How to prevent shoulder pain/injuries using bands
Shoulder pain is a common ailment that plagues many weightlifters and gym goers every day. Even if you don’t suffer from shoulder pain, I am sure you know someone who does. The shoulder is a complex joint that that has various tendons and muscle connected to it. A lot is going on with the shoulder joint, and the amount we use them adds to the risk.
To keep our shoulders healthy and stable the key is to make sure they are strong and mobile. There are some very simple and convenient exercises that I use with myself and client to help prevent shoulder and an injury.
Upper cross syndrome or shoulder impingement is common amounts most people. I see it most with teens, and people who work desk jobs.
Upper crossed syndrome, or UCS, is a muscle imbalance caused by weak, lengthened upper back and neck muscles on the posterior of your body, and tight, shortened chest and neck muscles on the anterior of your body.
The symptoms of upper crossed syndrome can include shoulder pain, upper back pain, neck pain, rounded shoulders and a hunched posture, and headaches.
Bands are I tool I like to use almost daily to combat this UCS! Bands are cheap, light-weight, easy to travel with, and they work!
These exercises that I’m going to teach you today are great for any fitness level.
Sometimes we get in the habit of making things to complicated. I see it too often in the fitness industry all these crazy new moves to show off on the gram. But what I found is that the more “fancy” the exercise is the less likely you are to do it regularly.
Sometimes the simplest things are the best thing to deliver the best results.
1. Band Pull-a-parts
These bad boys are probably my most used shoulder warm up. I will do these before any pressing exercises. It helps to get some blood in the rear delts and traps. This will decrease pain when doing things like bench press. Band pull-a-parts help pull the shoulders back putting you in a stronger and safer position.
Doing this exercise is very simple. Start in a standing position holding the bands at shoulder width and the arms fully extended.
Keeping your arms perfectly straight with a neutral wrist pull your arms straight back. You should be making a lowercase “t” with your arms and body. You can add a 1-5 sec hold in this position as well.
Next keeping constant tension on the band bring your arms back to the start position. Repeat this for 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps.
Note: You should always have control of the band! Don't use momentum to pull the band if you struggle to pull the band without bouncing or bending your elbows and arching your back. Then use a lighter band with less resistance for a better result. Also, there should never be any slack in the band. Starting position the band should be pulled somewhat tight already making sure there is minimal slack in the band.
2. No Money
These might sound funny and look easy at first glance. But this exercise is very effective and will burn like hell when you first do them. The common trend that you will see here is that we want to work the muscle in the upper back and neck. Its all about getting your shoulders back into optimal position for them to be the strongest and most stable.
Using the red Pro Min band from eliteft.com grab the band with a supinated grip (palms facing up). Your arms should be tight to the side of your body with a 90-degree bend at the elbow.
While keeping your upper arms tight to your body, rotate your lower arms out. Rotate out as far as you can without your elbows coming away from your sides.
Keeping control of that band bring back to starting position and repeat. This can be done 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps. Do this before or after a workout if you are feeling discomfort or pain in the shoulders.
Note: Don’t try to force these! The range of motion is tiny if you do them right.
3. Scarecrow Row & Extension
This is a little combo exercise that I found delivers excellent results fast. It is entirely different from standard scarecrow exercise. By using bands instead of dumbbells or plates and adding a row really activates the shoulders.
The addition of bands instead of free weights keeps constant tension. This ensures that the muscles are working through the entire ROM. Whereas free weights are only giving resistance for part of the movement.
To set up for these I prefer to find a power rack to attach my two bands too. I recommend starting with the pro micro bands from elitefts.com.
Loop the bands one on each side of the rack about chest height. When you grab, the bands use the opposite arm to grab each band. You should be making an “X” with the bands and your arms.
Starting with your arms out straight and some tension on the bands. Stand straight and perform a high row bringing your arms back to 90 degrees. Try not to arch your lower back or elevate your chest. Once you complete the row, rotate your arms up in the same position.
Go back to your starting position in reverse order and repeat for 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps.
4. Over and Backs
This is more of a stretch for the shoulders and pecs. Like I said we want to get our shoulders back in a strong, stable position. In most cases, shoulder pain is caused by that UCS I talked about earlier. We want to correct that by strengthening the upper back and stretching the pecs, front delts and neck.
To do the over and backs you will need to get that red pro mini band again. Double up the band with your hands a little wider than shoulder width or wider in some cases. You will see what I mean when you try these yourself. Some people will need to go wider, and others might even be able to do this with their hands closer.
Starting position will be holding the band in both hands at down at waist level or so. Now just as the name says, bring the band over and back!
Note: If you can not bring your arms completely over and back don’t force it!. Go as far back as you can and still feel a stretch in your chest and shoulders.
Next time you go to the gym gives these a tray before you start weight training. Make sure you keep these as a consistent part of your training regiment to see the best results. The more you do these, the stronger you will become.