How to Beat Shoulder Pain (And Still Lift)
The most common reason why people get shoulder pain is due to improper training technique. If you are not familiar with proper lifting form then it would be best if you read this article first before proceeding further. There are many reasons why someone gets shoulder pain, but the main one is usually due to overuse or overtraining. Overuse means using the muscles too much which leads to muscle damage and eventually tendonitis. Overtraining is when your body becomes overly sensitive to any type of exercise and therefore begins making you injured.
A good way to avoid these two problems is by understanding proper lifting technique.
What Is Proper Lifting Technique?
Proper lifting technique involves three things: 1) the correct hand position; 2) the right grip; and 3) the proper foot placement. These three elements must all work together to prevent injuries. If any one element fails, then you will get shoulder pain. Therefore, it is very important that you learn how to lift properly so that you don’t suffer from shoulder pain.
Correct Hand Position – The hands should always face forward when performing a pull up or press down motion. If the hands are turned out too far then it will cause a great deal of strain on the muscles which will lead to shoulder pain.
The Right Grip – The grip is another important part when performing weight training exercises. To prevent shoulder pain, the grip should be equal on both hands. If one hand is gripping tighter than the other then it could cause shoulder pain. Another reason why a proper grip is important is due to circulation issues in the hands and arms. Pain in the hands can affect your ability to grip the bar, which could cause it to slip and this in turn could cause injury.
The video below shows proper hand position while lifting:
Proper Foot Placement – Correct foot placement is essential for several reasons. The first reason is if your feet are planted at an incorrect angle then you could strain muscles and possibly cause shoulder pain. Another important reason why your feet should be in the correct position is to maintain balance. If you are not stable while lifting then you could lose control of the weight which could possibly cause an injury. The video below shows proper foot placement while lifting:
Starting Off Slow During Workouts
It can be very tempting to jump right into a workout routine that you find on the internet. There are many free workout plans online that claim to help you get a six pack in a week. These types of routines are not only overly aggressive but they can lead to severe muscle strain and injury. If you are new to lifting then it is best to start off slow by only increasing your weight load by ten percent each week. This slow and steady increase will help your muscles adapt effectively to the new stress that is being placed on them.
Slowly Working Up To The heavier Weights
Another thing that can cause shoulder pain when working out is trying to lift too much weight. This is a pretty common problem with beginning weight lifters. They start lifting and they get excited when they start lifting heavier and heavier weights. The problem with this is that the muscles have to adapt to these new weights. If you try to lift too much too quickly then you will cause yourself severe muscle strain and possibly even tears.
Always Warm Up First
Before any kind of workout it is always a good idea to warm up. A proper warm up will raise your core body temperature, increase blood flow to the muscles and get the joints movable. It is also a good idea to do some kind of cardiovascular exercise as well for 5 to 10 minutes. This will get your heart rate up and make it beat faster. Having a faster heartbeat will prime the muscles for what is to come during your weight lifting routine.
The video below shows a good warm up routine:
Proper Form & Technique
No matter how strong you are, if you do not have correct form and technique then you are never going to see the muscle growth that you are looking for. With proper form, you will be able to use the power of your whole muscles instead of just the strongest parts. This is going to help prevent any muscular imbalances from forming and also help to prevent injury. Having proper form also helps to push the muscles to their maximum potential. The more you can challenge your muscles, the more strength and muscle you will build in response.
The video below shows proper weight lifting form:
Stretching After Workouts
Another thing that a lot of people forget to do is to stretch after they are done with their workout. If you do not take the time to stretch your muscles after lifting weights, then you can cause some of them to tear and not recover fully. Not recovering properly can cause a decrease in the amount of weight that you can lift at one time. Stretching also helps to relieve muscle tension which helps to prevent soreness and allows for faster recovery after a workout. The best way to stretch after a workout is to hold each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds and repeat 2 to 4 times.
The video below shows some great stretches that you should do after lifting weights:
Proper Rest & Hydration
It is also very important to get enough rest and eat enough food so that your muscles can recover. Most people forget to do this or don’t realize how important it is. You need to give your muscles at least 48 hours of rest before trying to lift the same muscles again. This allows for the lactic acid that builds up in the muscles after a workout to clear out. If you do not allow for proper recovery then you can do some serious damage to your muscles and tendons.
Also, keeping yourself hydrated is also very important because your muscles are made up of roughly 70% water. If you do not drink enough water then this can cause a decrease in the amount of weight that you can lift.
The Mind Muscle Connection
Another important element in weight lifting and building muscle is the mind muscle connection. This is a concept that was popularized by body builders and professional athletes who are in strength sports. The concept is that you are supposed to think about the muscles that you are using and feel the muscle contractions when you lift. This may sound silly, but studies have shown that when people are told to do this, then they can activate muscles that they weren’t aware that they had. They can also increase the muscle contractions and strength in the muscles that they normally use.
Your mind does have a direct connection to your muscles and how they work. This is why some people can pick up things with their pinky finger easily and other struggle with it. Some people’s brains just tell the muscles to contract easier. This is also why some people can jump higher or run faster than others. Their brains are telling their muscles to react in a certain way that allows them to perform better.
This may sound like a load of pseudoscience, but studies have shown that this concept can increase strength in athletes by 2x if they use it properly.
I will now talk about the things that you should avoid if you want to build muscle as your primary goal:
Long Duration Cardio
I am not saying that cardio is bad, but cardio for long periods of time can actually have a negative effect on your body’s ability to build muscle. Studies have shown that long duration cardio causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. This reduces the amount of testosterone in your body and can lower your muscle building capabilities.
So what is the best way to handle this?
The best thing to do when you are trying to build muscle while doing cardio would be to limit your cardio to 30 minutes or less. Anything past that can start having a negative effect on your muscles. The next best thing to do would be to include short breaks every 10-20 minutes during your cardio session. This will allow for enough recovery for your muscles, but also still provide the cardiovascular workout that you desire.
Another thing that can hinder your muscle building goals is drinking alcohol. Alcohol has been shown to lower your testosterone levels and also cause muscle loss. This may seem counter intuitive considering that drinking can make you feel like eating carbs, but just remember that the next day you will be lacking in testosterone and this can cause your body to not build as much muscle.
The final thing that can cause problems is skipping arm day or any other day for that matter. Many people believe that they can get away with just working out their larger muscles such as chest, back, and legs. The problem with this is that in order to have a well-balanced physique you need to work out all your muscles. If you work on just the larger muscles and neglect the smaller ones then your body will end up out of proportion. This isn’t a big deal if you are going to wear a skin tight suit or just your underwear around other people.
However, if you actually want to have a long term physique goals and plan on wearing regular clothes or anything that would make your arms look smaller then you are going to have to work your arms.
In order to build muscle in your arms you will need to perform exercises that work on building the muscles in that area. This means that in addition to bench pressing and squatting you will need to do exercises such as bicep curls, tricep extensions, and shoulder presses.
Sources & references used in this article:
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Healing back pain: The mind-body connection by A Sitges-Serra, L Lorente, JJ Sancho – Gland surgery, 2013 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Maximum weights of lift acceptable to male and female industrial workers for extended work shifts by JE Sarno – 2001 – books.google.com
How late it was How Late by A Mital – Ergonomics, 1984 – Taylor & Francis
Taming The Black Dog: How to Beat Depression-A Practical Manual for Sufferers, Their Relatives and Colleagues by M Vineyard – 2007 – Da Capo Lifelong Books
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