Male ego has an unbelievable ability to influence almost every logical decision making process we possess. We amble our way through life with the good intentions of utilising our highly developed super computer of a brain. Yet logical thought is often by passed by our primal hormone driven egos. There is no place more evident than in the gym environment. There are literally thousands of exercises yet for an unfathomable reason one of the most common sentences within the weight training fraternity is “so what do you bench?” The bench press, the exercise some universal arbiter has declared as the official man test exercise. I’m not righting to argue the semantics of this or even the bench’s efficacy as an exercise but simply ways to protect us from our ego and maintain Healthy shoulders. Undoubtedly shoulder impingements are one of the most common injuries among gym goers, although a multi-factorial condition. A root cause can be over exposure to pronated grip pressing exercises and the negative influence this can have on posture. I absolutely trash my shoulders and expose them to immense pressure on an almost daily basis (see image left). Yet I have managed to stay injury free as a result of following some simple tips, which I feel compelled to share.
A great tip but somewhat obvious is to not always bench press. The bench press can be somewhat of a shoulder destroyer by cycling in semi supinated dumbbell work into your routines. Not only will you introduce your pecs to a new stimulus but it is my personal opinion that you will actually get greater gains in strength.
Final piece of advice and something I feel contributes hugely to the maintenance of a healthy shoulder girdle is the utilisation of a good warm up routine. This simple 5 minute routine developed by top NFL Strength Coach “Joe DeFanco” has saved my shoulders. Complete this before every single upper body session. Not only does it release a number of the muscles that can become tight as part of pressing and pulling but it also increases strength by leaving the shoulders feeling significantly more mobile.
|A1||Foam roller thorasic spine and scapular||10||Slow||1|
|B1||Foam Roller Lat insertion||10||Slow||1|
|C1||External rotator stretch||1||30’s hold||1|
|D1||Lat Stretch||1||30’s hold||1|
|E1||Pec minor stretch with band||1||30’s hold||1|
|F1||Shoulder mobilization with band||10||Slow||1|