Prevent this injury and stay on your fitness path by following Bondi Beauty’s top tips in rotator cuff care.
Warm up properly – 5 minutes on a stationary bike does not effectively warm up the joints and muscles of your upper body before a gym workout. Nor does a jog around the court prepare your body for a big overhead serve in tennis. Ensure your warm up really reflects the workout you are about to do.
Big and small – your fitness program needs to include exercises for the lesser known external rotator muscles of your shoulder joint, such as infraspinatus and rear deltoid, as well as the better known internal rotator muscles of your chest and back . These muscles are smaller so only require light weights and band work. If you don’t know how to do this, get a professional to design your program.
Stability as well as strength – the shoulder joint is the most mobile joint in the human body and requires lots of muscles to coordinate to stabilise it during movement. The aim of your exercise program and focus during your session must be strength plus stability, not strength alone. This is even more important if your gym training is providing a fitness foundation for a performance sport.
Technique, technique, technique – tendons can become swollen causing impingement and pain if you constantly repeat the same movement with poor technique. Whenever you are learning a new sport or just a new exercise, take the time and seek the guidance to learn the correct technique from the outset, especially in overhead activities.
Interconnected not isolated – even if you are focusing on working your upper body or participating in a throwing sport, your body does not compartmentalise. Over 50% of shoulder force is generated through trunk and leg flexibility, strength and power, so it is still essential to train your whole body.
Set the scapular – sitting in the car, bus, train, at your desk or on the couch can all lead to an inward rotation of the shoulders. The more sedentary your lifestyle the more this habit may affect your shoulder position in daily life and even your workouts.
Learning to set your shoulders (back and down) will improve your posture and benefit your exercise performance by making sure the right muscles are activated, to the right degree, all the time.
By Rachel Livingstone Personal Trainer and Owner of The Health Hub www.healthhub.net.au
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