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By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
October 22, 2017
I will say this with confidence and certainly…you could throw a stick into a crowd of people and most likely hit someone with a shoulder problem. Okay, maybe it is not that probable, but let me tell you about one of the most debilitating areas on your body to injure….the shoulders. I have friends that have shoulder problems, and it is not something to laugh about when you think about the long term implications. I also have some issues with my shoulders as well, mainly due to tightness and the fact they have enough knots to keep a ship’s anchor viable (okay, we seriously need to come up with some good “knot” metaphors…I’m dying here). There has been a lot of news recently about shoulders in the sports world recently, especially when it comes to the long term health of two prominent NFL quarterbacks in Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck. You also have the season long deluge of pitchers in baseball going through shoulder issues. Needless to say, this is a pretty common injury and not everyone can be Emmitt Smith (https://www.bloggingtheboys.com/2012/7/20/3172173/top-ten-cowboys-regular-season-games-2-emmitt-smith-beats-the-giants) Now everyone ultimately thinks the shoulder is just one little joint and is tough as nails, at least according to the movies. Guys will get shot but still have enough power and dexterity to beat the crap out of the bad guy and also dip his love interest in a passionate kiss. Roll credits. We also see endless showcases of guys getting their shoulders dislocated and going on with their life like nothing happened. Again, even Smith needed nearly two weeks off to get back to normal. Needless to say, we need to clear up some misconceptions about the shoulder and learn a little more about the importance of keeping your shoulders loose and limber.
Now bad shoulders is not just something that will affect the best pro athletes, just about any person from any walk of life will saunter into a doctor’s office with some kind of shoulder issue. http://www.anationinmotion.org/value/rotator-cuff/ According to statistics, some 4.5 million people will report having shoulder issues. This is an estimated 3.44 billion dollar problem, which is nowhere near as large of a problem as say heart disease, which some estimates believe blow up one billion in costs PER DAY (not to mention the lost work time). While the shoulders may not be quite as problematic as day the hips would be (which we touched on last week), maintaining good health with the shoulders is essential. Aside from the obvious, how else are you going bench press or do those TRX flies while you body is in a 30-degree angle? Think about all of he little things you need your arms for. The shoulders are essentially the foundation of everything we do arms wise, so it doesn’t matter if you get overuse injuries from doing heavy bench presses or working on computers all day. If you create a usage injury, it will come to bite you badly. I used to have these issues all the time while working at Target, for having load trucks for 12 hours a day didn’t really make for a good time. There were many days where I would go home feeling like garbage and suffering from extremely sore shoulders. And I did this three days in a row. Imagine if I wasn’t in good shape? Or how about the days I had to crawl through attics? The lack of stability could have caused me to hurt myself and even potentially fall through the roof (which was oddly always my father’s biggest fear…hehe). The shoulders are comprised of quite a few muscles, which is why we need to break them down to certain groups. The primary muscles of the shoulder can be divided into two categories: scapulothoracic and scapulohumeral. The scapulothoracic muscles are the muscles that connect the shoulder blades to the thoracic spine (mid-back) and ribs and are mainly responsible for keeping the shoulder blades stable against the torso. The scapulothoracic muscles include the trapezius, rhomboids, and serratus anterior. The trapezius and rhomboids work together to retract or squeeze the shoulder blades together, preventing the shoulders from rounding forward and shrugging up toward the ears while the serratus anterior keeps the shoulder blades flat against the rib cage. The scapulohumeral muscles are the muscles that connect the shoulder blades to the upper arms; essentially, these are the muscles around the shoulder joint. The primary scapulohumeral muscles include the four muscles that make up the rotator cuff (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, subscapularis) and deltoid. The rotator cuff functions to provide stability and maintain alignment of the shoulder joint when you move your arms. The deltoid is the large shoulder muscle at the top of the arms that is seen in the mirror and it functions to move the arm to the front of the body, back of the body, and away from the side of the body. Considering all of the muscles needed to make you shoulders work properly, you owe it to yourself to make sure you do the proper work in the gym. The rotator cuff is typically the most talked about injury in the sports world. It’s usually common among baseball pitchers and third baseman, which is why it is essential if you play fantasy baseball to get a durable third baseman (like one of my fav players Adrian Beltre https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/beltrad01.shtml).
Right here are some good exercise you can start doing today to help with your shoulders strength. http://www.mensfitness.com/training/workout-routines/30-best-shoulder-exercises-all-time Some of these are pretty darn self explanatory, especially when it comes to overhead presses with dumbbells and barbells. Of course, thrown into this mix is Olympic Weight lifting, which includes the standard clean and even the snatch. While weights might not be you thing, there are plenty of band based exercises for people that are looking to work their shoulders back from a potential injury. Exercises like the standing straight band pull or a cross band pull can help produce some solid resistance training for those that are not quite ready to work their shoulders with various weights. And here is something for all of you potential yoga enthusiasts….yoga is also an excellent way to strengthen those pesky shoulders. Truth be told, there are so many good exercise to utilize that working on your shoulders should be an everyday thing in your daily workout routine.
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.