The Kettlebell Arm Bar for Bulletproof Shoulders

I'm proof that having mobile shoulders is a gift and a curse.  It's allowed me pitch at a high level, press my body weight overhead (for reps), and apply sunscreen to any part of my back without asking for help.

 If Orangutans could deadlift, they would be monsters (in a good way)

If Orangutans could deadlift, they would be monsters (in a good way)

But if you ask my college roommate, he'll beg to differ at how effectively I can do that last part under the intense Aruban sun.

Besides the benefits of having Orangutan-like arms, there are plenty of downsides.  Chiefly, the neck and elbow pain I've experienced along the way.

Wait a second, how are neck and elbow pain connected to our shoulders?  Because our bodies are more than the sum of their parts, and what occurs at one joint will immediately impact the joints next door.

My favorite exercise to remedy these problems - and to build stronger and more resilient shoulders -  is the kettlebell arm bar. Why do I love it so dang much?  Because it's as great for people that are super tight as it is for someone like me, who is pretty lax. Here's a quick explanation and I'll say a bit more after the break:

I know, I know.  I'm amazing on video. (Yes, that's italicized sarcasm)

One point I forgot to mention is that we want to keep our ribs "tucked in" the entire time we're performing an arm bar.  Keeping our ribs tucked and our abs "on" will help us activate our serratus anterior as it's a key muscle that controls our shoulder blade.  When we activate our serratus we'll have more stability in our shoulder blades, leading to better health of the joints around it.

Is there anyone that shouldn't perform this exercise?  Yes.  For some people, just having the bell in their hand tends to bug their wrist or forearm.  If that's the case, the arm bar is just too advanced of an exercise.  Otherwise, have at it and just make sure to watch your face when there's a weight over your head. :)