I Have A Shoulder Injury. What Exercises Can I Do?
I read your advice page all the time. I have a problem. I went to my chiropractor last night for a re-occurring shoulder injury. I had a cortizone shot in Sept and it seemed to heal okay. Last week I started getting the pain again. I understood that it was most likely tendonitis, so I figured I would get adjusted and maybe another shot and continue on. Without an MRI as of yet, my chiro feels I trashed my AC joint and it could lead to surgery! I'm not getting cut man, no way!
He said to avoid further damage I should forget any exercises above my head. I don't see how I can build or maintain my size without shoulder presses or pull-ups or pull downs, you get the picture. Could you give me an example of a shoulder routine and a back routine to accomplish my goals without further damage to my shoulder?
I'm about to freak! Everytime I start to get real strong I usually get hurt! I feel the pain along the length of my side delt, closer to the bicep than the tricep, but kinda in the middle. He told me about a rehab exercise; if you hold your arm out straight in front of you with your thumb pointing down and your pinky finger pointing up, with a light dumbbell move your arm up and down from your quad towards the sky at about a 45 degree angle, and no higher than that. That hurts the exact spot! Am I doomed? Help me!
The main question in this letter is "Could you give me an example of a shoulder routine and a back routine to accomplish my goals without further damage to my shoulder?" Sure, I can. There are many exercises that can be utilized without having to raise your hands above your head. Let's start with the reasoning behind this "punishment" that your chiropractor gave you. What your chiropractor is trying to avoid is further injury. I too believe that this is a good idea. I also wonder if the reason behind the injury was a result of improper lifting techniques. If this is the case you should learn to let go of your ego and train the muscle. Sure going heavy has many benefits but if going heavy enough to cause injury because you are losing too much form comes into play, you are definitely taking one step forward and two steps back. Get the picture here?
Moving on to the "I can not raise my hands over my head" routine. I know it sounds like I am teasing him here but in actuality this is a common injury site. The shoulder is such a mobile joint; think about it, you can rotate it just about 360 degrees. This is possible because it not only twists, but it turns too. On top of all of this it is capable of doing both at the same time. The down side to this remarkable feat of human movement is adding weight to the delicate little ball socket joint. This is where we usually get our problems. If I were in this predicament I would utilize the following exercise routine.
Partial Upright Rows: This exercise is for the lateral and rear deltoids. Try not to go too high on the finishing portion of the movement. Even though your hands are not over your head the joint moves as if it were. The only reason the hands are not over your head is because they are holding the weight.
Front Raises: This exercise will allow you to pack on mass in the frontal or anterior portion of the deltoid. I recommend using a plate instead of dumbbells. Using a plate allows both shoulders to work together instead of leaving you susceptible shoulder open for injury.
Side Lateral Raises: This exercise will allow you to sculpt your lateral deltoid area. I recommend using dumbbells as they allow for a natural range of motion opposed to a cable machine, which is somewhat, fixed.
Rear Delts: This exercise is similar to side lateral raises but you lean forward on the edge of a bench while performing the same movement. The positioning targets the rear deltoid hence the exercises name. You can also perform a similar exercise by conducting a reverse peck deck movement. This exercise is done by sitting on the peck deck machine as if you were going to give it a hug. You then extend your arms and squeeze back with the rear delts.
Bent-Over Rows: I cannot think of a better mass movement for the lats than the bent over row. This is a Lee Haney move and everyone knows that he had MASS! Two variations can be use assuring that you hit all areas of the lats. You can use a close grip for that thickness in the middle back area or a wide grip. The wide grip will give you that width that you have always wanted. Use should treat this movement as two separate exercises.
Cable Pullovers: This is done by standing in front of a cable machine. Face the machine and use a rotating straight bar. Fix the bar to you shoulder height and reach straight ahead as if you were going to do some tricep pushdowns. Instead keep your arms straight and concentrate on your anterior lats. This will give you a think appearance from the front and also add some width to you lats. This exercise also allows you to build some impressive muscles that over lay the ribs.
Leaning Shoulder shrugs: This is a great way to target the lower middle portion of the back area. Most people skip this part of the back. The muscle that is right there is actually your traps. To perform this exercise just act like you were to be doing a regular shrug but bent over slightly at the hips. The positioning allows you to hit that hard to get to the area. Once built up it really polishes off the look of you back.
Ithink that by utilizing these exercises you will be able to build an impressive set of deltoids and a thick massed up back. Remember the old saying "where there is a will there is a way"? That is a fact if you want it you will achieve it. Keep training and do not be so quick to jump under the knife. I have a friend that (according to the doctors) should have undergone a back surgery. He worked through the pain and built himself up again. He dragged his leg around for seven months, you would never know because today he can squat over 300 pounds. The point here is to recommend you to get a second opinion or be willing to stick it out and try to heal it yourself through smart and proper exercise.
Lastly, I do not want to override your doctor's advice but if it hurts man do not do it. Go light, like I said before; leave your ego somewhere else, you are training to repair an injury first. Once you are 100% recuperated you can worry about building again. Good luck!