How to train around shoulder pain
I’ve been told all my life that swimming was the best sport because it was so good for your joints. After spending years in the competitive swimming world, I disagree with that statement. Although the sport can be considered low impact compared to the other physical activities, swimming itself doesn’t guarantee you to be pain and injury free. I was fortunate enough to not have an injury during my career. However, the same can’t be said for my wife who swam at UMass Amherst. She tore her rotator cuff and labrum as a freshman, got it repaired and rehabbed, only to have it tear again as a Senior.
Upon retirement, she opted out of surgery and now is back to lifting weights without issues. How did she do that? It wasn’t through rest, regular stretching, or just hot/ice packs. She modified her activity (retired from swimming) and focused on a strength training program that helped her build the muscles to support her shoulder.
If you experienced some shoulder pain and are scared to return back to a workout routine, but you know you should, here are a couple things to focus on while recovering:
Check your posture. Is your head 2 feet in front of your body? Is your neck crooked or one shoulder higher than the other? Sometimes the asymmetries in your body can identify issues that may have an impact on how different joints function. Even the slightest adjustment to your posture can have a huge improvement on your pain.
How mobile is your upper back? Try out my favorite mobility technique to loosen up not just your neck, but your shoulders in this video.
If you are currently working out or want to get back into exercise, implement a 4 to 1 pull to push ratio. That means that you should be focusing more on pulling exercises such as ring rows and dumbbell rows, instead of pushups and bench press. You can even hold off on pushing exercises while you are healing if you'd like.
When incorporating pushing exercises into your routine, focus on keeping your elbows in close to your ribs so that you can recruit your triceps more. This will take the load off of the shoulder for now, and your rotator cuffs will like that!
Use your legs! This is the perfect time to put a ton of work in your legs, such as squats, lunges, and deadlifts. If you are deadlifting, make sure that you use a double overhand grip so that you can maintain symmetry in your system.
Just like the previous messages, you don’t have to be sidelined by an injury. In fact, this is the perfect time to reevaluate your training routines, and implement the necessary modifications to help you get closer to your goals. However, if your shoulder pain isn't resolving, seek out medical attention (orthopedist, physical therapist, etc.)
If you are scared to return to a group fitness program because of being out of shape or a previous injury, personal training can be a perfect solution for you because you will be given a customized program catered to your needs. When you recover from your injury or when you feel ready to hop back into a group training routine, you can absolutely transition into that! Book your no sweat intro today if you are ready to start that journey.
If you don’t feel ready to start now, we are launching our Couch to Fitness program that is geared towards those who are completely new to fitness! Interested? Reply with “tell me more” to this message.
PS- Our next fundraising event will take place on Saturday, September 14th to support Hope and Future. Their mission is to provide health and wellness programs for youth to give them hope in their academic, social and economic future. This will be in a field day setup so all are invited! Stay tuned for more details on the event!
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