Go to any gym, you will find that there is always a bunch of guys hanging around the weight machines, looking like a bunch of upside-down triangles. You know the look, huge pumped-up muscles, over worked chests and shoulders and tiny underworked legs and backs.
What these guys don’t realise is that they risk themselves with serious shoulder injuries. A lack of balance, especially through the shoulders, is an extremely common cause of shoulder and training related injury. Repetitive work outs, such as those focused on bench presses, shoulder presses, pull up, etc, only target improving the appearance of muscles rather than building strength through the whole body. This kind of training routine is dangerous and can lead to strain.
Balanced workout routine that works out a range of muscle areas and uses different styles of exercise is far more beneficial for preventing shoulder injury and a range of repetitive strain injuries. A balanced workout will increase flexibility, strength and improve muscle appearance over time.
Upper/Lower Split Workout
The upper/lower split workout routine isn’t new. An upper/lower split is a classic routine and can provide the most balanced workout. It allows for balance between the upper and lower body areas, between push and pull exercises, between strength and flexibility and rest and work days.
If you are new to weights training you should ask your trainer to create a balanced upper/lower split with four sessions a week. Ask for a mix of push and pull exercise to work all your muscle areas, not just those which add to the ‘appearance’ of bulk. Don’t skip your rest days, as they are very important for avoiding training injuries and give muscles and joint time to recover.
Flexibility is also important for weight trainers. Flexibility allows for a normal range of muscle and joint movements and it decreases with age without proper training. A lack of flexibility can lead to issues with posture, movements such a bending, lift and walking. Flexible joints and muscles require less energy to move through a range of motions and decrease your risk of injury during workouts.
A good start to improving your flexibility is stretching before a workout. This alone is not enough. It will prepare your joints and muscles. Stretching sessions should last for at least 10 minutes. Exercises such as yoga classes will help with flexibility and provide a low impact activity for one of your rest days.
For true balance don’t forget to slip in some cardio training.
While performing weight exercise be mindful of any pain, instability in the shoulder joint or inflammation. These are common signs of shoulder strain.
If you are experiencing shoulder pain while at rest, or during your workouts, you should consult your trainer to modify your routine and prevent further strain. There are plenty of exercises which can be done which minimize further injuries to your shoulder area. If the pain is ongoing consult with a physiotherapist or other medical specialist.