Wednesday, 4 January 2012

5/1/2012 Bench more and save your shoulders in the future.

This post will all be from personal experience. When I was 17 years old I got a Rotator Cuff injury in my shoulder while playing rugby. It took 6-8 weeks to heal, but even then I suffered in the gym, especially from shoulder presses behind the back and bench pressing. I went to a Physiotherapist for weeks but still nothing could help. Through trial and error I have eventually figured out how to save an injured shoulder, or prevent an injury and even being able to bench press more.

The Rotator Cuff is made up of 4 muscles (teres minor, infraspinatous, supraspinatous and sucscapularous). These are located at the back of your shoulder. The Rotator Cuff muscle is HUGELY neglected by most bodybuilders and fitness trainers, and a weak Rotator Cuff limits the amount of weight you can press and can eventually cause tears and injur you permanently.

If you already have a serious Rotator Cuff injury and can barely move your shoulder behind your head then you should see a doctor and you might have to have surgery, but if it is only a small strain or you just want to prevent injury altogether and strengthen your bench then these exercises are a must.

Stretch: First of all you need to stretch your shoulders and Rotator Cuff by standing in a door way, placing your hands on the frame of the door way and slowly leaning in towards the door. Stretch for 20 seconds, rest for 20 seconds and repeat for another 20 seconds.


1) Dumbbell/Cable internal rotation - Stand up straight, hold a dumbbell or cable, bend your elbow to a 90 degree angle, keep your elbow tucked in at your side, internally rotate your shoulder to move the cable/dumbbell across your body and return to starting position. Do 10 reps on each arm, and do 2 sets.

NOTE* Do NOT swing your arm or use momentum, use a light  enough weight that enables you to go slow and steady with a controlled movement.
 2) Bent over lateral raise - Using dumbbells stand with your feet shoulder width apart, bend over at the waist, and with your arms extended in front of you, use your rear shoulders to raise the weight until your upper arm is straight with your back, lower the weight again to starting position. Do 10 reps of 3 sets.

NOTE* Once again it is not a weight lifting competition, so use a weight light enough for a controlled movement without momentum.

3) External rotation - Very similar to the internal rotation, except you tuck your elbow in at your side and stretch the muscle away from your body, pause for a second and return to starting position. Do 10 slow, controlled reps, 3 sets.

Do these exercises once to twice a week and you will see that your rear delts will start to strengthen and you will be able to bench more, have move balance and stability and most importantly prevent and injuries.

A couple guys over at forum have suggested a few more exercises that could save your shoulder/rotator cuff. so here are an additional 2 exercises that you can perform.

4) The Scarecrow - Stand with your legs shoulder width apart, bend your knees slightly, and with a weight plate in each hand bend your torso until it is nearly parallel with the ground. Make sure your elbows are bent at a 90 degree angle and your upper arms are in line with your upper back. Now rotate your forearms until the plate is in line with your head, then push the plate out in front of you, then return to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.

5) Scaption exercise - Stand with your legs shoulder width apart, h0ld a dumbbell in each hand, let your arms hang next to your body with your palms facing each other. Without bending your elbows raise your arms in front of you until they are shoulder height. move back to the starting position and do 3 sets of 10 reps.

1 comment:

  1. Yup prevents injury more than anything, use as warm ups and cool downs