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Shoulder Mobility and Your Pecs

Jan 08, 2023

Climbing is a sport about movement, and movement happens in three planes of motion. We already talked about this in our previous blogs. But as a little refresher, please check the details below. 

  • Sagittal Plane - a movement forward and backward
  • Coronal Plane - a movement from side to side
  • Transverse Plane - a movement of twisting or rotation

Anytime I choose an exercise or give you any kind of guidance, I always start with what is the most authentic to climbing. Then, I work backwards to see if it's going to help with climbing. 

The Three Planes of Motion

You can use a stretching cage if you have one, but you can make use of a door frame if you’re at home. Both work exactly the same with this exercise. The first thing you’re going to do is put your arms a little bit high and use the rest of your body to move into three planes of motion. 

  • Start with the sagittal plane. Move forward, and feel that stretch in both of the pecs. You can do this in three sets of five. 
  • In the coronal plane,  you're going to lean in to feel that stretch in the pecs, and then move side to side. 
  • Lastly, in the transverse plane, with your current position, do some rotations on both left and right sides. 

This is a way to stretch both your pecs simultaneously. The next way will describe how to stretch your pecs individually in a climbing-specific manner.

Pec Stretch With One Arm

Just like in climbing, you're going to hold on to something, and then you have to step through to the next foothold. So in this exercise, hold on to something, reach a foothold, and twist through. The lengthening that you can feel in your pec needs to be there, otherwise, you’re going to lose your center of gravity. But, if it’s tight, you might be pushed off the wall because of the lack of mobility, and you're going to lose your balance. 

Then, with your arm, it goes low, medium, and high. So you’re going to step through at a diagonal with the same leg. If you’re stretching your right pec, you have to step with your right leg at a 45-degree angle.

You’re going to step through with your arm at a low position and feel a little bit of the stretch there. Do the same thing with your arm at medium and feel a little bit more stretched. Then, step through again with your arm at high and feel the stretch the most.

Here’s an important thing to remember. When you’re doing this exercise in the low and medium positions, your shoulder usually sits in a good position. However, when doing this exercise in a high position, sometimes people have a tendency to “hike” their shoulders up and hold the tension there. Be careful not to “hike” up your shoulders with this exercise.

Moreover, it’s fine when you do stretching. But remember, we're always trying to get as close and authentic to climbing as possible. So that when you climb, it transfers over. There are different moves you could do to emulate the movement of climbing. That is, in fact, the whole point of doing this exercise. 

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