Strength in Conditioning for Thursday, Decemerb
The ‘W’ exercise involves a combination of three motions that place the arms in a ending position that looks like a ‘W’ from behind. This great shoulder exercise is sometimes referred to as the ‘no money’ drill because it places the arms in a, “Hey don’t look at me – I don’t have your money” position.
The ‘W’ Exercise is a combination of scapular retraction and posterior tilt as the arms externally rotate.
The arms start out in front with the forearms parallel to the thighs – if you hold your arms out in front the elbows are bent to ninety degrees and the wrists will be inline with the knees. It is important to keep the neck neutral (chin tucked) and maintain thoracic extension (chest forward). As you perform the three combined motions (see instructions 1-3) the forearms will move out to the sides (external rotation) as the scapular posteriorly tilts and retracts.
Scapular Retraction & Posterior Tilt
Retraction involves drawing the scapula in towards the spine. Posterior tilt sets the scapula flat on the ribcage. If you round your shoulders forward you can feel the bottom part of the shoulder blade stick out away from the ribcage (winging) as it anteriorly tilts into a bad position. If you visualize the scapula as an upside down triangle, posterior tilt involves driving the bottom ‘pointy’ part forward so it lays flat on the ribcage.
The graphic below shows good retraction and posterior tilt of the scapula – as the shoulder blade rests flush against the ribcage. The illustration on the right shows an anteriorly tilted shoulder blade that is also restricting shoulder flexion.
External Rotation of the Arms
External rotation in this position involves moving the forearms out to the side. It is important to not try to pull the band apart, but to drive the movement from the shoulder blade in coordination with the external rotation of the arms. Good external rotation of the shoulders is important for pressing overhead and the overhead squat.
Strengthening the Lower Trapezius
While it is important to include a variety of exercises to enhance scapular stability Mike Reinold points out that the ‘W’ exercise is one of the best exercises to balance lower and upper trapezius strength.
“In the opinion of the authors, poor posture and muscle imbalance often seen in patients with a variety of shoulder pathologies is often the result of poor muscle balance between the upper and lower trapezius, with the upper trapezius being more dominant. McCabe et al report that bilateral ER at 0° abduction resulted in the greatest lower trapezius-upper trapezius ratio compared to several other similar trapezius exercises.”
Mike Reinold: The Shoulder W Exercise (link)
Mike Reinold: Two Exercises You Need in Every Program (link)
Tony Gentilcore: EXERCISES YOU SHOULD BE DOING: NO-MONEY DRILL (link)
Current Concepts in the Scientific and Clinical Rationale Behind Exercises for Glenohumeral and Scapulothoracic Musculature
5 Tempo Pushup 40×1
5 Tempe Pull Up 40×1
5 Tempo Dip 40×1
45 Second Rest
10 Double KBor DB Walking Lunges
2-10 Strict Sit Ups
Walk Indoor Lap
FITNESS & SPORT: Front Rack
LIFE: Hold Weight by Side
100 Calorie Row for Time