A Simple Way of Reducing the Risk of Shoulder Injuries

Resistance training can put your body under a fair amount of stress, especially if you’re insistent on continuous heavy loading. An area that typically sees more action than most, is the upper body; in particular the chest and shoulders. The desire for a superhero physique (and a perfect mirror selfie), could be to blame for all of the action the chest and shoulders get. The problem is, the back muscles get jealous pretty easily and are less likely to do you any favours if you keep overlooking their importance. This is a key factor I take into consideration when Online Training clients. 

 If this is you, and you’re pushing far more often than you’re pulling, then you may well of experienced some sort of shoulder pain in your workout career. This can often be accredited to (amongst other things) the back muscles not providing you with the stability you need. All too often, the posterior chain suffers from neglect as people mainly chase what they can visibly see. If you’re unsure this is the problem, then you may want to be assessed on your form in a Personal Training session.

Of course, this isn’t always the case and if you’re reading this with a big 2:1 pull/push ratio – good job. If not, then you may want to look at Online Programming

Like your best mate, you’re not Pulling enough.

 Simply put, too much of anything will put a strain on your joints, even more so if they’re not prepped to withstand the punishment. This is especially true for the shoulder.

 Any upper body push exercise will put an amount of stress on the shoulder joint one way or another, especially if you’re not moving optimally. What exacerbates the stress is the general lack of a warm up routine (particularly movement focused warm up sets) that I see (or don’t see) on a daily basis. Throw in a half-assed developed programme (focusing on chest giant sets) and you’ve got yourself a nice long wait at the physio’s office.

 If you look at the shoulder joint, you’ll see that it is one of the most complex joints in the body, providing an unrivalled range of motion. This is due to the ball and socket composition of the joint, which provides multi-directional movement and mobility. The shoulder can perform movements in Abduction, Adduction, Flexion (horizontal &vertical), Extension (horizontal & vertical) and Rotation (internal & external). Outmatching your other joints in almost every area.

 All of this is great if you’re throwing a baseball or playing tennis, but not so great if you’re jumping straight in with 5×5 on the bench press. 

 More mobility typically means less stability. 

Combining continuous heavy loading, poor form, lack of a warmup and an unstable joint; can give you recipe for disaster. 

A simple solution

 Luckily, there are a few simple ways to reduce your risk of injury when pushing.

  •  Programme a Pull day before Push day
  • Programme a Pull exercise before a Push exercise
  • Programme a Pull warmup before Push exercises

Programme a Pull day before a push day

Through programming a pull day before a push day, what you are effectively doing is carrying over the tightness in the back from the day before. This will give you extra stability when it comes to pushing exercises and help to limit any excessive range of motion.

Programme a Pull exercise before a Push exercise

If you’re working with and upper/lower or a full body workout regime, then programming a pull exercise before your push can achieve the same effects as programming a pull day before a push day. This way you can still have your same workout, but just shuffle the exercises slightly to reduce your chance of injury.

Programme a Pull warmup before a Push exercise

If you’re really persistent with your programme and you must start the week with a hammering of the chest and shoulders; then just do a couple of simple pull warm up exercises. The most common one’s to use are band pull aparts or banded rows.

If you’re unsure on how to implement the above, then why not let me do it for you? Online training is a fantastic way to make sure you’re training regime is in safe hands.

If you want to know more, feel free to contact me or book in for a Personal Training session.

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Sam is a Personal Trainer, Online Coach and Fitness Educator with background in achieving results for a variety of clients. Sam now specialises in Pain Free Performance, helping people across the world to achieve their goals safely and effectively. 

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