Shoulder problems are a very common injury we see at Thorpes, its only back pain we see more of, so I thought I’d give a quick review of some simple ways to avoid shoulder pain.
1. Limit Overhead Exercises Many gym training programs involve extensive overhead pressing movements – however from our experience they are often over-rated and can lead to shoulder issues. There is nothing wrong with doing some shoulder presses but make sure you do not do them from the behind the neck position and don’t do more than one overhead pressing movement in each shoulder based workout.
2. Watch the Range on your Dumbbell Bench Pressing I have often told trainers and clients to not let the elbows drop below the level of the torso when doing exercises like Bench Press- whilst it is inviting to use this increased range the risks to your shoulders are often not worth the potential problems. To be safe – imagine you are benching on a flat floor and your elbows cannot go past your body anyway – not a bad analogy and certainly much safer than low pressing.
3. Balance Your Workouts Make sure you always do some wide rowing exercises to balance your bench pressing – do some wider pull downs to balance your shoulder pressing – and also include some work on the small muscles to make sure all the areas are looked after (see image below for an example).
4. Beware of Overload It is easy to overload our small shoulder muscles though – especially if you are doing hard gym training 3-4 times a week. The small muscles (referred to as the Rotator Cuff) are easily fatigued if you do chest on one day, shoulder on another, and back on another day – even thought it seems that you are only doing shoulder exercises on one day – the actual shoulder muscles are involved in all of these workouts. Add in some tennis, swimming or DIY activities and your small muscles are in real trouble.