Weightlifting is an excellent form of exercise that can strengthen muscles and improve how you look, feel, and perform.
However, you may be at risk for injury if you have areas of weakness, stiffness, and lift with poor technique. The most common shoulder injuries include rotator cuff tears, bursitis, and impingement syndrome.
Perform “Movement Prep”
Movement prep is essential before any exercise routine. It helps prepare your muscles for the activity by increasing blood flow and activating muscles. Muscle groups it would be best if you targeted include the stabilizing muscles (lower trap, rhomboids, serratus anterior, rotator cuff). In addition, the movement prep should also simulate the lifting exercise you’re about to perform.
Pick Exercises You Can Perform with Good Technique
It is good to challenge our bodies with new movements and new exercises. However, if you can’t maintain good technique, you may increase your risk of injury. Generally speaking, horizontal pressing and pulling exercises (e.g., rows and push-ups) are less technical and demanding on your shoulders. Overhead pulling and pushing (e.g., military presses and pull-ups) may add additional stress to your shoulders if you have poor mobility. Olympic exercises like the Snatch and Clean and Jerk fall into a similar category. If you don’t have good mobility or perform them repetitively with poor technique, you may risk a shoulder injury.
At Movement Solutions, we work one-to-one with our clients to ensure they learn how to lift weights properly. Expert coaching and instruction are the best ways to develop good technique and prevent injury.
Don’t Overload Your Muscles.
Shoulder injuries can occur when the amount you’re lifting exceeds the capacity of your muscles. In essence, you may be lifting heavier than your strength allows. On the other hand, you may simply have a poor technique when lifting. You should start by gripping the bar slightly wider than shoulder-width apart when performing a bench press. Bend your elbows and pull the bar as deep as you can comfortably. Keep your trunk braced and shoulders engaged. You may feel a stretch in your chest. Pause in this position before returning to the starting position. Refrain from compromising technique for heavier weights.
Balance Your Training
It’s easier to exercise the “beach muscles” versus the muscle group we can’t quite see. However, to prevent injury, it’s essential to balance your training. This includes training “patterns” of movement. For example, you should be performing pushing, pulling, and twisting exercises regularly. In addition, you may benefit from adding accessory exercises if you have weak or stiff regions of your body.