Shoulder care

10.108 It is not surprising that shoulder injuries are almost universal among bodybuilders and lifters. ^ere is a catalog of errors that almost all trainees are guilty of to some extent. Some of the errors have even been religiously promoted for decades by some trainers. ^e cost in terms of injuries is beyond measure. Be informed, apply what you learn, ignore those who promote destructive exercises, and save your shoulders.

10.109 While some people, over the short and medium term, may not appear to be suffering harm, watch out over the long term. Exercises notorious for causing shoulder harm include the press behind neck, upright row, lateral raise (especially with the little finger above the thumb), pulldown and pullup behind the neck, fly for the pecs, and pec deck work. ^ere are very few experienced trainees who have not invested a lot of application in one or more of these exercises. Some of these movements are also very harmful for the rotator cuff.

10.110 ^e press behind neck is a traditional shoulder exercise, but one usually confined to trainees in their teens and twenties. Due to shoulder pain it is dropped from the routines of many people as they move into their thirties and beyond. ^e press behind neck is very severe on the shoulders, and is probably at the root of many shoulder and rotator-cuff problems. I do not recommend this exercise, not even for the very young. It is best not to start incubating shoulder problems in the first place, even though no apparent damage is felt to begin with.

10.111 Shoulder damage is also caused by potentially sound exercises which are ruined by distortions. ^ese include the very wide grip bench press and overhead press, dip with the knuckles facing in, very wide grip dip, rockbottom dip, bench press too high on the chest or to the neck, any press that uses an excessive range of motion (including the dumbbell bench press), and the pulldown or pullup to the front but with a very wide grip.

10.112 For lanky trainees the conventional range of motion on bench presses, especially with a close grip, is probably excessive and will cause shoulder problems.

10.113 ^en there is very poor form in a good exercise that uses a safe grip. Such destroyers include not keeping tight at the arms-straight position in the pulldown, pullup or row, wrong bar path in the bench press, swinging and arching in the barbell curl, and slamming into the lockout of pressing moves.

10.114 Excessive training volume or frequency will damage your shoulders. Any shoulder, chest or back exercise heavily works your shoulders. Even on an abbreviated program—where, for example, you train each exercise once a week but while training three times a week altogether—you can overtrain your shoulders. Bench press on Monday, dumbbell row on Wednesday, and press on Friday, means three shoulder workouts per week. ^at will wear down even a superman's shoulders, eventually. Even two demanding shoulder workouts a week is too much for some people. Be careful how you structure your weekly training schedule. Give your shoulders plenty of recovery time.

10.115 Inadequately warming up your shoulders before performing any very demanding exercise for them will cause damage.

10.116 An excessive imbalance between the external (weaker) and internal (stronger) rotator muscles of the shoulders will produce shoulder problems. ^is, on top of the other sources of shoulder havoc just outlined, sets you up for rotator cuff problems. Train the L-fly once or twice a week, to strengthen your shoulder external rotators.

10.117 Rigorously analyze your exercise program, and discover where you are harming your shoulders. Rectify the problems, and you will hugely reduce the chances of shoulder problems ever impeding your training progress.

Getting Started With Dumbbells

Getting Started With Dumbbells

The use of dumbbells gives you a much more comprehensive strengthening effect because the workout engages your stabilizer muscles, in addition to the muscle you may be pin-pointing. Without all of the belts and artificial stabilizers of a machine, you also engage your core muscles, which are your body's natural stabilizers.

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