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August 2010
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Mechanism and Prevention of Common Shoulder Injuries due to Resistive Training.

Mechanism and Prevention of Common
Shoulder Injuries due to Resistance Training

The shoulder is one of the most complicated joints in the human body and this unfortunately makes it very prone to injury during resistance training. Some basic background of anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics of the region can go a long way in preventing injuries. This knowledge will help you understand the “Risk/Reward” ratio that is inherent in all forms of exercise. By this I mean that we want to place a specific and controlled stress on targeted tissues while minimizing excessive strain on other areas. I find that too often certain exercises are performed which greatly increase risk of injury when safer alternatives are available.

So what is a rotator cuff anyway? Many people envision it as an actual cuff of ligaments but it is 4 small muscles that stabilize the shoulder joint. The supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis lie deep to the much larger deltoid. Imbalance of the primary movers (pec/deltoid) and underlying stabilizers (rotator cuff) ultimately leads to impingement syndrome, anterior instability, and tendinopathy of the rotator cuff muscles.

What you can do
- Never perform lat pull-downs behind the neck!!
- Work rotator cuff/scapular stabilizers at least once a week
- Limit range of motion with chest press and fly
- Maintain proper posture and scapular retraction with upper body exercises
- Posterior capsule and chest stretches
- Consider alternatives for exercises that put shoulder at high risk

Upright Row Reverse Fly, Shrugs, Cable Pull (D2)
Close-Grip Straight Bar Bench Dumbbell Bench
Military Press High-Incline Dumbbell Press
Dips Any Tricep Exercise
Front Raise Thumb-Up Front Raise

Just following a few of these suggestions can go a long way in preventing unnecessary shoulder injuries. However, if you do find yourself experiencing shoulder pain then I strongly recommend an evaluation with an AITC health care professional located in Bedford, NH. We can properly diagnose your problem and then make appropriate treatment/rehab suggestions to get you back in action.


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