Many of us have struggled with shoulder niggles at one point of time. Shoulders are a delicate and complex thing and need to be treated with care, avoiding all kinds of excessive and unfamiliar movements which can wear down the rotator cuff and deltoids.
1- Stick to Basics
Basic exercises like shoulder presses, pull-ups, and pushups should be at the core of anyone’s training regime. The beauty of these movements is that they work the shoulders how they are supposed to and therefore allow you to go heavy without doing any damage (so long as you keep form in check). The moment you start throwing in fancy shoulder exercises and using shoulder machines in the gym is the moment you will start getting injuries and twinges in your shoulders. Steer clear of odd exercises and stick to the tried and proven one’s that build strong healthy shoulders.
- BB or DB Shoulder Presses
- Lateral Raises
A mix of these will work your entire shoulder and give you great upper body musculature and strength.
2- Avoid Wear and Tear
There are certain movements which induce a huge amount of wear and tear, either when done too frequently or with bad form. Not all of theses are “bad” exercises but they should be approached with caution. Things like heavy Dips, Upright Rows and Clean and Presses can really wear down your rotator cuff which is extremely delicate and susceptible to damage, so treat it with care.
My approach with these type of movements is to do them in good form and not too frequently. This way you get the benefits they have to offer without paying the price with your shoulders.
3- Warm Em Up
Giving your whole body a good warm up is always a good idea before sport, but before lifting heavy stuff be sure to warm up your shoulders thoroughly. I like to go on the rowing machine if I am at the gym and go for 500M this really gets the shoulders and upper body in general limber. If you don’t have access to they gym checkout this total body warmup.
If your pushing, pressing and pulling everyday your shoulders will undoubtably start to feel the strain, they need time off just like anything else. Go a few days without and weights (even body weight movements) and go running, play sports or mountain bike. This will give your muscles a much needed rest so that they can recover and rebuild all those small and delicate tendons within the shoulder.
This has to be one of the main problems with too frequent training or repetitive movements whether it be in a sport or in the gym. It will lead to overuse injuries that is why it’s so important to keep changing what you do so that your body can take a rest.
5- Get Strong
A Strong body is a healthy body. If you can achieve a good level of strength in compound movements your shoulders will thank you. Once you get to a good level of strength when it comes to pushing, and pulling you will find most shoulder niggles will disappear. Doing high reps of pushups in good form is another way to build solid shoulders.
Healthy Shoulders will come to you if you keep going with compound exercises in good form, work on your strength, eat a good diet rich in anti-inflammatries and anti-oxidants, plus of course plenty of rest.