On COURAGE, Cramping, Hip Flexibility & Shoulder Impingement

I was browsing through the folder my assistant Madalina keeps for me with all the questions I get from practitioners around the world and I’ll be answering a few about shoulder impingement and some hip flexibility stuff related to my recent “front splits” video.

Before we get to that though, I want to share about a phenomenon I’ve been noticing lately…

Since I made the decision to be very open with you, and shared about the deaths in my family and how I’ve been dealing with it all, I’ve noticed more of my powerDOJO “Inner Circle” members opening up as well.

Recently, a couple of my long-standing Kyoudai (“brother/sister” in Japanese – how we refer to each in the Inner Circle) have shared their personal struggles, how it’s been affecting them and their thoughts going through it.

Even though we connect virtually in a private “Mastermind”, being open and authentic isn’t easy.

But it’s much easier than doing so in person, especially with the support and advice that come from the “Mastermind” because we are all 100% supportive, positive and hold each other’s best interests at heart.

For example, one member shared about how he feels like a “failure” for what’s gone on in his life over the past 2 years, having had no real purpose or “code”, being inconsistent with his training and not living the life he wants.

The thread was titled “My Confession” and it took
MAJOR COURAGE to share what he did.

Courage comes from doing what isn’t comfortable.

What might seem scary.

Going into a fight that you know you’re going to win doesn’t take courage.

His opening up and sharing authentically in a way that especially men are not taught to do or might even be looked down upon for doing elicited a level of support and community that I was very humbled and proud to see.

Having support like this in your life is important and if you’re surrounded by supportive people, then awesome, keep that network strong.

But if you need a place where you can feel comfortable opening up, sharing your struggles and finally letting go of the garbage that’s been holding you back, let me know and we’ll see if you’re a fit for the Inner Circle.

============ FRIDAY Q&A =============

Q: I got an email from Scott M. about shoulder impingement:

“I have right should problems and sometime get an Anterior impingement . I’ve noticed that when lay down , the right Shoulder joint is about 2 inches off the floor ?”

A: This is a common problem and typically, this is a sign of extreme pec minor tightness.

The pec minor pulls the scapula forward and this can contribute to rounded shoulders and winged scapula.

The mistake people make is that they try to address the tight pec minor only, but the key is to do this as well as simultaneously building strength in both the pec minor and the opposing and supporting muscle groups in that area to fully reprogram the central nervous system.

With only stretching, this reprogramming doesn’t occur and the tightness will always return.

I explain more HERE and HERE.

Q: Here’s a question from Phil in regards to the Active Groiners exercise I sent you last week.

“Is this still a useful exercise to do if I’m not able to “hover” my front foot? Indeed, I can’t even lift it off the ground. I can engage the glute on the leg that’s extended backward, but cannot raise the front foot.”

A: For this scenario, the simple solution is to start with your hands elevated, so you can place your hands on a bench, then when you can do it from there, go lower and lower and lower and progress until you can do it with your hands on the floor.

Whenever you encounter an exercise that you can’t do, think how you can scale it back.

Use your creativity – with exercise, there is no right way to do things, just remember the fundamental principles:

Maintain good posture
Control your movements
Don’t do anything stupid

Heck, that’s a nice simple life philosophy right there.

Maybe I should do an infomercial on it.

Let’s answer one more, ok?

Q: Finally, let’s address CRAMPING – here’s a Q from Jay T.:

“Just stared the SFS about a week ago. And for the first time in a long time, I was able to make it through a Crossfit workout with VERY LITTLE shoulder pain! Amazing
But, while doing the routines outlined in your program, I have been experiencing some scapular tightness on my left shoulder, along with some cramping.
Is this just part of the process, especially with years of damaging my shoulders? I have been careful in terms of not over doing the exercises, as you recommended. “


To answer your question – when you start to build strength at end ranges of motion through the exercises I show in the Shoulder Flexibility Solution, cramping can happen.

This is because the muscles simply aren’t used to contracting in these ranges.

But this is the only way to build your functional range of motion and after 1-3 weeks, it will likely disappear, so just keep at it and if a bad cramp happens, STRETCH the muscle passively or dig into it with your thumb or a ball to relieve the cramp.


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Marc De Graaf
Marc De Graaf
3 years ago

Hi Eric, i fell quite hard with a “yoko gake” from the judo ‘nage no kata”.
My wife (who studied movement sciences) identified it as an issue with my Teres minor/major or the supraspinatus.
It already happened 3 months ago and still some pain, however improving.
Do you have any advice.