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advanced mobility exercise with strength training

Shoulder Controlled Articular Rotations (CARs): How To Improve In 5 Steps

The Shoulder CAR (Controlled Articular Rotation) is an expression of what your shoulder is capable of. It is the gold standard of assessment and tells us a ton about what exercises are optimal for you. This blog post will show you how to assess and improve your Shoulder CAR with clear actionable steps.

1. Assess Your Shoulder CARs (Controlled Articular Rotations)

It’s crucial to establish an objective baseline. How else will you know if you made progress?

We can do this with shoulder internal and external rotation.

Take a screenshot from the side. This can also be filmed standing or face down on a table.

In addition to getting video and pictures of your active rotation, you should also video your Shoulder CAR, especially from the front and side.

Look to see where you are compensating or using other joints like the spine or wrist to fake your range of motion at the shoulder.

2. Use the Breathing Cheat Code

I really wish someone would have told me to learn how to improve my breathing a long time ago.

It’s incredible how many different ways breathing well can affect your life.

Luckily I did learn this lesson and that’s why breathing is a full chapter in our course Mobility Coach Plus and something have an entire playlist for the Elite Video Membership.

This video will take you through a breathing drill to improve shoulder flexion or reaching overhead. It is paramount that you learn to recognize when you are flaring your ribs in the front to get overhead. This exercise should shed a lot of light on exactly that.



3. Challenge Your End Ranges 

how the shoulder moves to improve shoulder mobility

Kinstretch does a great job of exposing the joints that never get trained at your end range. Once you do a Shoulder CAR you start to realize how rarely your shoulder gets into these positions with traditional exercise.

By training in these positions, we are increasing our ability to produce and absorb force.

You can think about this as increasing your shoulders capacity to be a shoulder.

Try our Shoulder Kinsretch Class to explore your shoulder mobility from different angles. 

4. Load Your Shoulder CAR

One of the common mistakes we see with mobility training is never adding external load. 

Once we have gained a baseline capacity at that joint we need to increase the load to ensure you continue to evolve.

This doesn’t mean grab a heavy barbell for a Shoulder CAR. Start by using a light load such as a 1 lb wrist weight. 

You know the pink and purple 2 and 3 lb dumbbells on the rack in the corner of your group fitness studio? Yeah those lil babies have the ability to crush your soul when implemented properly.

Once you are confident with your Shoulder CAR unloaded take the hot pink 1 lb dumbbell for a ride and report back.

In addition to loading our Shoulder CAR we like to use the classic armbar with some loaded shoulder rotations. It important you are able to breathe in this one with a relaxed inhale expanding the ribcage.


5. Strength Train in Current Capacities

Oftentimes people think if they work on their mobility then they need to stop all lifting or traditional strength training. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The key is programming intelligently so that you are training in the ranges of motion that you have available.

In other words, you just need to pick the right exercises for YOU.

Now if you don’t have great shoulder flexion we gave you some stuff to work on it. And if your shoulder flexion is lacking but you still want some boulders then we got you fam. Enter the landmine press where we can train the shoulder without having to fully get overhead.


We love the Landmine Step to Press for people that might have limited shoulder mobility.



Shoulder mobility is a huge roadblock for so many people when it comes to achieving their fitness goals. Use this guide to start rolling through those roadblocks with confidence.


Please join our free Facebook group for the Elite Video Membership and let us know how the above went. 

Take your first class free with our Elite Video Membership and 3-Day Trial.

If you would like to have an individualized program you can train with Ian

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