Strength Training

Blackburns – The Best Exercises Named After Famous Lifters

I’ve been wanting to get this series going again for some time. There are so many great exercises named after body building, lifting and rehabilitation greats. Zercher Squats, Arnold Press, Tate Press, we’ll get to them all. Or most. Today, something that might initially seem like a head scratch-er for this series, but it’s the one that got me back in the gym and has kept my shoulders healthy and strong since.

Turner Blackburn’s work on shoulder health changed the way we approached the joint. Just read this beautiful science;  Rehabilitation after Ligamentous and Labral Surgery of the Shoulder: Guiding Concepts. Blackburn’s sequence of rotator and scapulae exercises are the mainstays of physical therapists helping to rehab destroyed shoulders everywhere. Speaking from personal experience, when I blew out my shoulder they were the centerpiece of my recovery.


Blackburn’s techniques were also the forebears of common complexes such as YTWLs. Hell, there’s a lifetime achievement award named after him.

How to do the Blackburn Shoulder Complex

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