How to Fix Your Shoulders

Everyone would benefit from stronger, more stable shoulders…especially in CrossFit where we use them every day. Shoulder instability or pain can make movements like snatches and muscle-ups the ultimate struggle (not to mention push-ups, pull-ups, handstands, ring dips, etc.). Most people think the problem is lack of strength or mobility, but getting those elusive shoulder movements and fixing pain often has more to do with what’s going on in your brain vs. what’s going on in your shoulders or back.

This is called motor control. Motor control is the coordination of your brain and nervous system to make the correct muscles fire. So while you may feel your movement is on point, there are often stronger muscles compensating for the weak links creating a bad compensation pattern that gets ingrained in your movements. These compensations are likely to cause injury, pain or a plateau down the road.

The good news is that there’s an easy fix!

Crossover Symmetry

The trick is the pixie dust in those colorful bands hanging on the wall. They have the power to make your shoulders move better. It’s true! I know this because I use them every day. They’re called Crossover Symmetry and they’re how I fixed my own shoulder problems.

In dealing with my shoulder pain, I was a mobility maniac and tried every corrective exercise in the book. But it didn’t work because I was missing a huge piece of my problem…my brain.

It wasn’t any sort of disorder or that my brain wasn’t functioning. It was the poor coordination of the brain and nervous system to make my muscles work together.

On the surface my lifts felt surefire, but when I broke the movements down (i.e. Crossover Symmetry) I could feel how everything fell apart. I was asking my shoulders to do advanced calculus, when I hardly knew basic math. Meaning, I was trying to do push jerks when I couldn’t do a row without my shoulders creeping up to my ears.

So I started using Crossover Symmetry as my daily warm-up and in 2 weeks my pain was gone. Then I started using it several times per day because it made my shoulders feel good…and I started to hit PRs!

It’s important to understand that Crossover Symmetry wasn’t a miracle strength or mobility exercise for me. Rather it provided consistent (as in daily) practice and repetition of basic shoulder movements that reprogrammed my brain. This effectively prepared my shoulders to move with bigger weights.

30 Day Shoulder Fix

My challenge to you: Commit 30 days to doing Crossover Symmetry every single day!

And for those of you without shoulder pain…I’ve seen you move and you need it too!  It will help prevent pain and make you stronger.

Where to Start

1. Watch this basic introduction to the Crossover Symmetry program at the bottom of this post.

2. Get educated!  The magic only happens if you do them correctly!

Here are some options to learning the finer points…

  • Attend a Crossover Symmetry Workshop (Dates Coming Soon!)
  • Book a Personal Training session and get schooled in shoulder love by a Sanitas Coach.

3. Now…Get to Work!

This will be part of the warm-up several times per week throughout May, but it’s not always possible to integrate it into the class. For that reason, show up a few minutes early to get Activated!

For those days you don’t come to class, do the program at home without bands. This is better than nothing. Or you can buy your own home unit through Crossover Symmetry.

Cheers to shoulder health!


Coach Matt

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