Save Your Shoulders!
6th June 2016
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Its no coincidence that we tend to see an increase in shoulder injuries around this time of the year, so we wanted to offer you some great advise about how you can prevent such problems occurring.

Shoulder injuries are the 2nd most common problem we see at Thorpes and even the great Novak Djokovic isn't immune to them (see image above).  Whilst everyone ideally needs to be assessed individually to establish any specifc risk factors based on muscle imbalance, weakness and posture, below are 5 generic tips that will be useful to everyone:-

1. Limit Overhead Exercises. Many gym training programs involve extensive overhead pressing movements - however from our experience they are often over-rated and can lead to shoulder issues. There is nothing wrong with doing some shoulder presses but make sure you do not do them from the behind the neck position and don't do more than one overhead pressing movement in each shoulder based workout.

2. Watch the Range on your Dumbbell Bench Pressing. I have often told trainers and clients to not let the elbows drop below the level of the torso when doing exercises like Bench Press- whilst it is inviting to use this increased range the risks to your shoulders are often not worth the potential problems. To be honest, Im not a fan of the bench press and much prefer 'pulling 'type shoulder exercises.  If you do want to do them though, to be safe - imagine you are benching on a flat floor and your elbows cannot go past your body anyway - not a bad analogy and certainly much safer than low pressing.

3. Balance Your Workouts Make sure you always do some wide rowing exercises to balance your bench pressing - do some wider pull downs to balance your shoulder pressing - and also include some work on the small muscles to make sure all the areas are looked after.

4. Beware of Overload.  This is probably the most important one, especially with tennis. It is easy to overload our small shoulder muscles - especially if you are doing gym exercises in addition to racquet sports, swimming and DIY!.  The small muscles (referred to as the Rotator Cuff) are easily fatigued if you do chest on one day, shoulder on another, and back on another day - even thought it seems that you are only doing shoulder exercises on one day - the actual shoulder muscles are involved in all of these workouts.

5.Thoracic spine (middle of the back) stiffness. Poor thoracic spine flexibility prevents proper shoulder blade movement. This shoulder blade dysfunction can lead put more load on the shoulder tendons and cause problems. To fix this, mobilise your thoracic spine (see image below)

This only touches the surface regarding shoulder treatment, but if you take this advice on board then hopefully you can enjoy the summer tennis injury free! 




About the Author

Jonathan S

Member since: 7th August 2015

“I graduated at the University of Huddersfield, obtaining a 1st class BSc Honours degree in Physiotherapy. Since then I have specialised in Musculoskeletal Medicine, obtaining both a Masters Degree (MSc)...

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