Optimising Weight Lifting: 2 Exercises that will get your Muscles Working Right

20th July 2015

1.    Shoulder

Activating the right muscles during any sort of arm movement is key, and sometimes the right muscles need to be reminded that they need to recruit automatically, at the right time. Therefore, retraining these muscles means that they are ‘on standby’ at all times!

Scapular setting exercises are what you need to include in your 15-20 minutes of stretching, mobility and activation prior to your training. Here is one of the ones I find works really effectively:

Starting position: Standing or long sitting with the ends of a band or two cables in either hand.

First activation: Pull your shoulder blades down and together, keeping your arms straight.

Pull your elbows back keeping them tucked in by your sides, and keeping your shoulder blades engaged. Do not allow your shoulder blades to lift.

Hold this position for 5 seconds.

Return to the first activation position without allowing deactivation of the shoulder blade muscles.

Hold this position for 5 seconds and relax.

Repeat until you feel a burn in the lower shoulder blade muscles – the rhomboids.

2.    Glutes

Starting position: Lying on one side with knees bent (the CLAM), and your top hand on your gluteus medius muscle of the top hip.

Simply attempt to switch that one muscle on and off without any movement or other muscle activation.


Once you find you can do these very basic exercises easily and without compensation, you are ready to start to progress your prehabilitation or rehabilitation in order to enhance your performance and/or recovery and avoid injury or reinjury.

Email me at Jordane@function360.co.uk for advice on how to progress these exercises. Remember, everyone has different capabilities so these exercises may not be the right ones for you. They are really basic muscle activation/recruitment exercises that many people forget about! Give them a try and see how you get on.

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