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April 4, 2009

Peventing Shoulder Injuries while Weight Training

Protect your shoulders by following these tips….

1.  Do not ignore shoulder pain.  Training through the pain will only lead to further and more severe injury.

2.  Avoid exercises where the arm is abducted (raised to the side) in an internally rotated position, such as upright rows and thumbs-pointed-down laterals.  Also, do not raise the arms above 90 degrees while performing lateral raises.

3.  Strengthen the external rotator muscles of the shoulder and keep them strong.  This process involves consistency in performing rotator cuff strengthening exercises, not just when you have an injury.  The strength of the rotator cuff muscles should keep pace with the strength of the pects and deltoid muscles.

4.  Keep the internal shoulder rotators flexible to avoid shortening.  Be careful to avoid instability.  Forceful stretching and stretching with weights should be avoided.

5.  Avoid exercises where the rotator cuff is under extreme load.

6.  Warm up the shoulders carefully before exercising them.

7.  Strengthen the middle and lower traps and rhomboids to increase shoulder stability and ensure better scapular stabilization and avoid protracted shoulder posture problems.

8.  Avoid the pullover exercise or use with extreme caution.  Care should be taken not to extend the arms too far back.

March 4, 2009

Preventing Neck Injuries while Weight Training

Unfortunately, people seek out my care to reduce neck pain that could have easily been prevented in the gym by following these few easy tips:

1.  Keep the cervical spine in a neutral position.  Avoid pushing or holding the head forward, flexed, or extended.  Avoid turning the head during the performance of an exercise in which the neck muscles are involved.  Tuck the chin in slightly and look straight ahead.

2.  Make sure to perform range-of-motion flexibility exercises for the neck as part of your warm-up and cool down.

3.  Avoid doing exercises behind the head.  These exercises promote the development of forward head posture and may contribute to a neck injury.  Always perform these exercises in front of your head.

4.  Avoid unnecessarily tensing the neck and jaw muscles while training.  Try to direct all of your energy to the working muscles.  During the bench press keep your head resting on the bench and relaxed.  A rolled up towel placed under the head and neck my help provide enough support.

5.  Correct or balance your postural abnormalities, such as an increased thoracic kyphosis and forward head posture, with correct muscle activation prior to engaging in some exercises.

6.  Strengthen the neck.  Use lightweights, high repetitions, and progress very slowly.  Isotonic exercises are probably best.  However, if moderate to severe arthritis is present, isometric exercises may be better.

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