The Secret Sauce Behind Crossover Symmetry
Why does the old-school approach to shoulder training fall flat while people are raving that Crossover Symmetry has completely saved their shoulders? On the surface, it all appears to be the same. A straightforward training program for strengthening weak muscles of the shoulder…
But that’s the one-dimensional view of shoulder movement that leads to shoulder programs that don’t work very well.
The truth is internal and external rotation exercises with the elbow stuck at the side, and working the scap with I’s, Y’s, and T’s, and a few serratus push-ups is an exercise prescription for shoulder pain that falls flat and leaves performance gains on the table.
There is additional magic that makes our program so effective in treating the painful shoulder and adding weight to overhead lifts. Here is our secret sauce that makes the Crossover approach so successful.
There are thousands of studies on shoulder pain that show a lack of strength is only a small piece of the giant puzzle. There are other issues like…
- Decreased muscle activation of the serratus anterior?
- Delayed contraction of the lower and middle trapezius?
- Overactive pectoralis minor or upper trap?
These are not strength issues but rather problems with how the brain controls the muscles. Which is the downfall of many basic corrective exercise programs: a lack of focus on the control system behind shoulder movement.
We believe that to develop the shoulder effectively, it’s important to train movement patterns, not specific muscle groups; and that the shoulder should be trained in the many planes of motion needed for life and performance.
This means shifting the focus from a bodybuilding approach of isolating specific muscles, to building coordination among muscles to accomplish more complex movement tasks—like throwing a baseball, Olympic lifting, swimming, striking a golf ball, or a day of yard work.
Clearly, we believe the exercises themselves are essential, along with quality training to support them. But don’t overlook the importance of intricacies like the crossover band pattern, the attachment heights, and having a specific resistance matched to a movement, that all go into achieving the desired movement goals.
Along with this is the specific sequencing to the exercises that creates a layering of movement patterns needed for an arm to go overhead. The first layer is standing upright with a stable posture. Many shoulder programs complete exercises either folded over or laying on the floor, which is far from developing a motor program that can be applied towards sports performance. The Crossover program then begins to layer scapula and shoulder movements to progressively flip the switches on the control system between the brain and muscles. The end result is improved shoulder movement, which satisfies the needs ranging from rehabbing shoulder pain to overcoming plateaus in performance.
No doubt strength is essential for a high-performance shoulder and we do see impressive strength gains with our program. Yet ultimately you get stronger and more athletic by pushing your body in activities like lifting weights and practicing sports, but with the help of Crossover Symmetry, you’re going to be able to do those things better.
Timing and Frequency
In addition to the coordination element that we already touched on, the ability to generate fast and powerful signals between the brain and the muscle is a core component for better movement.
This is demonstrated by every former couch potato that decided to jump into an exercise program. In the initial weeks of a resistance-training program, strength grains happen faster than any muscle growth can actually happen. Therefore, more muscle mass cannot be attributed to the daily PRs; instead, it’s the improved ability of the nervous system to use the muscles that are already there.
The timing and frequency behind the system provide both an acute and chronic effect around optimizing the neural connections necessary for overhead strength, power, and speed.
The Crossover Symmetry Activation program should be completed before any activity or workout as a dynamic shoulder warm-up. It’s immediately apparent after going through the program that the shoulder is more flexible and feels better overhead. That’s due to nervous system changes provided by the input from the Crossover Symmetry exercises that allow the brain to optimize shoulder movement.
In regards to frequency, doing Crossover Symmetry Activation every day is our minimum requirement for improving or even maintaining shoulder function. And we strongly advocate for completing Activation several times per day and incorporating the additional programs into your routine. It’s by this repeated stimulus that the fundamental movement patterns of the shoulder are mastered.
Designed for Consistency
A huge struggle for those trying to improve their shoulders is related to a lack of consistency. It’s obvious that even the most advanced shoulder program will never end your shoulder problems if it is only completed a handful of times (yes, that also goes for Crossover Symmetry too). Outside of laziness, too much complexity is the number one correlate with poor consistency, which is unfortunate because complexity is often paired with the best of intentions.
One reason this occurs is due to too many exercises paired with too many repetitions. I would never try to argue that our exercise plan is even close to fun, so it needs to be short and to the point, taking less than 5 minutes or else it would never get done.
The second reason for the lack of consistency in the training world is the scatter shooting of exercises with the hope of building a “better” shoulder. There are hundreds of great exercises that can help the shoulder move better, however, if there is always a constantly varied approach, consistency tends to go out the window.
Again, related to developing motor programs, it is only after thousands of reps of the same movement, that the body begins to develop expertise around a movement pattern. When considering the nature of our lives, the motor program the body tends to become accustomed is shoulders forward and hips flexed in a seated position. Therefore, for shoulder health, we have to add an equal stimulus of movement that will oppose the forward shoulder position. Just like performing a set of air squats throughout the day to get the hips working, the shoulders need a stimulus emphasized throughout the day for their proper function as well.
The Crossover Symmetry program creates a perfect solution for increasing consistency around arm care. We apply the minimum effective dose to a short series of exercises, for a program that only takes 5 minutes to complete. This simplicity allows the system to be used often, which establishes the consistency needed to create a foundation for shoulder movement. With a solid foundation, throw in any additional shoulder exercise you like, and notice how strength gains are exponentially better than if you attack those exercises randomly.
Crossover Symmetry is a system built by athletes who wanted to improve at our own sports and manage our own shoulder pain. Every piece, from the programs to the equipment, was developed per those specifications. We noticed which exercises prepped our shoulders and helped us recover the best. We were just as annoyed with mundane programs that replaced the training for our sports and the exercises didn’t work very well or were sometimes even painful. We consulted with experts and research about our own problems, experimented with them personally and with the athletes that we worked with, and only then implemented them into our system when we knew they would work and could be done efficiently.
If you think we are done, we are not even close.
We’ve got new programs and products on the market to tackle other pain and limitations. We are continually advancing the equipment, such as our recent developments on the highest tech resistance cord on the market for both durability and function. And we are expanding our platform to include the latest research and education to equip athletes from all walks of life to do what they truly love.