Reinforce and Strengthen your Shoulders

Just face it, if you’re going to work out you will have some injuries. The real key is to make sure those injuries are not or do not become major debilitating injuries – the kind that can keep you from your workouts from days to weeks!

One of the most common injuries in the gym is shoulder injuries; there’s just a lot of moving parts including ligaments, joints, and muscle groups and, this part of the body does an enormous about of work continually whether you workout or not.

Statistics indicate the two most injuries lifts to the shoulders are sitting presses both in front of and behind the neck. People just tend to overdo it in terms of overall weight load for these exercises. Because both exercises are static, the initial push creates lots of stress on the shoulders. We are not recommending you do not perform these exercises, but you must use caution.

To reduce the stress of injuries to the shoulders the advice is for you to:

1. Lessen the amount of weight you use in static positions involving shoulder workouts. If you do use heavy weights, do so more when standing and, to get those weight moving into that overhead press, dip you knees a little and use them to propel your body and weight upward. While many may consider this cheating, you’re not in a competition for the amount of weight you lift and, sparing yourself an injury means you’ll be back to workout again tomorrow instead of in a few days, next week or next month. Trust me, experiences shows this to be true.

2. Reinforce your shoulders and strengthen them to help reduce the chance of injury during shoulder exercises. Adding additional exercises specifically for this will help. Those recommended include Balance Trainer Pushups, One-Arm Bar, Ring Pushups, and Chair or Straight-leg Pull-ups.

Balance Trainer Pushups
Using a balance trainer, place it on the floor and assume a pushup position. Using a wider or narrower hand placement, do 3 sets of 6-8 reps of push ups. Because the balance trainer is flexible, it will help to strengthen the interconnected muscle and sinew groups in the shoulders.

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One-Arm Bar
This exercise begins like a Turkish Get Up. Start the exercise like a get up. Lay flat on your back and assuming you are right handed, place a small weight dumbbell or kettlebell in your right hand. Your left leg is straight and your right leg is bent far enough so the foot is flat on the floor. The weight is straight up in the air, arm extended, pressed over your shoulder. Throughout the exercise you will maintain this position with the weight. Slowly roll left, keeping your right leg bent at the knee, until the right knee touches the floor on your left side then, return to start. All the while you keep the weight in the same position pressed above the shoulder. Switch positions and hand and do repetitions on the opposite side. Perform 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

Ring Pushup
Using either rings or TRX handles positioned about 6-12 inches above the floor, assume a pushup position and perform your pushups with your body perfectly straight. If you have particular issues or sore areas that do not seem to go away, raise the rings to lessen the work load, just as if doing incline pushups.

Straight or Chair Pull-up
Hang from a pullup bar and either keep your legs straight or bend them 90 degrees from waist so that your legs form a chair where your thigh would be the seat, i.e., thighs are parallel to the floor. From this position, execute your pull up and then, slowly lower yourself. The chair pull up is recommended because it will give induce greater shoulder reinforcement among interdependent muscle groups. Perform 4 sets for as many times as you can, but not to complete failure, perhaps 1-2 reps short of that.

You can switch these with some of your upper body warmups or warmdowns in your program and, you do not need to do all of them, just one each workout day a few times per week. Alternate for best results.