The shoulder is the most fragile of all human joints, and where most body builders who use improper form get injuries. So it’s very important to practice shoulder care to avoid shoulder injuries while working out.
Injuries can be avoided by avoiding common mistakes that most body builders make at the gym.
Injuries can be minor or severe, depending on the cause and the trauma that the shoulder has suffered.
For people who lift really heavy stuff all of the time, shoulder injuries can happen gradually without the person actually knowing, in the form of tendinosis, tendonitis, impingement, or tear.
The shoulder is basically made out of multiple parts, but essentially it is a ball-and-socket joint with various tendons attached to the ball and a bunch of tissues, ligaments and muscle surrounding the entire thing.
The tendons and muscles that connect the ball to your other muscles are called rotator cuffs. Rotator cuffs help in external and internal rotation of the shoulder joint as well as the abduction movement of the shoulder. These rotator cuffs are composed of 4 main parts, the supraspinatus, the subscapularis, the infraspinatus, and the teres minor.
These 4 rotator cuffs can get injured via an incorrect fall, sudden pressure or strain on them, or gradually applying excessive force on them without warming or strengthening them up.
The shoulder,not only one of the most injury-prone part of a body builder, it’s also one of the most complicated joints in the entire body, both are true because the shoulder has the most freedom in range of motion in the entire body.
Generally speaking, here are the things that you want to do to have shoulder care when working out.
General Guidelines to Avoid Shoulder Injuries While Working Out
1. Have sufficient warm-ups before applying heavy weights on the shoulders. That is why we often practice progressive overloading as well as warm-ups for for shoulders.
2. When doing pushing exercises, remember to pack your shoulders together and avoid very wide grips. Wider grips make the workout harder, and you may feel you’re getting more gains, but in fact, you are putting excessive strain on your rotator cuff muscles, and they will eventually tear a bit. Some fortunate people experience minor tears called tendonitis/tendinosis, while other people less fortunate can experience actual rotator cuff tears from bench pressing too heavy with a wide grip without warmup.
3. Then doing pulling exercises, always lock the shoulders, even up to the point of failure. Never drop down suddenly from a hanging exercises such as a wide grip pull-up/down. This can cause strains(tear in muscle), sprains (tear in ligament), and even avulsion (tearing of the tendon-to-bone connection).
4. Avoid workouts such as the empty can shoulder raise, doing too much of a wide grip on the bench press, and the super properly executed upright row.
Own experience. I’ve had 2 shoulder injuries in the past. A supraspinatus minor tear, a subscapularis minor tear, and an impingement.
The 7 Minute Rotator Cuff Solution Book by Dr. Joseph Horrigan, director of the Soft Tissue Center in Los Angeles, and Jerry Robinson, president and research director of Health For Life.