The Keys for Exercising Pt 4

How to Functionally Train the Upper Body

*Bonus- Full-Body Exercises

HBR Vlog Ep 9 (video here)

Sun’s out, guns out! Time for us to dive into upper body exercises in this week’s Vlog episode, and a special bonus on covering major full-body exercises as well.

One of our clients Jourdan, is an aspiring pro-tennis player. He trains almost everyday and at very high and competitive levels… Yet, something that consistently was getting in his way was shoulder, elbow, and wrist pain while playing.

As you can imagine these are incredibly common in this sport… I mean there’s a reason why it’s called “Tennis Elbow.” 

Then in addition to his on-court training, Jourdan was trying to improve himself in all facets of his game by consistently working out most days of the week to improve his strength and power.

So when we started working with Jourdan one of the first things we did was not just create a corrective mobility and stability program to realign his body, but we wanted to take a look at what his workout regiment was.

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Sure enough, he was on the “meat-head” muscle split plan: Chest, Back, Shoulders, Legs/Core. (That might sound familiar to you, or a similar combo of it).

Here’s the challenge with this typical 4 day split, if you’re a tennis player who is swinging a racquet as fast and hard as possible thousands upon thousands of times a day, working the hell out of your shoulders… Maybe having two additional days a week in the gym that heavily rely on those shoulders (chest & shoulder days), might not be the best idea…

In fact, if you are someone who tends to have bad posture (shoulders roll forward, tension in the upper traps/neck), then again these anterior shoulder days (front of shoulder) are contra-indicative (BAD) for your posture. Working these muscles through shoulder and chest exercises, will continue to push our shoulders out of alignment and rolled forward.

Which for a tennis player, when the shoulder isn’t properly moving it begins to hurt, and the elbow plus the wrist start to try to compensate in ways they aren’t designed to… so they hurt…

Not to mention the way Jourdan was training, isn’t very functional for tennis, or any sport for that matter. When you’re active (doing anything): How often do you isolate using one muscle group at a time? NEVER. So exercising isolated muscle groups doesn’t translate very well to what we are actually doing in functionality.

So what we did was have Jourdan adjust his emphases! He started to prioritize his back exercises, and posterior shoulders (back of shoulders) for his upper body, and ease up a bit on the anterior (chest & front of shoulder) ones. Which began to counter-balance all of the hitting he was doing each week, pull his shoulders back into alignment, and ultimately relieved his elbow and wrist pain… 

While, also incorporating full-body exercises everyday to link his strength & power gains to actual performance on the tennis court.

So in this week’s Vlog we are going to take a look at:

  1. The perfect balance of exercises for the Upper Body.
  2. The specific technique & form for all of the exercises we should prioritize.
  3. What exercises we should do sparingly or avoid altogether.
  4. The Full-Body exercises that are best for proper function.

Also, if you haven’t downloaded it yet get our complimentary free e-book on the Ultimate Workout Guide here-  

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P.S. If you would like some free 1-on-1 help my team and I would love to connect with you over a free Mobility Consultation Call where we take a deep dive into your functional health goals and work with you to craft a program to achieve them. Feel free to schedule with us directly at: