Shoulder injuries are extremely prevalent in all people who are active, and are extremely prevalent in people who play sports. It does not matter if you are young, old, girl or guy, shoulder pain can happen to anyone, and it can be very debilitating.
As a guy who has already had 2 shoulder surgeries, needs a complete shoulder replacement ans has horrible arthritis pain in both shoulders, training shoulders is a BIATCH.
In regards to those who lift weight regularly, certain exercises can aggravate shoulder injuries, increase pain and prevent healing.
Why Are Shoulder Injuries and Pain so Common
The shoulder is comprised of muscle and a ball and socket joint, designed that way to allow for all ranges of motion. This great range of motion has a downside: potential instability and increase potential for injury.
A majority of shoulder instability comes from:
(1) muscle imbalances (too much chest and shoulder work and not enough back work).
(2) Poor, or improper posture. The forward drawn, rounded back posture wreaks havoc on your shoulders. These issues can lead to a narrowing of the subacromial space leading to friction of the rotator cuff muscles, tendonitis, and eventually a tear. Rounded shoulders also locks down the joints in your neck and back which increases the likelihood of impingement issues, making it hard to raise your arm above your head impingement free. Certain gym exercises can exacerbate this problem making it more likely for you to be seriously injured.
6 Exercises to Avoid
Avoid these 5 exercises and increase the health and longevity of your shoulders:
1.) Flat Barbell Bench Press: Many people with shoulder injuries find that they have more pain when doing chest press than shoulder press. Opt for barbell presses, pec dec, cable flyes, dumbbell flyes, incline bench press.
2.) Behind the Neck Military Press (Barbell or Smith Machine). This movement puts stress on the rotator cuff and supporting muscles needed to maximally externally rotate the shoulders. Do Military Press, or dumbbell press instead.
3.) Smith Machine Shoulder Press: Since the bar is set on a fixed path it leaves no variability for changes in movement which will cause potential compression of the shoulder tendons. Instead opt for lateral dumbbell or cable raises, front dumbbell or cable raises, or dumbbell presses in a neutral grip (palms facing your cheeks)
4.) Barbell Shrugs: Many people have developed rounded shoulders due to lifestyle as discussed above. carrying any amount of weight in front of your body is only going to further contribute to compression leading to injury. Opt for dumbbell shrugs. Use a moderate weight and squeeze each rep.
5.) Upright rows. The Upright Row is one of the most harmful exercises you can expose your shoulders to. The problem with the exercise lies in the position your arms must be in in order to perform the movement. This position called “internal rotation” is not bad, however when you raise the arms up and add resistance in that position, a small tendon in your shoulder gets pinched (known as impingement) by the bones in the shoulder, and overtime will become worn and damaged.
6.) Wide Lat Pulldowns Behind the Neck. The problem with the behind-the-neck pulldown lies in “external rotation.” When doing this exercise and adding resistance the supporting muscles of the shoulders (known as the rotator cuff) are not in a good position to stabilize the joint and injury to these supporting muscles can occur. On top of that, since most people do not have enough shoulder flexibility to get a straight line of pull behind the neck, they must bend their neck forward to even do the movement. This can result in neck strain on top of shoulder strain. This information also applies to the behind-the-neck pull-ups. Instead perform both exercises in front of your neck. The risk to reward ratio for development is much more favorable without the risk for injury.
About the Author Jeff Behar
Jeff Behar, MS, MBA, is a well-known author, champion natural bodybuilder, and a recognized health, fitness and nutrition expert with over 30 years of experience in the health, fitness, disease prevention, nutrition, and anti-aging fields. As a recognized health, fitness and nutrition expert, Jeff Behar has been featured on several radio shows, TV, and in several popular bodybuilding publications such as Flex, Ironman and in several highly regarded peer reviewed scientific journals. Jeff Behar is also the CEO and founder www.MuscleMagFitness.com and www.MyBesthealthPortal.com, a staff writer at www.musclemagsport.com and the current Medical Commentator on Exercise for the The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M), the world's largest medical anti-aging organization comprised of 26,000-plus member physicians, health practitioners, scientists, governmental officials, and members of the general public, representing over 120 nations.
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