Shoulder Exercises

The Gain Without Pain Workout

Shoulder injuries are among the most common in the gym. Here's how to avoid them.

Gain Without Pain


1. Studies testing the rotator cuff strength of patients with shoulder impingement syndrome consistently show muscular imbalances between external rotator and internal rotator muscles of the injured shoulder.

2. Significant decreases in electrical activity in the supraspinatus and infra- spinatus rotator cuff muscles were found in subjects with shoulder impingement syndrome compared with uninjured subjects.

3. A number of studies have measured the strength ratio of the external rotators and internal rotators in healthy uninjured subjects. They report that one should be at least 60 to 70% as strong as the corre- sponding muscle group. So if your inter- nal rotators can lift a weight of 10 pounds, your external rotators should be able to pull a weight of between 6.5 and 7.5 pounds to prevent muscular imbalances.


Golden Rules

1. Do not ignore shoulder pain. Training through it will lead to more serious injury, which will require longer and more invasive treatment. If you experience pain, incorporate rest and a modification period into your program to keep the muscles from grating and teach them how to be exercised safely.

2. Be wary of exercises that require excessive internal rotation of the shoulder, such as front raises, lateral raises with thumbs down, and upright rows. These moves put the supraspinatus muscle in a potentially compromised position.

3. Strengthen your middle and lower trapezius and rhomboids to increase shoulder blade stability. Try reverse flyes with straight elbows to hit the middle traps.

4. Keep external rotators strong and internal rotator muscles flexible to avoid a poor internal/external strength ratio, which results in the humeral head pulling forward. Regular stretching after workouts helps.

SEE ALSO: Lift Doctor: Rotator Cuff Strength & Protection 

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