First of all, let me explain how I approach exercise selection. The most important part of an exercise is that it can be done relatively safe. That doesn’t mean there’s no risk involved at all, but the rewards have to exceed the risk by a huge margin.
Even if an exercise was the best thing under the sun, I probably wouldn’t do it if it involved a significant risk. I’m all about longevity and playing it safe.
While I do think you have to practice what you compete in (if you do), this post is aimed at the general trainee, who doesn’t compete. Competing will always include a certain risk – take for example baseball pitchers – their shoulders take a beating from all the hard throws. They still have to practice their sport though, so using physical training to counter the side effects of the throws would probably be a good idea.
Likewise, if you compete at CF, you have to do these exercises. Still, know the risk and program them intelligently.
- Box jumps forendless reps. Number one on the list because it does absolutely nothing you can’t get elsewhere yet it involves a significant risk. Bloodied shins and torn achilles tendons are the most common injuries. Cure: don’t do them, or stick to sets of low reps with ample rest.
- Kipping pullups: By throwing your hip into the movement, you place your upper back in a position it’s not strong enough to handle. There’s also a tendency for people to poke the head forward like a pigeon. Over time this exercise will wreck your shoulders. Cure: do them strict. Can’t? Get stronger, lose weight.
- Kettlebell high swings. As with the kipping pullups, pulling up high instead of stopping at shoulder height will often make people stick their head forward. Bad idea. The swing is a hip-hinge exercise and shouldn’t involve any pulling with the arms/shoulders. Doing a “swingpress” is even worse. Cure: Don’t do high swings.
What you have to ask yourself is “why am I doing this exercise?”, “will it get me closer to my goal?” and “can I get hurt doing this exercise?”. Adjust based on your answers. The three exercises mentioned are just examples.
Remember that “getting an injury” probably isn’t on anybody’s short list of goals, so try to make training as safe as possible for you and your clients.
On that note, have a great weekend. <3
As you might know, I’ve been battling a hip injury for a long time now. These past months, I’ve finally been smart enough to address the issue and I’m now feeling better than I have been for ages. I’m still not 100% pain free, but I can train without pain. Occasionally I get sort of a throbbing pain in my right glute when sitting down, but apart from that I’m good.
So what have I done to fix the issue?
- Professional help. I’ve been to an osteopath 3-5 times. Will go back as soon as I feel a setback.
- Daily stretches. I’ve spent about 20 minutes every single day stretching. I rotate stretches every 14 days.
- More lunges. Unilateral leg work has been huge for me. Bodyweight or light resistance.
- Better warmups. More glute activation. This is also big.
- Lower volume and frequency on squats.
- Switched to a low bar squat with a good amount of sitting back. As a side effect of my hip problems, my knees started giving me grief. Changing form a bit fixed that.
I’ve recently found this exercise:
Which is pretty much a combination of a split squat and the banded psoas stretch. I’ve only done it a couple of times, but I expect great things from this stretch. I’ll try to do it at the end of most of my workouts.
So this is just another post to remind you to identify your issues if you have any and address them. You’ll thank me later.
Training through injuries may be fine short term, especially if you have a big event, but more often than not, focusing on long term results will yield superior results in the short term as well.
Some 6 years ago I had minor shoulder problems, but these days my shoulders are rock solid. This is based primarily on five factors:
- Pull-aparts and Matt Wichlinski’s 3D pull-apart. Lots of them. At some point I did 100-200 reps per day. Superset either with scapular pushups for 3-5 sets of 10-25 easy reps. No grinding or slowing down. Squeezing in three quick supersets at some point in the day should be possible for everybody and will go a long way. High frequency is great for this type of work.
- Pressing strength. I work the shit out of my overhead press. It is my main upper body lift and I believe a good press will help you keep your shoulders heavy. I like to keep my pressing volume quite a bit above my benchpressing volume.
- Proper lifting form. This is particularly important for the bench press.
- I don’t do kipping pullups, high swings, stick my head violently forward in the press or any of the other shoulder killers. If you absolutely have to (because you’re a competitive Crossfitter) keep the kip somewhat controlled in training and go full-on retard in competitions.
- I know which exercises I can do with high intensity and frequently, and I know which ones need to used sparringly. BTN press for example is great with low weight as a pump-exercise, but if I go hard and heavy, it’s not so great. Paying attention to how certain lifts affect you is crucial.
Stay safe and remember this is not intended to cure injured shoulders. If you’re already injured – seek professional help (if you’re in Denmark I might be ableto point you to a specialist).
That’s all for now. Love C. <3