The shoulder is a very unique part of the human anatomy. Like the knee, another common area of injury in athletes, the shoulder takes on a large portion of stress during a workout with little support. In weightlifting, this is especially true as the most popular lifts focus on the shoulders, arms, and chest. Overtime, these workouts can lead to serious pain and injury if you don’t take the necessary precautions during your workout. If you consistently find yourself having shoulder pain while working out, you’re not alone. Following are the 5 mistakes you are making in the gym that is causing you shoulder pain and what you can do to prevent it.
You Don’t Warm Up
One of the simplest ways to prevent shoulder pain is often one of the most overlooked. For some reason, people don’t seem to warm up for weightlifting as much as they would for other activities like sports even though weightlifting can be much more physically demanding. If you are going to be doing heavy lifting with your shoulders, the muscles, ligaments, and tendons need to be properly warmed up and stretched to avoid injury. Not sure what to do? There are plenty of simple shoulder exercises that will get your body warm and ready for a workout.
Your Form is Wrong
Ask any personal trainer and they will tell you the biggest problem new weightlifters face is poor form. Simply jumping into a weightlifting regimen without a proper understanding of form is a recipe for injury, especially in the fragile shoulder joint. If you notice pain develop after shoulder workouts, take a closer look at your form and speak with a personal trainer at your gym to check it for you. Taking the time to lift with the right form will make the difference between a great workout and chronic shoulder pain, and it can also help improve your overall performance, as well.
Your Workouts Lack Balance
The muscles of our body are designed to accomplish two tasks: pushing and pulling. In weightlifting, people tend to place more focus on pushing weights away from their bodies, which is done in the most popular exercises like bench and shoulder presses. When you don’t put equal emphasis on building your muscles both through pushing and pulling, imbalances can occur in your muscle development that can lead to injury. This is especially true for shoulders as muscle imbalances around the shoulder girdle is one of the leading causes of injuries in the weight room. During your workout routine, make sure to include equal lifts that involve pushing and pulling to ensure balance is achieved in your shoulder muscles.
You Over train Through Pain
The popular saying “pain is just weakness leaving the body” has been used for years to help athletes and weightlifters push through pain to reach the next level. But often times weightlifters confuse normal wear of the body after working out with the early signs of a serious injury. What happens next is they keep lifting through this pain until one day a serious injury occurs. Although it can be difficult to know the difference between the two, by understanding the symptoms of serious shoulder injuries you can be better prepared to prevent injury. If shoulder pain arises, take a break and allow your body to recover before lifting again.
You Only Focus on Glamour Muscles
For most people, lifting weights is all about building muscles that make you look great by the pool or at the beach. Because of this, many people focus solely on training the specific muscles that show the most results. The problem with this approach is that it creates muscle imbalances that can lead to injury. The shoulder is made up of a series of muscles, and if you only focus on building glamour muscles like your deltoids, you could be forgetting about the smaller supporting muscles that stabilize the shoulder and prevent injury. Making sure all muscles receive the attention they deserve will help prevent injury while still helping you look great next summer.
Although there is no cure-all solution to preventing shoulder pain in the gym, avoiding the aforementioned mistakes will greatly reduce your probability of getting injury. The best piece of advice you can take to the gym is to listen to your body. Over training is one of the leading reasons weightlifters get shoulder pain, so make sure to take a break when pain begins to arise. After all, it is better to take a day off to prevent injury than to be sidelined for months with a nagging shoulder injury.
About the Author:
Dr. Marc Browner is the Co-Owner of Active Life Chiropractic in Plantation, Florida. A graduate of the University of Florida in 1991, he earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life Chiropractic in 1995. In private practice since 1998, Dr. Browner is a member of the Florida Chiropractic Society, the Florida Chiropractic Association, and he attends continuing education seminars, classes, and workshops to remain abreast of the most current treatment methods and technological advances in the field.