Wall Slides for better shoulder strength, health and function

Being able to keep your shoulder blades stabilized is very important for shoulder strength, health and function. On our bikes, being able to resist the “hunched shoulder” posture is important for keeping the tension out of your neck. In addition, being able to have your upper back in a flat, strong position gives you better control of the bike and balance on the trail.

The wall slide is a staple exercise in my facility to counteract the effects of riding posture, which also happens to be desk posture and sitting in your car posture. Do 2 sets of 10 reps a few times a week and watch what happens to your posture and shoulder health.

-James Wilson-

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  1. John says:

    That exercise is great. However if you REALLY want to strengthen and improve your shoulders, try Overhead squats. Even if done with lighter dumbbells or just a wooden dowel or PVC pipe, you will see MASSIVE improvement. I didn’t know how bad my shoulders were until I starting doing overhead squats. Now, it is part of my daily workout warm-up. Hold a wooden dowel behind on your head on your shoulders where you would if you were doing back squats. Press the dowel straight up so that you are holding it approximately 6 inches behind the vertical of you head, and do a full squat. Don’t be surprised if the first few times you wobble all over the place. Unless you already have significant core strength and center-line stabilization, it is VERY hard. Work up do using dumbbells and then up to a loaded bar. You want great core strength and extremely flexible shoulders, work on your overhead squat.

    Reply • December 29 at 7:10 am
    • bikejames says:

      @ John – OH squats are a great exercise if you have the shoulder mobility to do them right. If you can not get your arms straight overhead then you will end up bending too much in the wrong areas to compensate as you descend into the squat. The wall slide is a great way to help you gain the functional mobility you need for OH squats.

      Thanks for the input…

      Reply • December 29 at 7:25 am
  2. Chris says:

    hahah – you are right – this looks easy (and a bit silly), but it’s damn hard to keep your arms flat against the wall. I could feel muscles all down my back and through my shoulders working in ways they haven’t before.
    Can even do it at home while watching the teev or whatever.
    Nice one – thanks.

    Reply • January 6 at 5:58 pm
  3. Nigel says:

    I cannot get my lower forearm/wrist flat against the wall. Also it’s a struggle to keep my lower back flat as well. Should continue doing the exercise?

    Reply • January 24 at 6:49 pm
    • bikejames says:

      @ Nigel – You can walk your feet out from the wall to help you keep your low back flat. And even though you can not get your wrists flat, just trying to do it will get the muscles we want activated. It will get better – it may feel impossible right now but if you keep at it your mobility can improve a lot more than you may think.

      Reply • January 25 at 5:51 am
  4. Nigel says:

    Thanks for the quick reply. You run a fantastic website.

    Kind regards


    Reply • January 25 at 2:47 pm
  5. Pete says:

    I also am finding it a challenge to keep wrists and elbows in contact with the wall. Perseverance is the key.

    Reply • August 16 at 4:11 am

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James Wilson
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James Wilson