Tag Archive for Shoulders

Strategies for Safer Shoulder Training

Safer Shoulder Training

Safe and Productive Workouts for Shoulders in Recuperation

Well-sculpted shoulders are a major element in overall upper body development for any bodybuilder to perform well as a competitor. If you take a careful look at the overall upper body development of the finalists on a championship stage, you will always notice that no one has mediocre deltoid development.

The deltoids contribute structurally to both the width of the shoulders and visually enhance almost every pose of the bodybuilder during a contest. Returning to a targeted training routine for the shoulder area while not incurring any new risk is especially critical for any bodybuilder dealing with injury to this area. The deltoids are one muscle group that requires three types of movement for a complete growth: pressing, pulling, and leverage exercises.

Training Around Shoulder Area Injury

Whatever the extent of an injury to any of the shoulder muscles, there are some general guidelines you can follow supporting recovery while also avoiding more injury:

Correct lifting technique – A sound lifting technique is key to recovery, usually it is best achieved by having some direct supervision with a personal trainer or partner.

Lifting optimum amounts of weight – Lifting beyond a safe amount of weight increases the possibility of tissue and structure failure resulting from either poor conditioning of the soft-tissue structures or neurological fatigue, which both contribute to poor technique.

Avoiding overtraining – Be aware that muscles need adequate time to recover from training in order to hypertrophy. If the same body part is trained too frequently, it can leave insufficient time to recover properly, and thus increase inflammation and scar tissue in the area.

Insufficient rest or recuperation = If you do not rest adequately after a training session, it makes it difficult to train heavily at the next session. Also, keep the outside stress factors in your life to a minimum.

Overly repetitive training of the same muscles on the same equipment = Try using a variety of free weights and machines to keep the muscles continually stimulated.

Previously injured areas not healed correctly – One of the main causes of weight training dysfunction is a previous injury that did not heal properly, and is exposed by overloading the joint or muscle.

Rehabilitation, Retraining and Modification

One example of a successful national amateur competitor overcoming major shoulder injury is South Carolina state champion Marion Benton. A serious car accident in 1996 left him first entirely confined to a bed, then in a wheelchair, and finally just using a cane until he could walk again. Two years later, he was able to step onstage again at his first national event, the Junior Nationals, and a year after that won his state title at the NPC South Carolina event. While rehabilitation can include the gradual return to certain familiar core or shaping exercises, there may be some injuries after which some movements need to be avoided completely. “I don’t do 90 degree shoulder presses,” Marion points out about his own modified training. “In fact, I don’t do any exercise as far as heavy weight — and “heavy” being a relative term– I’m just there to work on my body effectively but safely.”

He also continues to be mindful of the safe training techniques and knowledge acquired during his own journey back to complete mobility, strength, and shape when it comes to his recommendations to clients as a personal trainer: “I’m a big believer in kinesiology — muscle form and function. Basically if I see something similar to what I went through, I know how to tell them okay, we’re going to do this exercise to help avoid this injury that you had, but we’re also going to try and strengthen that area as well.” There are points regarding form and performance he often makes to clients that are safety-minded while also aimed at improved results: for instance, “trying to lift too heavy, or bouncing the weight, or feeling they need to rush through the workout or the set — you’ve got to slow it down so that the muscle can feel it.” Aside from that, some exercises require extra care if you continue using them; as Marion points out, with side lateral raises, for instance, “I find I have to continuously tell my clients to go and do the extra set and don’t bend your elbows too much, but don’t straighten them out too much either. You want to put a weight in their hands that probably is easier than what they’ve normally been doing so that they can get the form down correctly.”

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Partner Training for Upper Body Gains

Partner Training

Techniques for Two — Targeting Chest, Back, Shoulders and Arms

With both compound and isolation exercises, partner training can provide a new level of expansion in weight range used or repetitions. Consider a few key exercises for chest, arms, shoulders and back that can be enhanced with some partner training:-

Bench Presses – Targeting both upper and lower pectorals, this upper body compound movement performed with a spotting partner provides an extra pair of eyes to watch for errors such as bouncing of the weight against the chest while lowering the barbell, or avoiding any arching of the back during upward extension, and an extra pair of hands for evenly held support as the trainer approaches exhaustion, or to provide support into a few repetitions past the point of exhaustion.

Incline Bench Dumbbell Flyes – In this seated isolation exercise for the upper pectorals, a bodybuilder can watch out for: his training partner keeping the elbows back during the entire range of the movement; making sure he maintains correct form with a slow semicircular arc movement extending outward to the sides as low as possible, avoiding bouncing the weights in the low position; giving some light support to the elbow near the completion of the set, or helping in pushing his partner toward the failure range. With a partner, there is less chance of swinging the weights too far backward or in an uncontrolled motion that could result in injury.

Seated Cable Rows – This exercise stressing all the muscle groups connected into the back requires focusing on grip and arms during the forward extension and then in the contraction backward with the cable handles. A training partner can make sure that during the contracting movement, his partner is not leaning too far backward as he pulls the cable towards himself; that he has fully arched his back so that the lat muscles are intensely contracted; that he pulls the handles to just touch the lower abdomen; also, that he extends to a fully straightened finish position with arms straightened, avoiding any bending of the knees toward the chest.

T-Bar Machine Rows – One of the best full back exercises, but also a difficult movement to perform both safely, with correct form and full movement. At the end of the movement, the spotting partner should be watching to see that his training partner is using a full range of motion by arching the spine sufficiently each time at the finish position. Also, by not allowing his torso to cheat by moving upward, and ensuring correct form: the arms should be slowly bent and pulling the T-Bar up until the plates are touching the chest, the the reverse movement performed to start position — all in a controlled motion.

Standing Alternate Dumbbell Curls – -This basic standing biceps and forearm flexor exercise can also improve with a spotting partner on hand. Points about posture and performance a spotter can watch for as his training partner gets into a set: keeping the upper arms against the sides of the torso and motionless in this position throughout the movement; maintaining a balanced and steady alternating flow of movement from one arm to the next; provide a very light support at the elbow toward the end of a set or to continue toward failure.

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