Most runners would never hit the trail or road without first stretching out their hips, hamstrings, and quads. That’s especially important in our modern sedentary culture where many of us spend our days sitting in meetings and at desks, which locks down our hips and hunches our shoulders.

But many athletes embark on a chest-and-back lifting day, highlighted by time on the bench or incline bench, without warming up or at least preparing adequately. Even if you lift first thing in the morning, you’re still feeling the cumulative effects of long hours hunched over a computer or steering wheel. As a result, your shoulders are rounded and out of alignment. At the very least, that’s compromising your effectiveness lifting. Of greater concern is that such posture could result in long-term ailments or injury.

By spending just a few minutes in some movement preparation exercises, you can reposition your shoulders to proper alignment and set yourself up for a more productive session. You’re also engaging in “pre-hab,” preventative measures that will reduce the chance of injuries that would require rehab.

Here are 10 exercises to help you reap the rewards of stronger, more stable shoulders that are more resistant to injury. You can use these as a warm-up or as a standalone circuit. If you do a circuit, do two sets of 10.


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