Shoulder pain is one of the most common injuries amongst gym-goers. The repetitive strain of exercise accompanied with a way of life which forces us to internally rotate is a recipe for shoulder pain. It can be hard to avoid if you don’t take the right precautions.
When we drive, sit at our desks or type on our smart phones we’re more internally rotated than ever, which over time leads to shortening and tightening of the pectorals, anterior deltoid and subscapularis.
Simple tasks like putting our arms straight above our head or holding a barbell comfortably on a squat can become increasingly difficult and frustrating. Here are my top 3 tips to help prevent shoulder pain;
1. Antagonistic Pairs. Doing simple exercises like band pull-aparts or dumbbell external rotations help activate the antagonist muscles to those of the anterior (agonist), hence ‘antagonistic pairs’. The contracting of these muscles will naturally stretch the anterior muscles under stress and ease the pain. When we contract our muscles they shorten, therefore plenty of upper back work and external rotation will help retract the scapula and shoulders.
2. Use Band Tension. Band tension is fantastic for adjusting the strength curve. For example, if you do a 100kg bench press the weight remains the same throughout the movement, whereas if you load the bar with 40% less weight (60kg) and apply band tension, the weight at the bottom of the movement is far less than at the top of the movement and therefore less stress is applied to the joint when it is most vulnerable.
3. Regular Sports Therapy. Booking in for sports therapy bi-weekly could be a minor expense when looking at the bigger picture. Would you prefer to pay and reap all of the other benefits that coincide with the treatment or work through the pain and ultimately pay a much greater cost if you were to suffer a more chronic injury? Sports therapy and deep tissue massage can help elongate tight muscles, improve blood circulation and recovery.