I am not sure why it is but there seems to be a rush of shoulder injuries at the moment, that have been left for months getting worse and worse so I thought I’d give some Physiotherapy advise on 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 loaded and quite simply, over-rated. Repetitive overhead movements commonly lead to shoulder issues. There is nothing wrong with doing some well controlled 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 exercise set 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 tempting 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 – a simple analogy and definitely much safer than low pressing.
3. Balance Your Workouts
Make sure you always do some rowing based exercises to balance your bench pressing – do some wider pull downs to balance your shoulder pressing – and also include some work on the small rotator cuff muscles to make sure all the areas are looked after, such as cable or weights into external rotation (opening your arms away from your body).
4. Beware of Overload
It is easy to overload our small shoulder stabilizers – especially if you are doing hard gym training 3-4 times a week. The small rotator cuff muscles are easily overloaded without realising 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.
So listen to your body, pain in your neck shoulder or arm, weakness or a feeling of a ‘dead arm’ are common warning signs from your body of an onset of impingement or bursitis, two of the most common conditions we manage.
If you are feeling this, take some of our advise above and contact one of our team at Arnhem Physiotherapy Services on 08 8987 0296 so you can move better… feel better.