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Pain in Shoulder

Gym workouts and Shoulder Pain

When starting a workout regime, nothing is more frustrating that recurring shoulder pain.

Many of the best workout intentions are disrupted by this very common problem which is likely caused by an improper or insufficient warm-up prior to the bench press exercise.

Most people beginning a weightlifting program fail to understand the proper warm-up to any exercise. However, a cold bench press attempt, especially where one is attempting to lift a heavy weight, seems to be the most common culprit in derailing people's fitness goals.

The bench press primarily targets the chest and is one of the most popular weightlifting exercises, especially among men.

One can walk into any gym on any given day and see men huddled around a bench press station paying homage to the weightlifting gods.

The exercise can be varied in any number of ways. For example, a person can grab the weight bar with a wide grip or narrow grip to change the area of emphasis.

Furthermore, tempo can be changed depending on what one's goals are. However, the one common thread running throughout a bench press routine, regardless of the variations, is the importance of the shoulders in stabilizing the weight, a fact that many novice weightlifters fail to fully understand.

This misunderstanding is one of the chief causes of shoulder pain. Because of the importance of the shoulders, there are some fairly easy tips that all beginning weightlifters should follow to avoid the dreaded bogeyman of weightlifting injuries--shoulder pain.


First, one must warm-up properly.

A proper warm-up entails more than a couple of jumping jacks, a quick stretch of the hamstrings (it's amazing how many people stretch out hamstrings before performing a bench press) and a light warm-up set.

A proper warm-up prior to bench pressing should focus on loosening up the shoulders.

One suggestion is to perform a couple of sets of eight to ten reps of a routine shoulder exercises using very light dumbbells.

These exercises can include lateral raises (holding two dumbbells at your side and raising your arms sideways while keeping your arms straight) or front raises (same motion except you raise your arms straight out in front).

Another great exercise to loosen up the shoulders is to take a light medicine ball (4 pounds for example), stand facing a wall, place the ball on the wall with the palm of your hand on the ball at about shoulder height and roll the ball around on the wall in a small circular motion.

This will engage the smaller stabilizer muscles in the shoulders that are so necessary to the bench press.

After performing a round of quick shoulder exercises, jump down on the ground and perform eight to ten push-ups. Again, this forces your shoulders to stabilize your body weight.

Second, once you have performed your shoulder warm-up, you're ready to begin your warm-ups sets.

You need to do two or three warm-ups sets and increase the weight with each set. Keep the reps low to avoid fatigue.

For example, if you will be working out with 180 pounds, you may start your warm-up sets with 5 reps at 125 pounds.

Your second set would be 3 reps at 140 pounds and your final set may be 1 rep at 160 pounds.

Finally, after you've completed your warm-up sets, you'll be ready to do the prescribed workout.

Be sure to use proper form. Lower the bar to two inches above the chest. If you go any lower, you run the risk of going to too low and stretching the front of the shoulder capsule.

Also, keep your elbows in close to the body as this will also avoid involving the shoulders too much.

Hopefully these suggestions will keep you free from pain in the shoulder and exercising long and hard.

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