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      Mind Your Rotator Cuff

      Mind Your Rotator Cuff

      Back and shoulder pain can mean a lot of things. However, one of the most common culprits is overuse or strain of the rotator cuff.

      The rotator cuff is a ring of muscles surrounding each shoulder joint. They’re responsible for giving the shoulders their impressive multi-directional range-of-motion. However, they are also very delicate.

       

      Many people who have overuse injuries of the rotator cuff are athletes who often make arm motions above their heads, like pitchers and quarterbacks. However, people with physically demanding jobs like stockers and construction workers can also have these problems. Further, acute issues like sprains and strains can also impact these muscles.

       

      A recurring theme throughout this article - and our website - is that overuse and damage can be prevented through careful strengthening and toning of the muscle groups. The muscles of the rotator cuff are no different, and strengthening your shoulders can help reduce pain.

       

      The bad news is that they can be difficult to target effectively. The good news is that the muscles of the chest and back do most of the heavy lifting. As a result, familiarizing yourself with exercises to develop the back and chest can help to make these injuries less likely.

      Identifying Pain

      Identifying Pain

      This is probably the most important topic we'll cover; how to identify the different types of pain and how your body communicates the level of severity.

      You might be starting a new workout routine for this new year to become stronger & healthier, or hesitant to start one if you have recently experienced pain. Learning to recognize your pain can make the difference in knowing:

      - When to start your workouts.

      - How high or low to set your goals.

      - How fast or slow to push your body.

      - The difference between soreness vs. injury.

      - What to give your body to properly recover and heal.

       

      If you struggle with discomfort or pain in your back and shoulders, working out can be the last thing on your mind. However, as counterintuitive as it may seem, working out can be one of the best things that you can do to prevent back and shoulder pain, bad posture, or even serious damage in the future.


      Knowing what exercises to do, how to incorporate them into your day, and when to give yourself a break can be the difference between a productive and comfortable day or a trip to the chiropractor.

      Learn to Recognize Pain

      Whether you’re a weightlifter, an athlete, or just have a demanding job, you know what it’s like to work through pain. Sometimes it’s what you have to do, and other-times it can actually make you feel better. However, that depends on the kind of pain that you have.

      If you have a dull, aching pain that feels like it’s coming from a large area, this is just post-exercise soreness. It comes from light wear-and-tear and the natural build-up of waste products in your muscles from exercise. Doing light, flowing exercises like stretching can help to make this kind of pain go away. Not much to worry about, just light monitoring is required to know when the muscle is ready for the next workout.

       

      If you have a sharp, stabbing pain that feels like it’s coming from a very small area, this could be the result of a muscle or tendon tear or rupture. This is serious. Try to rest and ice the area rather than working it. If the pain doesn’t go away or gets worse after a couple of days, talk to your trainer or your general care provider.

      Power Squats in Proper Form to Avoid Back Pain

      Power Squats in Proper Form to Avoid Back Pain

      Power Squats are another way to work on strengthening your lower back muscles. Proper Squat form is key to avoid back pain.

      Here is proper Squatting posture technique we learned from Stronglifts:

      – Stand with the bar on your upper-back, and your feet shoulder-width apart.

      – Squat down by pushing your knees to the side while moving the hips back.

       Break parallel by Squatting down until your hips are lower than your knees.

      – Squat back up while keeping your knees out and chest up.

      – Stand with your hips and knees locked at the top.

       

      Breaking Parallel
      Breaking Parallel

      Doing Squats will work your entire body, specifically your core which involve your abs and lower back muscles, great for stabilizing your torso while holding large amounts of weight. Repetitions of this exercise will also work and strengthen your upper-back, shoulders and arms as you balance the bar on your back.

       

      This is a great exercise at any time as it works more muscles with heavier weight, you can weights as your body gets stronger. Squats have proven to be effective to gain overall strength and muscle quickly, perfect building up to those moments that require repetitive lifting such as starting a new job or helping a friend move houses.

       

      It’s important to always remember that maintaining proper posture all the way through is key to avoid knee and back pain. And commit to the exercise routine, by doing full Squats. Don’t do partial Squats by going only half the way down. Break parallel by Squatting down until your hips are past and below your knees. Push your knees out so they’re inline with your feet.

       

       

      Most IMPORTANT: Keep your lower back in neutral position (straight), and don’t let it round.

       

      Low Planks To Strengthen Your Core

      Low Planks To Strengthen Your Core

      The core of your body is your foundation and is what keeps you strong, flexible, and active. Planks help by strengthening the muscle groups of your core regions, thus boosting your overall body strength; especially you back muscles.

      The major muscle groups of your core include the:

      -Abdominus (Abs)

      -External Obliques (Next to the abs and below the ribcage)

      -Erector Spinae (Mid Back)

      Doing Planks regularly helps build your body’s high level of functional fitness while also reducing muscle strain and back pain. Having more control of your core improves your balance and gives you better posture.

      Add Planks to your workout to strengthen your core and back muscles.

      Partial Crunches To Strengthen Your Lower Back

      Partial Crunches To Strengthen Your Lower Back

      Partial crunches is a great exercise to strengthen your lower back and abdominal muscles. All you need to do is to lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Use a padded mat for a little more comfort. Put your hands behind your neck or off to the sides of your head, and slowly lift your shoulders off the floor without using your hands or elbows. Breathe out as you raise from the floor and breathe in as you lie back down. When you raise your upper back off the mat, hold this position for about a second and then return all the way back down. This repetition will stretch and utilize your back muscles by supporting your upper weight. Make sure to avoid doing the exercise if or when you have acute back pain. Perform this exercise when you don’t have a backache or discomfort.

      Practicing this exercise in proper posture will build your back muscles to be stronger, thus making it easier for you to perform activities involving your back during your work routine.

      At home or at the gym, start practicing partial crunches. You’ll start feeling the difference.