How to Maintain Health Without Quitting the Fitness Gym: Preventing Shoulder Pain
What do you decide to do when you feel unable to continue training on your shoulders due to pain in your ligaments or shoulder joint? Chances are your answer is “rest.” Unfortunately, this is far from the best way to fix everything.
After all, as soon as you resume your usual training, the pain will return, and, perhaps, with more serious consequences. Therefore, today we invite you to take note of several practical ways to help you relieve shoulder pain and restore proper joint health.
If shoulder pain often bothers you and causes discomfort, then this is already a signal that the time has come to rebuild the training program. Ignoring this signal and continuing to train through pain means missing even more gym visits later, creating the prerequisites for the development of a serious injury, up to surgical intervention.
Therefore, before making adjustments to the training plan, it is important to consider three circumstances on which the health of the shoulder joint depends. So,
- Stop doing exercises that irritate your shoulders.
- Get your shoulders in the correct position.
- Train your shoulders to move correctly.
What does this mean in practice?
1. Maintain a balance between chest and back exercises
Often exercising in the gym, they are addicted to the barbell press, forgetting about other exercises. As a result, the chest becomes stronger and stiffer than the back muscles. Over time, this leads to a slouch: as the strong pectoral muscles pull the shoulders inward.
This is not desirable not only from an aesthetic point of view, but also from a practical one. If the shoulders are in the wrong position, then as a result they will not be able to move properly. You can feel this even on an exercise such as the overhead press, as the joints will be overloaded.
To prevent this, it is necessary to strengthen the muscles of the upper back. In this case, the focus of attention should be focused on the development of correct posture and the work of the shoulder blades.
2. Instead of a bench press, practice push-ups
The fact is that on the bench press, the shoulder blades are fixed together in an unnatural position and, it turns out that this zone begins to function incorrectly. Shoulder pain begins to develop when the scapula does not move, as well as due to injuries, poor posture, and inappropriate training.
However, the shoulder blades can move freely during push-ups, which improves shoulder health. They also strengthen the stabilizing brachial muscles such as the anterior and serratus muscles, which often remain weak and inactive.
If the exercise is too easy, place your feet on a bench, add some weight on your back, or try doing push-ups on an unstable surface.
3. Make it a rule to conduct fascial training sessions.
We have already said that short, stiff pectoral muscles with weak back muscles pull the shoulders forward. In order to take them back, you need to lengthen your chest muscles and create good posture.
In this case, just stretching the pectoral muscles alone will not be enough. Often, the fascia of the pectoral muscles is very dense and does not lend itself to stretching. Therefore, in order to get the result, it will be necessary to resort to massage of soft tissues, restoring the quality of the muscles.
Get ready for the painful massage process. But the result will please you: after the procedure, the pectoral muscles will become more susceptible to stretching, and you will be able to restore their natural length.
4. Remove barbells and machines that make your shoulders work unnaturally
Switch your attention to exercises where you can freely rotate your arms. Cable and dumbbell sets are best suited for this, as the stress on the shoulder joint is significantly reduced.
In order to open up the subacromial space (the natural gap in the shoulder joint), it is necessary to train the muscles that are responsible for the external rotation of the arms. This is important because closing this gap can lead to inflammation of closely spaced muscles and ligaments, creating pain.
In this case, exercises such as:
- Horizontal extension of hands while standing with an expander;
- Abduction of the forearm to the side on a cble trainer;
- Breeding dumbbells while standing in an incline.
5. Remember to pay attention to the lower trapezius muscles
We rarely think of this muscle group. However, it is critical in getting the shoulders into the correct position and building good posture. The peculiarity of the lower trapezium is that, being attached in an oblique position to the tendons, they have a smaller range of motion compared to other muscles.
The lower trapezius muscles are activated when the arms are done in a Y-shaped movement. To this end, it will be useful to apply the following exercises:
- Slides (sliding) with your hands while standing against the wall to stabilize the shoulder blades;
- Position “Y” lying on a bench or in a hyperextension machine;
- Wide grip row of the upper block.
6. Try to follow the technique in the exercises
If you are concerned about shoulder pain, you may need to re-learn how to do the training movements correctly and tense the right muscles at the right time. This may sound simple, but in practice it turns out very differently.
Try to do both rows and presses, making your shoulders work in the correct pattern, not as they (and you) are used to. It is critical to prevent injury and reduce pain. So, you can continue to do some presses, but in a safe manner for the shoulder joint.
7. Work to improve hip mobility
It may seem unexpected, but the shoulders and hips are interconnected. If, for example, the left thigh is enslaved, then, as a rule, due to cross-ties in the trunk, the right shoulder will also be constrained.
It often happens that the problem starts elsewhere, but affects the “weakest link”. But the shoulders are the most mobile connection in the body, and therefore the most fragile. Do not lose sight of this fact. Increase the range of motion of your hips and tighten your shoulders.