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Old 03-29-2006, 02:13 PM   #1
Joseph Hart
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I just got done reading the Active shoulder article in CFJ 37 and the Body Awareness article by Roger. What is the active shoulder for pullups and rowing? There are pictures in the CFJ and the overhead pressing and dips seem easy enough to understand, but I am not getting the others. For pullups and rowing should the shoulders be in the ears or pulled down?

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Joe
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Old 03-29-2006, 02:49 PM   #2
Garrett Smith
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Joseph,
I believe the basic concept of the "active shoulder" is to do the opposite of what the resistance is trying to do to your shoulder if you relaxed it. It's not just an up and down thing, it's also a forward-protracted/backward-retracted thing.

Handstands, overhead presses--shoulders to ears.
Dips, pullups--shoulders depressed.
Rowing--shoulders (scapulae) retracted.
Pushups--shoulders (scapulae) protracted.
DLs--shoulders retracted and depressed.

To see what an active shoulder is in any exercise (be smart and careful with this, don't be dumb and blame me!), just get in position and play with relaxing the shoulder girdle, then move your shoulders in the opposite direction that they went when you relaxed them. That's the active shoulder for that exercise.

Note that someone (Tyler Hass, I believe) on the forum tried utilizing a non-active shoulder (on purpose, to see what would happen) on a handstand and it didn't end up well. So learn from that.

Now, on this subject, I do know that PLers retract their scapulae during the bench press. I imagine that this is only possible and desirable d/t the bench being there and the restricted ROM. If someone was free-standing and doing a press away from their body in a similar plane as the bench press (for an easy example, on the Hammer Jammer http://us.commercial.lifefitness.com/content.cfm/jammer), I would assume that they would be stronger and safer with an active (protracted) shoulder girdle.

Some others, like Scott Sonnon, appear to think that the shoulder should always be retracted and depressed (the "closed packed" position), even on overhead exercises. At least that's what I've seen from his work, I could be wrong. After my own experimentation, I don't believe he is correct.

Any other comments on Joe's question or my interpretation of the active shoulder are welcome...
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