Shoulder Strength Training With Gary Calcagno
Having strong and mobile shoulders is important for any athlete but especially for athletes in such high intensity contact and combat sports like wrestling. Having strong shoulders will help you in your techniques helping you land takedowns and defend against your opponents. That’s not all that having strong shoulders will do, as having strong and mobile shoulders will help prevent shoulder injuries. This means that you are less likely to have shoulder dislocations, rotator cuff tears and all the other kinds of catastrophic shoulder injuries.
Having strong shoulders will also help prevent minor injuries and general shoulder pain and tightness, which is always a good thing. The exercises that you are about to see are also good for strengthening posture in everyday life and not just in wrestling, which is also a good thing and also helps prevent injuries and pain caused by rounded shoulders.
In this video, Coach Gary Calcagno goes over a deltoid (shoulder muscles) training superset that he uses on the wrestlers that he works with. Gary Calcagno is a wrestling strength and conditioning coach who has worked with wrestlers over over a decade and understands the ins and outs of getting wrestlers bodies ready for competition.
This exercise is actually two done one immediately after the other, meaning that it is what weight training aficionados generally call a super set. Gary Calcagno simply calls this exercise the two way raise.
To do these exercises you will need a pair of fairly light dumbbells. You don’t want to get dumbbells that are too heavy as this exercise isolates the deltoid, which is very likely to become injured if too heavily loaded. Lighter weights will also force you to focus on technique, which when it comes to lifting weights is very important if you don’t want to hurt yourself.
The first exercise in this super set is going to be a standard lateral raise. You're going to start off with the dumbbells in your hands in front of your hips with your palms facing each other. From there, you are going to raise them up to shoulder level and end with your palms facing the floor. Try to keep your shoulder blades pinned down so that you can isolate the deltoid. If you don’t your traps will get more involved and that’s not what you’re trying to do.
Do this for ten reps, after finishing, immediately get into position for the next exercise. For the next position you are going to bend at the waist while keeping your back and spine neutral. Think of it like you’re trying to get into the double leg position but only with your upper body, keeping only a slight bend in your legs.
From here you are going to start off holding the dumbbells the same way you did in the last exercise and then pull them up. Do not drive your elbows back as if you're rowing. Make sure that your hands are guiding the movement and that you end off in a T-pose. Remember to still keep your shoulder blades pinned down to keep the traps out of this movement.
This will put all the pressure on your shoulder blade muscles that are very important for shoulder stabilization and for posture, both on and off the mat. Once again you are going to do this exercise for ten reps. Do this super set your 3 full sets of both exercises to help build the strength, endurance and mobility in your shoulders. Having those attributes will help you perform your best in both competition and training while helping to protect you from injuries and improving your quality of life by reducing pain.
If you like this video and want to learn more exercises from Gary Calcagno then check out his complete strength and conditioning video series “Cowboy Strong: Building Functional Power By Gary Calcagno” available exclusively on Fanatic Wrestling!