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Old 10-24-2009, 07:51 AM   #1
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Default Rotator Cuff Injuries and Weight Training

Let's talk rotator cuff injuries.

Glwanabe mentioned this to me and I thought it was a great topic. We were talking about upright rows, and the possibility that they are bad for the RC and shoulders.

Personally, I've never felt anyone uncomfortable with upright rows, but when I perform side/front raises for shoulders, I feel my shoulders/RC hating me.

A) Do you feel upright rows are bad for the shoulder/RC

B) DO you feel laterals are bad for the shoulder/RC

C) Do you perform any exercises to strengthen the RC?

I used to perform some arm rotations with bent elbows and a lighter dumbbell for the RC, but I often wondering if they were just doing more harm then good. (Cuban presses)

Here are some quotes from various websites:

Quote:
Unfortunately with upright rows, it is not a question of IF you will hurt your shoulders but WHEN you will hurt your shoulders.

The position that your arms get placed in when doing the upright row causes what is called "impingement". Essentially this means that every time you raise the bar up, the bones in your shoulders pinch the tendons in your rotator cuff. This can cause instant pain in some people (myself included - I can't even do the movement without weight without hurting) but will inevitably lead to long-term degeneration of the structures of the shoulder joint.

I would stay far away from this movement. It can end your training career if you do it heavy and often.
Quote:
Upright rows place the shoulder in full internal rotation as the arm is raised, a position that does not allow sufficient space for the greater tubercle of the humerus to clear the acromion. This causes an impingement syndrome in the A/C joint and leads to chronic tendinitis or bursitis. it is also a major contributor to rotator cuff problems. It is no longer taught at all in most college programs leading to Phys Ed or Kinesiology degrees. It is a dangerous exercise that is still being passed down by the old timers and the muscle mags, but it unfortunately being taught in group exercise classes by group exercise instructors who do not have a solid background in weight-lifting and/or have not kept up with current research in strength training. The ACSM advised against this exercise about 8 years ago, and I also remember there being a blurb about it in one of the ACE mailers a few years back. I personally have been one-on-one with over 500 individuals in my ten years of training, and I would estimate that less than 30% of them have full range of movement in the shoulder...the vast majority have some degree of shortening in the internal rotators. Spread the word
Quote:
The Upright Row is one of the most harmful exercises you can expose your shoulders to. The problem with the exercise lies in the position your arms must be in in order to perform the movement. This position is called "internal rotation."

To demonstrate internal rotation, hold your arms straight out to the sides with your palms down. Now rotate your hands forward as if you were pouring out a glass of water in each. To do the upright row, the arms are bent at the elbow then internally rotated.

Internal rotation itself is not necessarily bad for your shoulders. The problem comes when you raise the arms up and add resistance in that position. Every time you raise the weight, a small tendon in your shoulder gets pinched (known as impingement) by the bones in the shoulder.

This may not hurt immediately; it may not even hurt for a long, long time. The problem is the tendon will gradually become worn down and damaged. You may not even know you have a problem until one day the tendon snaps!
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Old 10-24-2009, 07:56 AM   #2
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A) No and never heard of anyone having problems

B) Yes, they can be. I like cables for this because the resistance is smooth and constant and think I've tweaked my shoulders before doing DB laterals. Cables all the way. Harder to cheat and I think better for the shoulders health.

C) Not specifically that I know of. Incidentally maybe. I think warming up the shoulders is perhaps more important than most body parts though.
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Old 10-24-2009, 08:11 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MuscleandBrawn View Post
Let's talk rotator cuff injuries.


A) Do you feel upright rows are bad for the shoulder/RC

Yes, if done narrow grip, and pulled to chin. Instead, do them shoulder width grip or wider, and only pull till upper arms are parallel to the ground.


B) DO you feel laterals are bad for the shoulder/RC

Can be. It's about execution of the movement. Don't go higher than your shoulder socket, and don't go max weight. Smooth and steady, and leave you ego on the rack.

C) Do you perform any exercises to strengthen the RC?

Yes. As part of my warmup I do arm rotations, and light dumbell (8lbs) rear laterals.

Anybody feel ultra wide grip chins are bad?
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Old 10-24-2009, 08:13 AM   #4
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I would also like to add that if upright rows are considered bad, wouldn't power cleans and high pulls be as well? Not saying...just speculating. It's virtually the same movement.
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Old 10-24-2009, 08:29 AM   #5
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Power cleans, and high pulls.

I think a lot of people are doing these with improper form. They are going too high on the high pull, and not getting under the bar properly on the clean.


Last edited by BendtheBar; 10-24-2009 at 08:32 AM.
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Old 10-24-2009, 08:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glwanabe View Post
Power cleans, and high pulls.

I think a lot of people are doing these with improper form. They are going too high on the high pull, and not getting under the bar properly on the clean.

Thanks for posting the video. I would wager than 90% of people do 90% of lifts wrong, so I wouldn't doubt high pulls and power cleans are fubared.
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Old 10-24-2009, 08:37 AM   #7
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Part two of that set is worth watching as well.
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Old 10-24-2009, 08:44 AM   #8
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So, this leaves shoulder training:

A) Behind the neck presses are eeevillll
B) Upright Rows are eeevillll
C) Laterals suck. I always feel like I should be wearing pink spandex when I do them. Thus, I don't.

Other then that, it's all good.
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Old 10-24-2009, 08:54 AM   #9
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Standing presses, and uprights as I described them are my main shoulder moves.

I see it like this

Dips are the upper body squat.
Standing presses are the upper body deadlift.
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Old 10-24-2009, 09:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glwanabe View Post
Standing presses, and uprights as I described them are my main shoulder moves.

I see it like this

Dips are the upper body squat.
Standing presses are the upper body deadlift.
I would love to be able to do standing presses, but I workout in a low-ceiling basement. Have you ever tried seated presses?
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