Are You Balancing Your Shoulder Workouts??

Are You Balancing Your Shoulder Workouts?

At Absolute we see a large number of shoulder injuries often related directly to the two main injury causes – overtraining and poor program design – one common program design fault made by personal trainers and their clients relates to unbalanced exercise choices.

The concept of balance in the shoulder area is nothing new – it may relate to balancing the shoulder internal rotators with the external rotators, or balancing the humeral head depressors with the humeral head elevators – however the most common recent issue relates to simply not balancing the planes of motion in shoulder related exercises – let me explain…….

The majority of weight training programs include some version of the old favourite – the Bench Press – either machine based or free weight – in the performance of this exercise the Gleno Humeral Joint (shoulder joint) goes through a basic motion of Horizontal Adduction – ie the humerus starts at 90 degrees of abduction and then moves in the horizontal plane across in front of the body – simple enough so far?

Now the use of the Bench Press exercise is a fair enough choice – although highly over-rated (the topic for another discussion no doubt) - but to truly balance this exercise its counterbart back exercise also needs to be in a horizontal plane of movement, for example the 'Bent Over Row'. Can you see that the wide grip action of the Bent Over Row is the exact opposite exercise to the Bench – ie Gleno Humeral Horizontal Abduction.

It is a shame that the Bent Over Row has been replaced by the easier to teach – supported row and cable row – as these more popular exercises often use a more flexion / extension motion at the shoulder joint – and not the required Horizontal movements that provide better balance for the shoulder joint.

So do your clients a favour and include the old favourite “Bent Over Rows” – shoulder width grip – with elbows out to the side – not only a great exercise for the middle back but can also assist with shoulder injury prevention – Happy Rowing.