How To Avoid Shoulder Injuries When Weight Training

Tuesday, 30 July 2013 / Published in Articles

Every weekend, during rugby season, we watch the players of our favourite team absorb powerful tackles, driving them to the ground and we wonder, “How are they able to get back up?” The reason is that they are conditioned and trained by experts in the gym, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t contract sports injuries needing surgery should an accident happen in the gym.

The shoulder, specifically the rotator cuff, is one of the most common that can be sustained if you are unaware of the specific techniques required when lifting weights. The rotator cuff is made up of four tendons and muscles that surround the shoulder joint and during weight lifting they are it is put under a lot of strain.

Below are two vital tips of that, if followed, will prevent a rotator cuff tear:

Know your lifting limits

Save the showing off for the beach. The gym is not the place to try and impress the beautiful girl walking past. If you stack the barbell with too much weight, the initial lift will shock the shoulders as they are not used to the extra weight and the tendons will be put under immense pressure, which will induce a tear. This is true of any other lifting that you do that attacks the shoulders: upright rows, incline dumbbell flys etc.

Technique and routine

Without the right technique and training routine, you may as well reserve your bed at the hospital. It cannot be reiterated more that you must use weight with which you are comfortable. The other critical aspect is equal pushing and pulling; if one arm is weaker than the other it may slip, jarring the shoulder. Furthermore, do not over train. If you over train, your muscles essentially go into what is called “micro trauma”, a micro tearing of the muscle fibres around the muscle and connective tissue; it will add stress to the tendons. Your body will experience a certain amount of pain – listen to it, otherwise a muscle tear is imminent. If the tear is severe, you will require surgery. There are four types:

  • Open Surgical Rotator Cuff Repair
  • Mini-Open Rotator Cuff Repair
  • All-Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair
  • Shoulder Replacement Surgery

As with any surgery, there are risks involved and therefore, if you follow the abovementioned advice, you will save a costly hospital bill as well as ruining your training programme.