Exercises To Prevent Shoulder Injuries
By Heather Oakes, BSc PGCE PGDip
The shoulder joint moves more than any other joint in your body which means it has a high risk of injury.
Overhead arm movements we do in everyday life such as putting on clothes, reaching for items in cupboards and household cleaning tasks can cause the tendons in the shoulder to become inflamed and painful (often referred to as shoulder impingement).
Making up part of your shoulder joint are 4 rotator cuff muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis). They stabilise the shoulder joint and allow proper use of the arm. They also assist with rotation and lifting the arm overhead.
The trouble with this group of muscles is they get tired easily, which then allows the shoulder to become unstable and potentially lead towards injury, impingement and pain.
You don’t have to be an athlete to injure your shoulder.
Something as simple as sitting with rounded shoulders can place unnecessary pressure on the shoulder joint and it’s supporting muscles leading to imbalances and even more chance of injury.
So how can I use my Tuffit to help prevent shoulder injuries?
Overall, awareness of technique and posture during any exercise will help to reduce the chance of a shoulder injury developing. Sitting with rounded shoulders is very common, and can be easily fixed with awareness, patience and time. What usually happens is you start with perfect posture, and after a few repetitions, those stabilising shoulder muscles get tired, and start to accidentally slouch. When this happens, it is really important that you notice, and correct your posture. Make those stabilising muscles work hard too. You need them to prevent injury.
Making sure you are sitting correctly for all your Tuffit exercises over time, will help you correct your own posture.
Single Arm Row
Start by positioning yourself as shown with your back flat, head in line, and most importantly, shoulders down. Pull the resistance tubing towards your waist, and release under control. Only your arm should move. Keep your body still, and your posture perfect.
Start by sitting on the Tuffit with arms by sides, and check on your posture. Make sure shoulders are down and spine is lengthened. Gradually float arms upwards to the sides making the movement smooth rather than jerky. Remember perfect posture.
Start by positioning yourself as shown. Think ‘perfect posture’ thoughts and adjust your shoulders so they are back and down. Keep them in this position throughout the movement as you pull out and back on the cables. This is fantastic for undoing slouched shoulders and will work wonders in the war against injury.
A combination of strengthening the muscles around your shoulder appropriately, increasing your awareness of your shoulder stability, and performing other moves (such as household chores, gardening, reaching for things, etc) with good technique will go a long way towards keeping rotator cuff injuries away.