Not the best shoulder exercises…

rotator cuff injury

Rotator Cuff Injuries SUCK!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are literally thousands of possible exercises that you can do to help build muscle and increase strength.

However, that does not mean that they are all worth doing. In fact, depending on who is doing them, some exercises can cause more harm than good- especially to your shoulders.

If you have been reading my blog for any length of time then you already know that I LOVE basic, foundational movements including squats, deadlifts, pull ups, presses, rowing and their many variations.

However, there are some exercises that I have found to be less than optimal and are rarely (if ever) utilized as part of the exercise programs I design. These exercises can cause harm to one of the areas of your body most susceptible to injury- your shoulders. The following are not the best exercises for your shoulder:

Behind the neck pull-downs.  If you simply watch a person perform this movement from a side view you will quickly see why it isn’t the best choice for a back exercise. The big issue I have with these is that in order to perform them correctly your shoulders must be externally rotated as much as possible and this can lead to major shoulder problems. Most people lack the shoulder flexibility necessary to perform this safely. A better option is to perform your pull-downs to the front- not the back. Another option is to use a deviated (palms facing) or reverse grip. These two positions are much easier on the shoulder joints and still get the job done.

 

Behind the neck press. Another no-no for most of us. The problem again is that most people do not have the shoulder flexibility to perform this movement safely and this puts them at risk of a serious rotator cuff injury. A better option is to perform dumbbell presses with your palms facing each other as this does not subject the shoulders to extreme amounts of external shoulder rotation. Another exercise you can try is known as the “Arnold” press (I am sure you know which famous person it is named after). With the Arnold press your palms move from facing your body in the lower position and then rotate forward as you press your arms overhead.

 

Upright rows with barbell. This exercise poses a problem for the exact opposite reason as the previous two discussed above. With the upright row your shoulders are subject to extreme inward rotation and this position exposes your shoulder to injury when performed using anything more than very light weights (which kind of defeats the purpose of doing the exercise in the first place). A better option is to perform upright rows using dumbbells but I am not crazy about this exercise either. Personally I abandoned all versions of upright rows as I do not feel that this exercise is a good fit for my shoulders at this time. Instead I prefer to do an exercise called “face pulls” using a rope attachment as this helps to strengthen the muscles of the rotator cuff rather than tick them off!

 

Before I get a bunch of hate mail about this post I would like to go on record as saying that the exercises above are not a bad choice for everyone- they are just bad for those of us who lack the shoulder flexibility to do them safely- and in my experience this means most people.

 

Let me know if YOU have had any injuries and what you think caused them!

This post was written by

Bruce – who has written posts on Cutting edge muscle building and fat loss secrets.
bruce krahn is a best-selling author, writer, researcher, personal trainer and professional speaker. he has coached people for two decades both in person and online. he created this site to be an honest source of useful, practical information you can use to improve your health, build muscle, lose fat and get the lean body look.

Email  • Google + • Facebook  • Twitter

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

About

bruce krahn is a best-selling author, writer, researcher, personal trainer and professional speaker. he has coached people for two decades both in person and online. he created this site to be an honest source of useful, practical information you can use to improve your health, build muscle, lose fat and get the lean body look.

4 Responses to “Not the best shoulder exercises…”

  1. Beverley Maciel says:

    I hear you loud and clear! I have suffered a frozen shoulder for the past year and a half and I’m only now starting to get a little more mobility. I’m sure that I got this from behind the neck pull-downs. My fault as well because I kept doing them in the weight class at the gym even though they bothered me. Needless to say, frozen shoulder has limited me from doing a lot of upper body exercises as I haven’t been able to lift my arm higher than my shoulder. I didn’t know about upright rows with a barbell though. And yes, I was doing those too.

    I also found that exercises on my back with knees bent lifting a barbell above my head and lowering it behind my head was also not good for my shoulder and I couldn’t do them.

    I think it’s great that you’ve written about this. Shoulder injuries are horrible.

    • Beverley Maciel says:

      Sorry, forgot to check off “notify me of followup comments” when I sent my previous email.

    • admin says:

      Thanks Beverley! If possible, here is a good exercise for you to start doing- they are called “face pulls”. You can see a video here: http://bit.ly/HegloQ
      Start very light and only do it if the movement does not cause pain. Thanks for your comment and I hope that this helps.

  2. Mose Gerczak says:

    exercise is really necessary for the maintennance of our body. cardio and strength training are great.”

    My personal web portal
    http://www.foodsupplementdigest.com/vitamin-d-deficiency-treatment/

Leave a Reply