Strength And Conditioning

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How to Build Rotator Cuff & Lat Strength with Slow Grinds

Published: 2021-09-28
How to Build Rotator Cuff & Lat Strength with Slow Grinds
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In this video Summer Huntington, founder of Flow Shala and Steel Mace Vinyasa demonstrates and narrates mace exercise with slow grinds, torque, and leverage to build rotator cuff and lat strength.


Summer’s narration transcribed and edited for clarity:

All right, this video is all about slow grinds, torque, and leverage.   To understand this, you must feel it in your body and experience it so then it becomes a lot more meaningful.

I'll be taking you through a series of slow grinds from a kneeling position. You can utilize this exercise in other positions as well. But I like the kneeling position because it takes the guesswork out of what's happening in the lower half and isolates the core and the rotator cuff.

You can go ahead and come on to your knees. You can start here actually on both knees. When you're in this position, see that your hips are pressing forward in your tops of feet or pressing down. You don't want to be here because this minimizes the base of support.

You want to have full fascia contact and work on that flexibility in the tops of your feet. If you don't have that flexibility, a good mobility drill would be to punch your hands down on the outside of your knees and lift to stretch that fascia. So aim for about five repetitions on each side before you get started.

Or you can actually do repetitions on one side and then come to your kneeling position, engage your glutes, engage your deep inner core and then go ahead and take a step forward with your left foot.

The setup is really important with the knees directly over the ankle, and your back glute is firing. You're creating external rotation or talk in that back leg. You're knitting your ribs in your shoulders are stacked directly over your hips.

Place your mace with a mid grip in a position so your elbow kisses the front part of your obliques at the right on the outside and the front portion of your lowest rib.   From here, full grip confirmation your thumb is included in the grip. Angle your mace back and hold and then return to the order position.

Notice this back glute is on this front leg has full facial tension. Again, angle find your moment of leverage.  Drive your mace up holding it stable. Feeling that leverage the entire time. It's a slow grind.

Reach it into back position, never breaking at the elbow, and then pull your mace out of the back position with a power breath. Yield the leverage the entire time.

A common misalignment is to break at the elbow and just drop here and then pull your mace out. Kind of wonky like this or another common misalignment is the elbow will flare out.  

Often people will reach into the back position with a big elbow flare. Looks like this. Don't want to do that? Keep your elbow traction in towards the midline. Do ten repetitions. Leverage. Inhale and exhale. Inhale. Find the leverage moment. Keep it. And exhale. This can be used at the beginning or during mace practice.

It's not going to get your heart rate up a whole lot, but it will create heat in the body and will tone as zoom in to your shoulder and rotator cuffs. Nice and slow. 

You want to mirror your opposite arm, pinning it up against your external obliques.

You can do more by building wrist endurance here. I'm starting to fatigue a bit here, but I want to keep a nice neutral wrist.   Avoid a non-neutral wrist extension or too much flexion. Switch sides and the opposite leg is forward.

Turn on your back glute. Fire your core. Find your moment of leverage shooting the opposite hand down or mirroring, to leverage momentarily keeping a fixed angle your arm. Drop it into the back position. No elbow flare. Pull it out with that same leverage.

Keeping that lat glued on leverage, inhale and exhale building strength and endurance in all planes so that by the time we get to our mills, our single-handed mills, we've developed a strong foundation in that frontal plane.

Keep the glute engage. Keep your focus, feel and experience the leverage the torque full grip confirmation. If you're doing the leverage properly, you're going to feel it in your wrist and your fingers. The angle is important, especially when you're wielding a mace with straight arms. Having that little bit of angle ensures that you're stabilizing from your lat versus leaking power to your elbow joint.

To recover stand up, chug, inhale and exhale. All right, those are your slow grinds, keep working on those from a kneeling position. You can do them with both knees on the ground as well. Again, using your elbow as feedback to ensure that your glutes, core, and shoulder girdle are on maximizing power from that trifecta.