Thread: Avoiding Shoulder Injuries

1. Avoiding Shoulder Injuries

So often I see threads with titles that can be paraphrased as: "CRAP! I hurt my shoulder!!" Let's work on avoiding these serious shoulder injuries in 2007!!

As seen in Sensei's Your Training/Competition Goals for 2007? thread, most people are either hoping to overcome an existing injury (predominately shoulder) or go the full year without any physical problems.

That said, I think we'd all find it useful to compile lists of movements that A) are most likely to cause a shoulder injury and B) are best to strengthen the shoulder so that injury can be avoided. I will update this first post habitually to reflect what has been said.

A movement that is safe when performed properly but is often executed in a dangerous manner will be marked with an "*"

-Regular font means a net of 1-3 people agree. Example, if 2 people put it on the list but one disagrees, this is a net of 1 person agreeing, since 2-1=1. (Now you can tell I was a math major, eh?)
-Bold font means a net of 4-7 people agree
-Italic font means a net of 8-14 people agree
-Bold italic font means a net of 15+ people agree

List A - Movements Likely to Cause Shoulder Problems (net votes):
1) Upright Rows (1)
2) Lateral/Front Raises* (1)
3) "Rolling the shoulder" Shrugs (Shoulders should only move up and down) (1)

List B - Movements Likely to Prevent Shoulder Problems (net votes):
...

2. My votes for List A:
1) Upright Rows
2) Lateral/Front Raises* (again, "*" means when performed incorrectly, which is often the case with these.)
3) "Rolling the shoulder" Shrugs (Shoulders should only move up and down)

3. List A - Movements Likely to Cause Shoulder Problems

- (Too much of) Bench press*
- Too much front deltoids exercises in general
- Too much shrugs at the expense of the lower traps

Basically, anything that promote an imbalance.

List B - Movements Likely to Prevent Shoulder Problems

- External rotations with weights
- Lat stretching
- Face pulls (rowing to the face)
- Lateral raises*
- Rotator cuff stretching (only in case of lack of flexibility of course)
[Edit:adding some stuff]
- Serratus work (shoulder punches)
- Push-ups (because they make the serratus work)

The problem with the serratus is that its antagonists are trained when doing rows, while chest pressing movements are done without moving the shoulder girdle itself. Notice how the newbies very often tend to naturally do a serratus punch at the end of their bench (losing their stability on the bench at the same time)...

4. well the obvious ones to avoid would be all the above plus behind the head military press and behind the head pull downs. For me, switching from BB bench to DB bench has incredibly helped out my shoulders. My shoulders used to kill but after I switched, I will never go back.

5. I think you will a lot of folks recommending this Eric Cressey DVD & eBook:
http://www.magnificentmobility.com/
for avoiding shoulder issues.

Anthony is a big fan.. and he usually knows his biz..

there is a brief WBB thread on it too:
http://www.wannabebigforums.com/showthread.php?t=90255

6. could someone point me in the direction of good RC exercises?

7. I have heard for the couple years I have been here, about the rolling shrugs being a bad idea, but are they a bad idea because of the high weight you use to do shrugs?

I only ask because I am undergoing physical therapy for recovery from a car accident, and they are having me do shoulder rolls, but only with 3lb dumbells.

8. Originally Posted by teaturtle
could someone point me in the direction of good RC exercises?
L-flyes, windmills, wall angels, rows of all flavors except upright, deadlifts.

*I wanted to add that rotator-specific exercises are done with practically no weight. You try to use more than 2-5lbs on some of the exercises and you will end up injuring yourself rather than preventing it. Wall angels are done with no weight at all, windmills and L-flyes 2-5 lbs.

Also, this is not technically a rotator muscle, but strengthening the serratus anterior or boxer muscle does stabilize your shoulder blades. Serratus punches should be done fairly slowly, and it looks like this:
http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...lderRaise.html

9. Don't do exercises like upright row or the classic "pour a drink" shoulder raises... The internal rotation + raising of the arm puts your rotator cuff muscles in a bad situation.

I don't know if "The 5-Minute Rotator Cuff Solution" is still in print or not, but it was a very easy and informative read... Highly recommended, but a little dated perhaps.

Here's an article I wrote: http://www.wannabebig.com/article.php?articleid=265

10. Dang Sensei.. I never saw that WBB article...
Thanks..
And nice writing!! Solid info..

11. Upright rows won't do your shoulders any harm so long as you always use a wide grip AND never lift the bar higher than the nipples. This will prevent "pinching" the rotator cuffs.

12. Thanks! To be honest, Maki did a great job editing it.

13. This thread has been greatly needed.

I should add that nothing messed up my shoulders worse than doing RC exercises. (Using virtually no weight)

14. I had a problem with my shoulders from doing decline BB or DB bench, dont know if anyone else has experienced any problems with doing this?

15. Originally Posted by Holto
This thread has been greatly needed.
I'm glad to hear it! Rather that contribute much useful knowledge, I will simple compile what is said. Keep the comments coming and I'll make the first summary update by this weekend!

Thanks everyone.

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