We polled over 300 gym members and found that shoulder pain was their number one injury problem!
The good news is there are easy ways to fix the underlying issues to keep shoulder pain from wrecking your fitness routine. (These fixes also happen to be the same things needed to push your strength up to the next level).
Therefore, a call to all athletes! Don’t sit on the sideline because your shoulders suck! Replace the dysfunction that’s causing pain, with strength for your next PR.
Weak Link #1- No Foundation
The first issue is a breakdown in the link between the scapula and arm. The scapula (also known as the shoulder blade) is the junction that connects the arm to the body. It’s this foundation that generates all upper extremity strength and function .
First, the scapula must be able to move in several planes of motion. For many, the scaps are stuck, limited by either stiff muscles or poor movement patterns. If the scapula is limited in its ability to create a stable position, especially when under speed or load, everything downstream (elbow, shoulder, and wrist) will be limited as well.
It must also be dynamic to transfer energy from the hips and torso into arm. The entire shoulder complex is restricted, and performance in general, if the prime movers have to make up for a lack in strength of the scap stabilizers.
Thus, the scapula needs to be both strong and stable, as well as mobile to set the rest of the shoulder complex up for success.
Weak Link #2- Lacking Rotator Cuff
The second issue is a weak rotator cuff.
While the shoulder is called a “ball and socket” joint, it’s actually more like a golf ball on a tee, with the ball being much larger than the socket. This is great for mobility, but at the expense of stability.
The four muscles of the rotator cuff keep the arm centered in the socket. It’s the primary stabilizer that counteracts the action of the bigger movers, like the deltoids, pecs, and lats. Many injuries occur because the smaller rotator cuff muscles can’t keep up with the power and strength of the big movers.
If this is not managed, it will always be a strength roadblock, with a huge potential for injury down the road.
Weak Link #3- Stuck in a Routine
Finally, time spent working at a desk, driving, texting, eating, and other typical sedentary activities in our day doesn’t support our desire to lift heavy things.
Too much time spent stuck in the dreaded forward shoulder posture makes us one-dimensional and not adapted to performing overhead. It contributes to stiffness in the pecs and neck, and weakness in the muscles needed to extend the spine.
How to Fix the Dysfunction
The solution is not to increase the weight, but to change the movement. To improve your shoulder strength and get rid of your pain you need to stimulate the muscles that are lagging behind.
As highlighted above, it is imperative to take care of the dysfunction before it becomes a serious problem.
Three Ways to Address the Weak Links:
1) Pre-Workout Activation
Rebuilding your foundation begins with the warm up. Many of the shoulder stabilizers get little to no work throughout the day, but then responsible for stabilizing a max effort lift at the gym.
So start your workout with a movement crash course that isolates the muscles surrounding the scapula. Getting the shoulder contracting at the end ranges with lighter loads will improve range of motion and create a better position for the bigger lifts.
2) Accessory Strength Work
It’s necessary to target smaller muscles in your workouts. These muscles may not be the most glamorous, but by strengthening them it will allow you to lift heavier weights in the gym.
This shouldn’t require another half hour in the gym either! Just one fatiguing set, of a few exercises, provides enough stimulus to move these weak links forward.
3) 1 Step Back, 2 Steps Forward
To rebuild your shoulders, take a step back in the weights, volume, and intensity. Focus on form and utilizing a full range of motion. This will better incorporate the muscles that are holding you back from reaching your greatest level of achievement.
Most often there is a huge push back on this. There is an underlying fear that strength and muscle loss will immediately ensue. However, this is far from the case. In fact, this stepback is actually the magic to seeing a breakthrough in strength plateaus. Remember, it’s the smaller groups you’re not developing that are holding you back the most.
Call to Action
Want to get started with building better shoulders? We’ve streamlined the process for you…
The Crossover Symmetry System is designed to address the specific needs, time constraints, and demands of the busy gym goer.
It includes 5 quick programs and the necessary equipment to tackle the weak links holding your shoulders back.