What do your cell phone, laptop, notebooks, and textbooks have in common? They’re all killers—killers of good posture. Hunching over to text, tweet, and take notes, rounds your shoulders forward. Your shoulder blade, the scapula, follows suit by rounding forward into a poor position. Trying to perform the athletic movements we see everyday in CrossFit with a dysfunctional scapula is asking for angry shoulders. If you want to save your shoulders and help prevent injury, try this.
Crossover Symmetry uses colored bands of various resistances to activate, strengthen, and recover your scapular stabilizers and rotator cuff (fig. 1). That means your shoulders will be ready for punishment, and you’ll experience less pain, less injury, and more progress.
The Crossover High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) system uses four protocols: Activation, Recovery, Plyometric, and Iron Scap.
Activation is exactly what it sounds like. This protocol activates scapular rotators and the rotator cuff, priming two key functions. Smooth, pain-free overhead motion requires scapular rotation (fig. 2). Activating the upper, middle, and lower trapezius (UT, MT, LT) along with the deltoids (DEL) and serrates anterior (SA) will improve overhead motion and may reduce shoulder pain. The muscles of the rotator cuff stabilize the glenohumeral joint (shoulder joint) by pulling the head of the humerus tightly into the glenoid socket of the scapula (fig. 3). Activation of these muscles improves shoulder stability and safety. Activation should be performed everyday pre-workout to keep shoulders healthy, happy, and strong.
Recovery should also be self-explanatory. This protocol focuses on eccentric contraction, lengthening the muscle under load, to realign scar tissue and increase blood flow to soft tissue. Both enhance the recovery process of the muscles and tendons in your shoulder. Perform recovery after heavy, overhead-lifting sessions.
Plyometric and Iron Scap are designed to strengthen scapular muscle fibers. The Iron Scap protocol increases muscle strength and hypertrophy. Plyometric targets fast-twitch fibers within scapular muscle to improve control and response of those fibers. Together, the two protocols improve your ability to move heavy loads quickly overhead. Both should be performed after a workout, but not on the same day.
In summary, if you want to increase your shoulder strength and functionality while reducing pain and injury rate, you should use the Crossover Symmetry protocols. Activation prepares your shoulders for healthy movement, and Recovery is best after tough shoulder days. Those two protocols alone are fantastic additions to your training regimen, but Plyometrics and Iron Scap can be added to further improve your heavy/fast shoulder movements like snatches or jerks. Crossover Symmetry has become a regularly programmed activity at CrossFit Worthy, because it takes 10 mins, and it works.