What does shoulder control mean

Prevention of shoulder injuries

The shoulder is a sensitive part of the body that is often injured. Because it not only has a fine and complicated structure, the balance of which can easily be disturbed, but is also heavily used. To prevent pain and injuries, which are often protracted, Raphael Brandon gives you the best tips here.

In this way, shoulder injuries can generally be avoided

Tip 1: Exercise your upper body in a balanced way to avoid shoulder injuries

If you can ensure that your upper body is strengthened, you have already taken the first step in injury prevention. This means that every pressure exercise must be balanced by a pulling or rowing exercise. Too many athletes focus on their large, visible muscles:

The upper trapezius, anterior deltoid, and pectoral muscles. As a result, the muscles that do not look good - the lower trapezius, the rhomboids, the latissimus dorsi and the rear deltoids - remain underdeveloped.

This leads to a muscular imbalance in the shoulder area and thus to insufficient stabilization of the scapula. Additionally, the large, visible muscles, if overdeveloped, can result in a rounded shoulder position that unnaturally pushes the scapula up and forward. You should definitely eliminate such an imbalance in order to prevent and heal impingement injuries to the shoulder.

Preventive measures against shoulder pain

I would like to recommend the following exercise for a balanced training of the upper body. Please note that there must be a ratio of 1: 1 between pushing and pulling exercises.

  • Bench press (pectoralis muscles, anterior deltoid muscles)
  • Seated rowing (rhomboids, middle trapezius, latissimus)
  • Flys (pectoralis muscles)
  • Reverse flys while lying down (rhomboids, middle trapezius, posterior deltoid)
  • Lateral raise (posterior, middle deltoid, upper trapezius)
  • Lat pulldowns in the wide upper grip (latissimus, lower trapezius).

If you are prone to shoulder pain or are currently recovering from a shoulder injury, I recommend changing the ratio to 2: 1 in favor of the less visible muscles. Remember, the presses caused the problems, so shift the center of gravity until you have removed the imbalance.

Other pulling exercises are: bent over rowing, one-armed rowing with dumbbells, one-armed rowing on the cable pull, bent reverse-flys, pull-ups in a tight / wide grip and pull-downs on the cable pull / Theraband.

Tip 2: limit your range of motion and take it easy!

Shoulder impingement rehabilitation should focus on strengthening the RoM. This is particularly important to remember when you get back into training. Only increase slowly! Avoid certain radii of motion, especially those in which the subacromial space of the shoulder joint is particularly reduced.

The area of ​​impingement to avoid is between 70 ° and 120 ° of shoulder abduction, i.e. when you move your arm sideways away from your body.
For the less visible muscles, begin the exercise with a seated row because this exercise does not involve abduction of the shoulder joint.

Pull-ups and pull-ups

As soon as the pain has completely subsided, start doing the exercises that take place above the head, i.e. pull-ups and pull-ups. You should be even more careful when doing the exercises to strengthen the large, visible muscles. Avoid lateral raises, standing rows and shoulder presses for a while if possible.

A good new start would be an inclined bench press with the arm moved away at a 45 ° angle. Once your strength has increased, slowly increase yourself to your normal bench press level.

Gentle build-up of strength in the case of shoulder injuries

It is equally important not to increase your weights too quickly. Remember that ligaments and tendons, like muscles, have to get used to the strain again and may take longer to do so. I suggest sticking to 12-20 repetitions for a start before adding on the weight, especially on the large muscles that are visible.

I understand that it is important for many athletes to be able to handle heavy weights with exercises such as bench or neck presses. However, I recommend a gentle build-up of strength up to your maximum strength. A good guideline would be to get 2 reps closer to your old rep numbers every 2 weeks. Make sure that you warm up the shoulder joint and the rotator cuff (RoM) carefully before doing any heavy exercise.

Tip 3: Correct your shoulder plateau position while doing the exercise!

The correct position of the scapula is achieved by pulling it back and rotating it downwards. Basically, this means adopting a "military stance" with shoulders pulled back and chest stuck out.

You should always avoid a hunched or hunched position! You can get into the correct position with the help of your rhomboids and the middle and lower trapezius muscles.
Get into the habit of doing each upper body workout with good posture and your shoulder blades contracted.

The good posture against shoulder pain

You should be able to feel that the scapula provides a secure / firm anchor that holds the shoulder in the correct position while performing the exercise. The most effective way to learn the correct posture is through seated rowing. In doing so, pull your shoulder blades back and down at the same time as you move your arms.

As you do this, you should notice that the rhomboids and trapezius are tensed to hold the scapula in place. The latissimus is responsible for the movement. Once you have a feeling for maintaining shoulder blade stability while seated rowing, try expanding it to include all upper body exercises.

Stability of the shoulder area

As you may notice, exercises that can cause a shoulder bottleneck don't always have to be painful. All you need to do is adopt the correct posture, such as push-ups or front raises. You will achieve improved shoulder blade mechanics and injury prevention through the use of the shoulder muscles.

Adequate shoulder blade / scapular stability of the shoulder area is difficult to learn and requires a high level of practice and concentration during your practice sessions. The first thing you need to understand is what correct posture looks like. To do this, you usually need a trainer or physiotherapist to look after you. Then he can guide and observe you during the session so that you maintain the correct shoulder posture.

Tip 4: Sport-specific exercises - plyometry for your shoulder

As with rehabilitation training for leg injuries, rehabilitation for the shoulder also requires a functional increase from simple strengthening exercises to sport-specific exercises. For you as an athlete, e.g. B. as a javelin thrower or tennis player that conventional exercises against resistance are not enough for a full recovery. Closing this gap often requires the use of plyometric shoulder exercises that mimic the specific movements of your sport. Plyometry for the shoulder mostly relies on the use of medicine balls in different weight levels.

Plyometric exercises have 2 advantages. Firstly, they are performed quickly and, secondly, they include movements of the so-called “stretch-shortening cycle”. This means they are much more tailored to your sport than traditional exercises where you work against resistance. Pylometric exercises are particularly effective for muscles of the posterior shoulder and the external rotators, as they provide them with an eccentric strain.

Exercises to improve shoulder control

This improves the control over the shoulder, which is necessary for the powerful concentric processes of the pectoralis muscles and the anterior deltoids, for example when throwing or striking. Because of this, you should make sure that your plyometric exercises are balanced across the major force generators (pectoralis muscles, latissimus, anterior deltoid muscles), as well as the muscles of the back shoulder and upper back.

I recommend that you incorporate plyometric exercises into your general training program to prevent injuries and to avoid jeopardizing your gradual return to competition in the later phase of rehabilitation.

Here are two suggestions. The bottom line with both is that you catch the medicine ball, quickly absorb the impact (quick eccentric phase), and then throw it back explosively (powerful concentric phase).

Powerful throws (pectoralis muscles, anterior deltoid muscles)

This exercise works like a plyometric bench press, but with a medicine ball instead of a barbell.
Lie on your back with your legs bent and your lower back flat on the floor. The partner stands over your head and drops the ball (3–6 kg).

You catch the ball with your arms straight and let it fall quickly onto your chest, bend your arms and immediately throw the ball back with a forceful extension of your arms. Make sure that your back is flat on the floor and that you are only performing the movement with your arms. Do units of 8–12 repetitions.

Catching and throwing with the backhand (external rotators)

This exercise is similar to a backhand strike in tennis.
Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your arm 90 degrees and keep your elbow against your body. Turn your arm outward ready to catch, your torso pointing forward. Your partner is standing on your right and throws you a small ball (1 kg). They catch the ball and move it quickly along the body.

While doing this, turn your arm inwards, then immediately throw the ball backwards with a powerful arm rotation. Make sure that you do not insert your torso and always keep your elbows close to your body so that the use only comes from the muscles of the rear shoulder and the external rotators. Repeat for the left side. Do units of 12-20 repetitions.

Our book tip from the Trainingsworld editorial team:

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome: Simple and Effective Techniques for Acute and Chronic Pain

Almost every tenth person complains of shoulder and neck pain. The pain is often due to the so-called impingement syndrome, in which tendons, ligaments or muscles are pinched in a joint space and this leads to irritation and degeneration of tendons and bursa. The result is painful restrictions on movement.

Doctors recommend shoulder surgery all too quickly, although it is often not necessary at all. Regular mobility exercises in combination with strength building in the external rotators can already be sufficient to successfully treat the impingement. But even after an operation, slight movements and targeted muscle building can be decisive for a quick recovery.

The sports therapist Katharina Brinkmann and the sports editor Nicolai Napolski not only summarize the most important information on the background and development of the impingement syndrome, but also present techniques and exercises with which the symptoms can be cured easily and specifically and preventively avoided.


Author: Raphael Brandon