Surfer/Fitness & Health Coach
Shoulder Injury

Keep those shoulders healthy. Photo: Shutterstock/cristovao

The Inertia

I think I’m close to a shoulder operation, and it’s no fun.  In all honesty, I’m pretty good with shoulder rehab, training, tissue work and beyond, but sometimes injuries are just too destructive to deal with non-surgically.  I bothered my shoulder on Friday doing some heavy sprint work, and those workouts are typically really good for power training and explosiveness.

So, I bothered the shoulder pretty darned good, and intended to rest it.  I was taking a drive up to skate a bowl in Northern Sydney, and stopped at Curl Curl to check the surf. It was super-fun. Three- to four-foot wedges, dumping on the inside bar. I went out against better judgement, and on the fifth wave I felt it go. It was nauseating. If any of you have felt that feeling, you know how much it sucks. My surf was quickly over (thought I did get a couple good waves), but I got out thinking, “that’s gonna be a 20 grand operation.”

I had an acute injury. Some of you guys and gals may not have acute injuries, but you probably have some type of dysfunction or postural offset.  This can be bad news, and could set you up for an injury down the road.  I want to give you a few things you can work on to clean up those shoulders and have some happy surf shoulders, cause mine ain’t too happy now.

Mobilize, Activate, Integrate Movement, and Get ‘Em Moving


Here’s what you’re accomplishing with that series of goodness.

  • Mobilizing tissue on the anterior shoulder, and posterior rotator cuff.  The anterior chest tissue can pull the scapula/shoulder girdle out of proper alignment.  The posterior rotator cuff can get some gnarly trigger points and adhesions. Get rid of them.
  • Activating Lower Trapezius (to help reposition the scapula) and continuing to mobilize anterior chest tissue.  This is basically activating the external rotators of the humerus and the upward rotators of the scapula, while continuing to open up the front of the shoulders, which get pulled forward from you sitting at a desk and staring at a computer for too long (but keep staring at this article because it’s rad!)
  • Integrating movement, swinging those arms, and letting the nervous system realize the new range of motion, and you’re getting things moving!

More Happy Shoulder Stuff:

Full Upper Body Pre-Surf Warmup Sequence


Surfers’ Rotator Cuff Training

Take care of your shoulders. Correct your posture. And strengthen your upper body in a functional manner so you can keep surfing!

For more information on quality movement, exercise, and surf specific health and fitness, check out and



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