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Finding Happiness
Healthy Lifestyle
Don’t Give it the Cold Shoulder

Oct 6th, 2018

Category: Body

Don’t Give it the Cold Shoulder

Shoulders can be a tough area to properly exercise to the full extent due to tendencies toward overuse injuries and rotator cuff tears. This blog addresses some of the primary exercises that may need to be

avoided, as well as suggests alternate movements to perform in order to effectively train your shoulders for your individual needs. As always, we recommend you come into moreFIT and sign up with one of our Personal Trainers to help you tailor your work-outs to all of your needs!


Upright Row

Why You Should Avoid It: This move was popularized by bodybuilders in the 1980s because it hit the deltoids hard. While there is nothing wrong with that, it did little for the functional aspects of the shoulder, and many folks did not use proper form. Also, back in the ‘80s, many people did not spend their days sitting at computers and hunched over smartphones, rounding their shoulders. Thus, most

anyone lifting in 2018 comes to the upright row with rounded shoulders and muscle dysfunction that is only exacerbated by this exercise.

What You Should Do Instead: Physioball Ys and Ts. Lie face-down on a physioball with a pair of light dumbbells and bring your shoulder blades together to raise your arms to a “Y” for 10-12 reps, then a set of “Ts” for 10-12 reps. You will strengthen and stabilize the shoulders, reducing the risk of shoulder injury.


Kipping Pullup

Why You Should Avoid It: Some believe these swinging pull-ups popularized by CrossFit are cheating. Even if you accept kipping as a legitimate pull-up, it is a recipe for shoulder injury. Most of us non-gymnasts lack the shoulder stability to pull these off without risking a rotator cuff tear. Unless you’re training for a CrossFit competition, do not perform them.

What You Should Do Instead: A conventional pull-up with an overhead grip or a chin-up with an underhand grip. Draw your shoulder blades together to lift yourself up. Squeezing the shoulder blades back and down not only builds the shoulders, it counteracts the effects of sitting.  You can use a band or tubing to assist until you can fully

pull yourself up, if necessary.




Battling Ropes

What You Should Do Instead: Grab a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells and walk around the room once or twice (a.k.a.

Farmer’s Walk). Keep your shoulders back and down, your

posture perfect, and you’ll strengthen your shoulders rather than damaging them.


Ring Dips

Why You Should Avoid It:  Severe rotator cuff damage is probably without using the proper form. You might want to leave this workout to the pro gymnasts instead of risking doing serious damage to your shoulders by doing them incorrectly.


What You Should Do Instead: Physioball push-ups. The idea of building shoulder stability by training on an unstable surface makes sense. But the physioball push-up is a safer move than ring dips. Place your hands on the side of the ball and slowly lower your body before pushing up.


Behind-the-Neck Pulldown

Why You Should Avoid It: Whether it is a barbell or bar attached to a cable, pulling or pressing anything behind the neck puts undue strain on the rotator cuff and neck while providing no additional value to the shoulders.


What You Should Do Instead: An alternating dumbbell press is a safer move for the shoulder and a more effective one since lowering one dumbbell at a time builds stability, especially if you push or “pulse” a little further at the top of each rep.



Kettlebell Swing

Why You Should Avoid It: It’s a terrific move powered by your lower body, specifically the glutes and hamstrings. Unfortunately, many people are so tight in these areas that they swing from the shoulders, making it a dangerous move.

What You Should Do Instead: The kettlebell swing is not meant to be a shoulder move, so you should substitute something that will ensure you do not try to make it one. The goblet squat encourages proper squatting form and glute activation. Master the goblet squat and you’ll perform a kettlebell swing with proper form, using the glutes and hamstrings.


Bench Dip

Why You Should Avoid It:  Dips are a good all-purpose, no-equipment bodyweight move that can be done indoors or outside. Unfortunately, the bench or chair version of dips requires too much internal shoulder rotation and can pinch the rotator cuff.


What You Should Do Instead: Conventional bench dips on parallel bars place a bit of the load on the biceps as well as the triceps. Not as convenient as benches and chairs, but less likely to damage the shoulders.



*(References:  American Council on Exercise and Muscle & Fitness)