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    how to prevent rotator cuff injuries while weight training? 
    #1
    Bluelighter dead93mau5's Avatar
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    how do you guys suggest preventing shoulder injuries? specifically rotator cuff injuries/tears as I am prone to them, do you recommend wearing a shoulder brace? using machines over free weights? keeping the weights under perfect control and perfect form? any joint supplements? any help would be appreciated because I have torn both my rotator cuffs in the past (snowboarding fall right shoulder, stretching too much left shoulder).


    I am recently coming off a very small rotater cuff injury from stretching too hard. So while I was healing I only did cardio, now that im back on the weights im keeping the weight to an absolute minimal as well as using only machines.

    any help would be appreciated thanks!
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    #2
    Bluelighter [S]alvatore's Avatar
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    For every pressing exercise you do, are you balancing it out with a pulling movement? Or does your routine consist of Flat bench, incline bench, decline bench....and only bent over rows for back? How is your bench press form? Do you keep your shoulder blades retracted, or bodybuilding style?

    Here's a decent link:
    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/sclark71.htm
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    #3
    Train your rotator cuff, and do as [S]alvatore tells you - balance out every push with a pull.
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    #4
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    I am prone to rotator cuff/impingement problems too. If I train chest and shoulders like most bodybuilding routines it flares up and I have to stop training.

    So what I do is eliminate some movements and slightly modify others.

    DON't do any of these exercises:
    incline bench
    flys
    upright row
    dips
    lateral raises
    pronated military/OH press (as in the normal ones)
    pronated pulldowns/chins (as in the normal ones)

    Ye it sucks but if I do these the shoulder will flare up.

    DO these ones instead:
    Flat bench dumbells
    T-bar shoulder press (has close grip overhead which seems to be fine)
    closer/supinated pulldowns/chins (or the cable row grips on pulldown)
    Lateral raises with elbows 90 degrees if no pain

    That is from my experience and a lot of research reading all over, you may be a bit different but that's what I find keeps the shoulder working and me in the gym.
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    #5
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    I have a type II AC separated shoulder. Doc gave me a shot, I took it very easy in the gym and I started taking a glucosamine supplement. My preference is Joint Juice, the one Joe Montana advertises. I was on a business trip for a week and didn't take any and my shoulder started acting up so I know it works for me.

    If my shoulder hurts in the gym, I stop. I do lighter weights and will boost intensity by doing more reps/slower movements, drop sets, etc. I use a smith machine for incline bench and mil press but skip other machines. My gym doesn't have Hammer Strength, which is a shame. I'd recommend that equipment.

    Bottom line, I started with a visit to the doc.
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    #6
    Make sure you are doing a good job warming up your shoulders before doing any heavy weights. I'd also stretch on off days as well as foam roll and use a lacrosse ball on your muscles.
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    #7
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    I've a fucked rotar that has had me out of training for the past 2 months or so.
    I've a host of problems...

    I overtrained my chest, leaving the balance fucked, straining the cuff as its wedged more at the front than back
    Dislocated it before so I've also cartilidge damage
    My shoulder is 3cm dropped on the right side compared to the left

    I've been told to train back/chest at a 2/1 ratio to restore balance (then told to stop training altogetjer until my mri scan)
    Don't use free weights, they restrict the body to movement in a fixed manner, so the body cannot move in a natural way. Forces you into uncomfortable and un-natural movements which isn't good.

    Free weights were the death of my rotar cuff, the pec dec in particular at a very low weight... Not even a warm up weight...
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    #8
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    I thought it was the opposite... Machines like the smith machine and the leg press don't allow natural movements, while free weights do.
    For example if you're doing ohp on the smith machine, the bar has its own path but if you're using a barbell, you can move it more comfortably.
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    #9
    Bluelighter [S]alvatore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nolys View Post
    Don't use free weights, they restrict the body to movement in a fixed manner, so the body cannot move in a natural way. Forces you into uncomfortable and un-natural movements which isn't good.

    Uhhhh, what?

    Free weights were the death of my rotar cuff, the pec dec in particular at a very low weight... Not even a warm up weight...
    Pec dec is free weights?
    Was that a troll post?
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    #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by [S]alvatore View Post
    Was that a troll post?
    I think he is confusing free weight with machines. Machines prevent you from moving in a natural way (Smith Machine for example) and restrict use of stabilizer muscles. I like using both machines and free weights.
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    #11
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    Sorry I meant fixed weights** my bad guys lol

    The pec dec part should have clarified my mistake lol
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    #12
    Bluelighter Serotonin101's Avatar
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    I pretty much only use free weights aside from rows for the most part and pull Downs.
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    #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serotonin101 View Post
    I pretty much only use free weights aside from rows for the most part and pull Downs.
    I use them for these and some rope weighted exersizes
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    #14
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    I like to mix it up and use whatever is available. Mostly free weights, some machines. If you have Hammer Strength machines (esp. for chest), they are great. Alas, my gym has none of these.
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    #15
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    The only fixed machines I use are a seated bicep curl machine and everything for back, I normally only use mostly machines for training my back...

    Do the machines with ropes count as fixed machines? As they give freedom of movement? I find them usefull for curls, shoulder extensions, pec flys while lying down on a bench ect...
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    #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by nolys View Post
    The only fixed machines I use are a seated bicep curl machine and everything for back, I normally only use mostly machines for training my back...

    Do the machines with ropes count as fixed machines? As they give freedom of movement? I find them usefull for curls, shoulder extensions, pec flys while lying down on a bench ect...

    I wouldn't count them as machines because they aren't fixed.
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    #17
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    I would agree with that, their pretty usefull
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    #18
    I do the most volume in pulling (mostly rows because I love them), then overhead pressing (strict, push press, one arm, whatever) and lastly benching and have never had any problems.

    But I see some people advise against overhead work so that may be individually dependant (I know there's a slight variation in the shape of the scapula which in one case can cause your rc tendons to rub against bone during overhead work eventually leading to problems).
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    #19
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    Overhead pressing with a barbell should be safe. I think it's the behind the neck stuff that causes problems
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    #20
    I thinks there is an actual anatomical variation of the acromion that greatly predisposes people to RC tears. Basically there are three versions - flat, curved and hooked.

    (the acromion is the piece of bone on the left side of each of the scapulas in the picture)
    Left is flat, middle curved, right hooked.
    Now the RC tendons pass just under there and if the acromion is hooked the chance of impingement goes up, if it's flat it goes down and curved is somewhere in the middle.
    Of Course this isn't the whole story various muscle imbalances, tightneses, mobility problems, ... also play their part.
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    #21
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    Ez curl bars are good for overhead pressing, they fit more comfortably and feel more natural, to me anyway.. I can't use a barbell for anything other than benching, it feels too ridgid using them for the likes of overhead presses or even bicep curls
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    #22
    Bluelighter Serotonin101's Avatar
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    I use the ez bar for overhead press. My left shoulder still clicks a bit though :/ I've slowed down on throwing weight on it. Thanks to awesome shoulder genetics, I don't need to throw up massive weight to see them develop
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