2-Disk DVD Set, Running Time: 1 Hour 22 Minutes
As the first DVD in the Secrets DVD Series, Gray introduces Secrets of the Shoulder by describing how useful the DVD is for the throwing athlete to the weight lifting athlete and everyone in between. Four areas described by Gray and Brett as most important for a functional shoulder is breath, posture, grip, and joint position. We will discover in this two-disk DVD set how the shoulder is used, where to screen for potential problem areas and corrective exercises to strengthen the shoulder using the entire body.
Screening the shoulder should be first and foremost. A screen should be a 10-minute overview of what potential problems may be. A screen is not an assessment! Know that problems with the neck could mean problems stemming from a different area of the body altogether and you should perform a complete screen first. Screen your client’s grip. Grip strength is mentioned can determine neurological restrictions in the hand related to the shoulder. Discover correct breathing patterns placing emphasis on the diaphragm and what the inability of this exercise can lead to. Using your breathing, continue screening with a T-spine mobility test, prone press up, and finally into push up position. Options are offered during each step as to whether or not your client can perform each of these screens.
Stick work and T-Spine
Discover the common trigger points related to the shoulder and techniques using a roller to “wake up” muscles before stretching and exercising. Stress is put on developing T-spine mobility before asking for motion from the shoulder. The Arm Sweep, another movement prep exercise seen in this DVD is also discussed in Gray’s book Athletic Body and Balance is also used to improve t-spine mobility.
Using similar techniques learned in Russian Kettle Bell training, Gray and Brett discuss and direct each other through shoulder mobility and stability on the horizontal and vertical planes.
Reach, Roll, & Lift
The best way to get a contraction is to stretch first. Here, Gray and Brett illustrate how an open-handed technique for reaching, extension, and elongating the upper body to push a weighted plate preps the shoulder. Naturally occurring as the palm moves position, the shoulder will relax as an attempt is made to lift the arm. This works the retraction of the shoulder blade.
Using a Russian kettle bell and a power block, practice vertical placement of weight through the shoulder blade. Note here that the shoulder shouldn’t be holding the weight, your entire body should using your grip and breathing as aids. Getting the joint stable and centered, work on the proprioceptive vertical.
Half Get Up
Using the first segment of the Turkish Get Up, practice incorporating the shoulder and core with this movement. The aid of the kettle bell intertwines the grip, breathing, and core to pack the shoulder and display balance under a load.
More on the Grip
The grip is widely ignored in today’s training, strong hands lead to a strong body. The hands tie into the neurological system and are a central nervous fatigue marker. The hands also fire neurons to the brain, and since we use our hands so much during exercise and training, shouldn’t we concentrate on developing them as well? Concentrate on the weaker side and wrist position, doing a few of the exercises shown is all it takes. After all, the shoulder won’t take anything seriously the grip doesn’t. Practice exercises in the vertical and horizontal positions to strengthen your grip.
Kettle bells have been a well-represented tool both by Pavel and Dragon Door as well as Brett Jones’ own DVD, Kettlebell Basics
Level 2 Training
Level 2 Intro & Deadlift Variations
Level 1 practice and training of this DVD should be mastered before progressing to Level 2. Gray often mentions you have to “earn the right” to graduate to the next step. Gray and Brett encourage building strength on top of stability. Just because you test a certain way doesn’t necessarily mean you train in the same movement pattern. Deadlifts work the head, T-spine, and sacrum. Integrating a stick in one hand helps you make sure everything is aligned and well-maintained. Test for bilateral baselines!
Kettle bell swing
Brett Jones, a kettle bell expert instructs Gray on the correct way to execute the kettle bell swing at a dynamic, powerful pace. This is one exercise the athlete or client can dial into and master that works the entire body. Kettle bells can be used as your cardio, strength training, deadlift training all in one! You will also see improvements in your grip and posture.
Gray discusses the techniques for a proper push up while Brett demonstrates. A good, solid push up is the gateway to several subsequent exercises that concentrate on stability at different levels. The row should not be attempted until push up basics are first mastered with good wrist mobility incorporated. Again, you have to deserve it! Rowing isn’t a skill, it’s a raw strength and should be symmetrical.
Level 3 Training
Again, the use of a kettle bell or power block is used in this exercise. Some are afraid of the overhead lifting involved in the military press, but Brett suggests this could be from using the wrong technique. Just like several of the other exercises mentioned in this DVD, you must earn the right to this level of training by starting with the basics and learning correctly. If the exercise is performed correctly, the military press is a great shoulder strength builder using posture, grip, and breath collectively. Within the military press, Brett describes an active-negative mindset where it’s encouraged to pull the weight down, yielding to gravity to control the movement. This can be a difficult exercise because it uses the entire body to be done correctly. Gray closes with encouragement to do a lower number of repetitions well rather than ending ugly.
Turkish Get Up
Now that you’ve mastered the half get up (hopefully), you’re ready for the entire motion. The Turkish Get Up is a great full body exercise you can do in a short amount of time. You may still use the Half Get Up for the weaker side to build the strength and motion. Regardless, this is recommended for a great complete core activity.
Often when we think of the old fashioned pull up, we think of the chin up as well. Gray admits that from a Physical Therapist standpoint, he would encourage the chin up. Brett demonstrates while Gray describes the correct way to execute the thumb-less overhand pull up and under-handed chin up.
Shoulder Wrap Up
As the 2nd DVD concludes, Gray states that there are all kinds of basic exercises that are being “reinvented” for no particular reason. Gray and Brett recap what they hope you’ve learned in this DVD set. First, stay with the basic exercises. Second, the encouragement to stay with the basics, don’t go overhead until you’ve mastered the deadlift. Third, consider regression in your techniques to improve holes you may have developed in your exercises. Last, ask yourself “Did I get just a workout or did I get results?” Think about what you want to achieve and go for it!