The BEST Way to Warm Up Your Shoulders

Scott Herman
Written By: Scott Herman
January 4th, 2018
Updated: March 30th, 2021
Categories: Articles Training
Tags: Video
In this video, we teamed up with Scott Herman to show you some simple exercises you can do before your big push workouts to help keep you injury-free.

Earlier this month, BSN athlete and YouTube sensation Scott Herman stopped by the M&S Headquarters to share some of his training knowledge with us and our loyal M&S fans.

Of course, one of the most important aspects of training the right way is making sure you are adequately warmed up prior to jumping into your workout.

This becomes even more important when pressing as pressing heavy weight cold can certainly lead to a shoulder injury.

In this video, Scott breaks down 3 shoulder exercises you should do to warm up your shoulders before heavy push workouts.

And if you have really tight shoulders, Scott recommends performing these 3 exercises every day regardless if you’re training or not. For all these warm ups, preform 2 sets of 10-12 reps.

1. Shoulder Breaker

The first exercise Scott shows us is one of his favorite exercises and it’s called the shoulder breaker. Scott actually keeps a resistance band with him at all times in his gym bag just so he can perform this warm up whenever he needs to.

You can perform this exercise with a pole, however if you’re just beginning to perform this exercise, you’ll likely prefer to use a resistance band. With a band, you can adjust the amount of resistance applied to the shoulder simply by altering the distance of your grip.

Start the exercise with the band in front of your body, and keeping tension on the band, bring it overhead alternating between taking the band behind the body and in front of the body.

As you perform this exercise, you can try to vary the range of motion you use. Do whatever you can to warm up the shoulders and rest 10-15 seconds in between sets.

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2. Dumbbell Rotation

For the second warm up, Scott recommends the single arm dumbbell rotation. All you need to perform this exercise is a 5-10lb dumbbell.

You don’t want to go too heavy with this movement. Doing so will place too much tension on the shoulder joint which can result in more harm than good.

To perform the exercise, lie down on your back and bring your elbow to a 90 degree angle. As you perform this exercise, you will rotate your arm up and down while keeping your shoulder on the floor. Scott likes to place his free hand on his shoulder so if he feels it come up he can alter his range of motion.

You’ll likely notice you can take the weight pretty far back, but may lack the mobility to bring it as far forward. As soon as you finish one side, switch, and perform the exercise with your other arm.

3. External Rotation W/ Cable

The third and final warm up Scott covers is the external rotation w/ cable.

Scott typically sticks to just the first two exercises. However, if you feel like your shoulders still need some additional attention to warm them up, the external cable rotation is an excellent option.

To perform this exercise, lower the cable to hip height. Grab the handle, jam your elbow into your side, and rotate out as far as you can controlling the weight the entire time. Once you’ve finished performing 10-12 reps on one side, switch to the other side and perform an addition 10-12 reps.

Why not just grab a dumbbell and perform dumbbell external rotations? Because your shoulders aren’t warmed up enough to place that much tension on the area. The goal of this exercises is to do just that.

While you might be going through the same motion, you’re also fighting gravity (pulling the dumbbell down) while trying to stabilize the shoulder joint.