Shoulder health

Discussion in 'Kettlebell' started by deviant, May 20, 2019.

  1. deviant

    deviant Double-Digit Post Count

    It's not a revelation that high volume lifting can wreck the joints involved. Snatch, clean and to some degree jerk place considerable load on the shoulder joint.

    How. Do. You.... Try mitigate the possible overuse and reduce the risk of shoulder injury. Sure, good warm up etc. But any favourite stretches, shoulder exercises, hangs?
    Nicole Kennedy likes this.
  2. piratebum

    piratebum Triple-Digit Post Count

    pull ups cured my impingement issues. Which included hanging.
    spicykaiju and JamesPTA like this.
  3. Adam R Mundorf

    Adam R Mundorf More than 500 posts

    I do passive bar hanging, active bar haging with twisting, seated twisting and straight bridges. Of course joint circling. Above all though, I'm meticulous about form when it comes to overhead movements like the snatch. I don't shoot for numbers but for quality movement. Never push to pain when it comes to joints.
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
  4. guardian7

    guardian7 More than 500 posts

    This video was recommended on this board. It is a great one. Band work.


    I suggest hindu pushups as a restorative exercise after shoulder work.

    Face pulls as well. hang from a bar I agree.

    The book "Flexible Steel" has a daily mobility routine that will help. See the section on "escape your fighting stance".
  5. Shawn90

    Shawn90 More than 500 posts

    Arm bars. Keep an eye on your posture. I don't stretch at all. When I sense tightness in a muscle (area) I contract the opposite of that muscle (area )

    Imho you have to be really "motivated" in your practice to overload a perfectly stable joint.
    Nicole Kennedy and JamesPTA like this.
  6. Nicole Kennedy

    Nicole Kennedy First Timer

    I have shoulder problems and I have found a protocol that I really like to help with my shoulder health.
    At the end of every session I do Arm Bars and Pull-overs. I do them light enough that I can focus on the movement and active stretching. I often do a Pull-over or two without weight and do a PIR(Post-Isometric Relaxation) type stretch to get increased range of motion. If I do not do these exercises or I do them poorly, my shoulders hurt the next day.
    KenKennedy and guardian7 like this.
  7. Steve W.

    Steve W. Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I've had two rotator cuff surgeries to repair tears suffered while playing basketball, but I no longer have any kind of shoulder discomfort and can lift overhead pain-free and without restrictions. My biggest bang for the buck shoulder tune-ups:

    --Original Strength crawling and rocking variations.
    --The David Allen band pull-apart super series (posted above by @guardian7).
    --Mace and clubbell swinging.
    --Dislocates using a PVC pipe (I didn't start noticing results from these until I did them very consistently and patiently over time, keeping my hands at a comfortable distance and not trying to force progress).
    --KB snatches.
    --The D I C K Hartzell band stretches (I have to write his first name that way or the language filter makes a mess of it), especially the set up with the band looped around the elbow and hand in the video below. I do my own variations of this kind of stretching, but I find that the band set up that captures the elbow makes a huge difference (and IMO should be widely used in physical therapy circles, although none of the many physical therapists I've worked with had ever seen it before):

    Things that have been counterproductive:
    --Any sort of wall slide variation.
    --Focusing on "packing the shoulders" when lifting overhead. In my opinion and experience, rigidly keeping the shoulders "down and back" (as "shoulder packing" is commonly taught and implemented) is a recipe for impingement.

    Things that have been of marginal benefit:
    --I, Y, T, W exercises.
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  8. HUNTER1313

    HUNTER1313 More than 500 posts

    I'm curious as to why PVC pipe? I sometimes use a bungie cord or a broomstick.
    guardian7 likes this.
  9. Steve W.

    Steve W. Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    For me, a rigid object works better for dislocates than a band or anything that stretches (and I love bands for just about anything else).

    A broomstick may be too short for many people, especially just starting out. PVC pipe is light, cheap, readily available, and easy to get cut to whatever length you need.
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  10. Philippe Geoffrion

    Philippe Geoffrion More than 500 posts

    I think intelligent programming is a must. Most of these movements should reinforce your shoulder strength, not break it down. Proper training should mitigate the need to add moves to alleviate shoulder issues.
    It's not really volume that ruins it, but excess volume, not backing off or cycling, pushing sets beyond proper form, poor recovery habits, junk reps that cause the issues.

    I've torn my pec, labrum and have chronic tendinosis of my infraspinatus. The only time my shoulder feels wonky, is when I push my intensity or volume too hard and start grinding out reps with poor form. Often times, light workouts without changing exercises remedy this.

    However, windmills, bent arm bars, get-ups, light sots presses are all great to build a sheath of armor around this vulnerable joint. Pulling a bit more, i.e. rows and company can help if you're past the point of a little pain. Take note of your posture as well. Anything that pulls your shoulder blades back and down and pops your chest up strengthens the often weak muscles around the scapula. Swing, high pulls, snatches and cleans w/ k- bell all accomplish this when done correctly.
    Kiacek, Zack and guardian7 like this.
  11. Opiaswing

    Opiaswing Double-Digit Post Count

    I absolutely second both of these. I have been suffering with a shoulder issue for the past 9 months. Physio didn't help. Since i injured it, something has changed in my shoulder; it now clicks and cracks in ranges of motion which it never did before.

    Passive hanging, followed by straight arm active hangs (almost daily) for time have worked wonders. Passive hangs will stretch the lats and open up space in between the humerus and the acromion allowing more space for the tendon to pass through decreasing chances of impingement, whilst active hangs will strengthen all of those muscles that hold your shoulder blades in place. You can then work up to active hangs with hollow body, then active hangs in an L sit, etc.

    You also might be surprised to find how stiff your scapula are when you first try this. I will specify the only thing that should be moving is your scapula - just pull your shoulder blades down, but keep your elbows locked out - this is an important point. You might feel like you can't do this much without bending your elbows, but that's just because you don't have good scapula control at the moment... At least that was the case with me.

    Since I have focused on doing them strictly with elbows locked out, my shoulders have experience a huge improvement in stability and scapula control and a decrease in pain. Friends have commented on my posture, too.
  12. Adam R Mundorf

    Adam R Mundorf More than 500 posts

    I had the same exact experience with shoulder packing.

    Here's an interesting thread on shoulder packing from 2013 : What is shoulder packing?

    Derrick's post was really eye opening.
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
    Steve W. likes this.
  13. Anders

    Anders Triple-Digit Post Count

    I used to have a very stiff shoulder, due to excess mobility and low stability. Then I started doing overhead walks and holds, with one and two kettlebells. I also did crawling and planks. Lastly I did different types of isolation movements for the back of the shoulders. Not sure what helped, but I no longer have pains in my shoulders.
    Nicole Kennedy likes this.
  14. Zack

    Zack Triple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    "An ounce of prevention" is the key here and it should manifest in the programming.

    A well-balanced routine that respects recovery and keeps the ego in check goes a long way.

    That said, the above posts have some great ideas and here are a few more (the Lat Fly is a personal favorite):
  15. H. Mac

    H. Mac Double-Digit Post Count

    I’ve had tears to both rotator cuffs, and was told that my days of doing pull ups, levers, etc. were over. Fortunately, these exercises are once again my favorites, and I do more of them - and do them more often - than I did in the past.

    My advice for protecting shoulder health is pretty simple:

    First, prolonged sitting in front of a computer poses a serious danger to shoulder health. It’s almost like “negative yoga,” and can undo the benefits of exercising pretty quickly. Standing desks, taking breaks for periodic stretching, etc. will help avoid problems.

    Second, Indian Club exercises are almost magical for shoulder health. The exercises easy to learn, and the benefits are noticeable. They make those popping and catching feelings that sometimes accompany shoulder movement lessen or completely disappear.

    Finally, stretching is as vital as strengthening.
  16. Pavel Macek

    Pavel Macek More than 2500 posts Master Instructor

    StrongFirst RESILIENT | StrongFirst
  17. guardian7

    guardian7 More than 500 posts

    I am very interested in this scapular active hanging. It is harder to concentrate on scapular control when you are doing full strict pullups, there is so much else going on.

    Is this an isometric hold or a rep with a tiny range of motion, literally centimeters I would guess?

    What are the keywords to search? Scap pullup got examples with a much larger ROM than you are describing? Thanks. Between computer work, pressing and Muai Thai workouts I need this. My left shoulder doesn't feel as good as my right. I am doing armbars and passive hanging right now and TGUs. And banded dislocations but the root of the problem is scapular control it seems so it helps a lot but does not get to the root of the problem which is strength or strength imbalances as usual.

    I took the same approach to almost curing plantar fasciitis (heel and tightness on the bottom of the foot) myself. Ditched the orthotics, went barefoot and actually started jumping rope in Muay Thai class to strengthen my feet as well as stretching them. It worked.
  18. deviant

    deviant Double-Digit Post Count

    The orthopedic surgeon by the name Kirsch (I think) wrote the whole book on hanging. Hang, let your shoulders come out of the sockets and just hang. 3 sets of 30 seconds a day is his recipe. Apparently it increases coraco-acromial space and alleviates impingement. He did a study on that - half of the recruited patients were offered surgery, but didn't need it at the end.
    guardian7 likes this.
  19. Opiaswing

    Opiaswing Double-Digit Post Count

    Guardian, I have copy and pasted some further responses from another thread. I will also link the thread below as it may offer you some useful info. But I hold for time. At first, your ROM will literally be cm as you mentioned, however your scapula will become more and more mobile and your scapula control will increase.

    How to fix scapula winging during bodyweight exercises?

    guardian7 likes this.
  20. Tall guy Andrew

    Tall guy Andrew Double-Digit Post Count

    I have a bad shoulder, and honestly, the mobility movements taught in Pavel's book "Super Joints" have helped a lot. Shoulder circles, Arm circles, Russian Pool almost every day seems to work for me.
    Steve Freides likes this.

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