Shoulders are a common source of pain and injury both in active and inactive men. Shoulder issues most commonly caused by improper movement patterns, weakness and lack of mobility in the muscles that attach to and work with the shoulders, poor posture throughout the day, inactivity, and imbalanced exercise. With the proper exercises on a regular basis, an improvement in overall daily movement patterns, shoulder pain can be a thing of the past.
This informative blog includes:
- Common Issues Related to Shoulder Pain & Injury
- Challenges & Causes of Shoulder Pain & Injury
- Exercises to Strengthen Shoulders & Prevent Injury
- How can Man Flow Yoga help?
Common Issues Related to Shoulder Pain & Injury
- Pain during exercise, or the day afterwards.
- Shoulder pain on a daily or chronic basis.
- Clicking, crunching, or grinding in your shoulder joint when you move your arms.
- Rotator cuff pain issues or other miscellaneous shoulder pain & discomfort.
- Lack of shoulder flexibility, poor posture during the day.
Challenges & Causes of Shoulder Pain & Injury
- Our daily movement habits – sitting at a chair and typing on our phones or keyboards. Most people spend at least 6 hours per day sitting in a chair or working on a computer. During this time, we default to using poor posture, which causes the shoulders to round forward. This weakens the muscles of the shoulders and upper-back, while tightening the main chest (pectoral) muscles. This alone can cause shoulder pain and discomfort.
- Weak shoulders and upper-back; weakness in the pulling muscles. Most people do too much pushing and not enough pulling exercises. This can make the shoulders vulnerable to injury, especially in overhead motions such as an overhead press, throwing, and even swinging.
- Lack of shoulder flexibility and mobility. Not having the flexibility to lift your arms straight overhead without arching your back means you have a lack of shoulder flexibility. This can lead to improper movement patterns that cause injury, especially in areas like the rotator cuff, a source of common shoulder injury.
- Lack of hip strength, hip mobility, and core strength. Your body is interconnected, and when your hips lack strength or mobility, then your shoulders will tend to round forward and you’ll try to use your upper-body to do work that your hips and core should be doing. Having a weak core leads to poor posture, which causes improper positioning of the shoulders.
How to Strengthen Shoulders & Prevent Injury
- Increasing shoulder flexibility and mobility. You must ensure you are focusing on flexibility on a regular basis. The exercises or postures you select should place an emphasis on developing strength within increased flexibility. This combination is known as mobility, and it is most important for preventing injury in the shoulders.
- Strengthening the upper-back and shoulders with the necessary pulling exercises. Most people aren’t doing enough pulling exercises such as rowing, pull-ups, or lat pull-downs. From an overall health standpoint, these are almost always more important than push-ups or pressing exercises, and help to prevent shoulder & neck pain, improve posture, and even keep your spine healthy.
- Improving your posture and being more mindful of posture on a daily basis. Posture is part practice and part strength. You need to develop the proper technique to practice good posture throughout the day, as well as build the strength in your shoulders, core, and upper-back to hold good posture without getting tired. The more you engage in exercise that focuses on posture, the more mindful you will become of posture, and you will start to default to using proper posture when you sit, stand, are active, or inactive.
- Making sure you are following a balanced training program, covering both pushing and pulling, mobility, and adequate recovery / restorative stretching routines. It’s important to make sure you are following a program that strengthens the pushing and pulling muscles of your shoulders, but also allows the shoulder muscles to recover from exercise. If you do too much, you could end up overtraining and strain those muscles. If you don’t do enough, those muscles get weak and more susceptive to injury. Finally, you need to address flexibility on a regular basis, especially since most of us are inactive during the day, and this further decreases flexibility.
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How Man Flow Yoga helps
- I have a program called The Posture Fix that addresses many of the underlying causes of shoulder pain, as well as an intermediate program called The Upper Body Program that prepares you for advanced upper-body movements by increasing strength and mobility in your shoulders.
- I also have an exercise library with the non-yoga exercises necessary to developing pulling strength in your upper-back and shoulders, to help prevent injury in your shoulders and ensure you have the strength for proper posture throughout the day.
- Which “path” is right for you? We’ve developed specific “paths” at Man Flow Yoga to help you find the programs and content most relevant to your specific goals and needs. People interested in strengthening their shoulders typically fall into one or more of the following paths: (1) Injury-Prevention & Rehab, (2) Low-Impact Exercise, or (3) At-Home Yoga for Physical Training.
About the author, Dean Pohlman, Founder & CEO of Man Flow Yoga, Author of Yoga Fitness for Men, Expert on Yoga Fitness for Men.
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