If everyone included a little bit more rowing or horizontal pulling exercises in their workout programs, the incidences of shoulder injuries would probably be far less. Most shoulder injuries are posture related, especially when it comes to muscle, tendon or ligament injuries. We live in a very sedentary society. We drive to work or sit on the train. We get to work and sit at a desk or behind the computer. We then drive or take the car home and then sit down on the couch or at the table for dinner. We then sit at the computer checking our email before we go behind. The same cycle starts the next day. And I bet, very few of us are thinking about our posture during that time. We’re not thinking eyes, chest up, shoulders down and back. Instead our head juts forward, chin drops down and shoulders rotate forward. Do this for awhile and you’re just setting yourself up for some type of shoulder injury.
Then for those who go to the gym, the first workout of the week is usually “chest day”. So again the shoulders are internally rotated. After 5 different chest exercises, you might throw one or two back exercises in, right? Oh yeah, don’t forget to do some biceps curls. Curls for the girls . Shoulders rotated internally again. Then for some cardio work, you get on the back or elliptical, while reading the latest issue of People magazine. Shoulders rotated internally again.
As I mentioned earlier, there’s a simple solution to that shoulder injury that’s waiting to happen or already has happened: row more. If more people focused on upper back development and retracting their shoulders blades, we’d see a lot less shoulder injuries. Here are some suggestions:
- Balance out your movement patterns. For every horizontal pressing exercise (bench press as an example) include a horizontal pulling exercise (seated row for instance). And in some cases you might want to do one more horizontal pulling rather than pressing exercise.
- Start your workout with pulling movements. For example if you’re supersetting chest and back exercises, perform the back exercise first then move to the chest exercise.
- Perform a couple more reps of pulling exercises than the pressing exercises. If you’re doing sets of 8 reps for bench presses, perform sets of 10 for seated rows.
It’s a pretty simple concept people. It doesn’t require a whole lot more effort, just a little more thinking. And it will save you a trip to the doctor in the long run.