most overlooked area? The core.

The core is maybe the most important part of healthy shoulder function. I would even go as far as to say that it is nearly impossible to have strong shoulders without a solid foundation of core strength.

This is because your body needs an anchor point to create ANY force through your joints. Your muscles are like a series of pulleys and levers. If you don't have a strong foundation to pull from you can't exert force optimally.

The center of gravity of the human body is right where the pelvis and spine meet. This is also where your core lives.

If your core is working properly, it will stabilize the pelvis and spine and create a STRONG ANCHOR for your hips and shoulders to MOVE FROM.

Here's 3 exercises that will solidify your core foundation and put you on the path to pain free cannon-ball shoulders...



This will develop the all-too-important cross-body anterior core. Remember my friend Clifton Harski told me, "Opposite Limbs lift and land lightly. Balance a yoga block on the low back to guarantee perfect technique (and make it more interesting).


Side Plank Leg Raise

This exercise is magic. Straight up. The lateral chain is so important for healthy hip and shoulder function that this is a staple in almost every exercise program I've written.

Remember to keep the neck long, shoulders-down, and keep the pelvis stationary. Add 3-way arm raises with a light weight to add some advanced variety.


Hanging Knee Raise with Squeeze

We are built to hang, so this one is a double whammy for healthy shoulders.

Hang from a bar or rings and slowly bring the knees to chest while squeezing a block between the knees or feet. I would like to see 15-20 slow and controlled reps with full range before switching to the straight legged version.



Take home: If you want to absolutely guarantee that your shoulder training is on point, add these 3 shoulder-saving core exercises to your arsenal.

Better Every Day,

To continue bulletproofing, read 5 Steps to Fixing Your Shoulders.

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7 thoughts on “3 Shoulder Saving Exercises

  • Max Shank Post author

    Hold a weight in your top hand. Reach hand overhead. Reach hand forward toward floor. Reach hand down toward hips. 3 ways. Enjoy 🙂

  • Glenn Mason

    As always Max, great information and good common sense fitness and mobility tips. Your information has seen a marked improvement in my own mobility, strength and fitness. Thank you so much, keep up the great work! Cheers, Glenn.

  • Debra Gehringer

    With regards to the side plank leg raise , you mention adding 3 way arm raises. Can you describe what these are and when doing them does the top leg remain raised while doing the 3 way arm raises ?