When an Amateur Bodybuilder Injures His Rotator Cuff

by Jsantos, January 17, 2013

When an Amateur Bodybuilder Injures his Rotator Cuff…

When you start building your body muscle structure, normally you don’t know too much about training techniques. It is very possible you don’t know anything at all. However, with time you start to learn how your body reacts and what works best. Naples location .

That learning curve sometimes, more than we would like to, comes with an injury. Unfortunately, a rotator cuff injury is one of the most common ones.

The rotator cuff (I always like to clarify this point) is not a single muscle but a compound of muscles and tendons that assist the shoulder joint to perform its functions. The complexity of the rotator cuff system allows the flexibility and range of motion we can appreciate when we move our arms.

Anyways, it turns out that I was reading recently that when bodybuilding started years ago people would perform weight training with basic movements that did not compromised the joint as much as they do now. It was interesting to learn that when the bench press and the military press were introduced, rotator cuff injuries started to pop.

It makes total sense if you analyze it. Lets say you start to work out before the introduction of these “new” techniques called bench press and/or military press. You perform full range of movements training and your day to day involves compound muscles strengthening. With time, your whole body will get stronger and your muscle plus tendons will be more flexible, resistant and ready for bigger loads even if you isolate them. After a year of training the “old amateur bodybuilder” will face a bench press with no problem. His rotator cuff system is ready for battle.

The interesting part of all this is that, since its introduction, bench press has become the cornerstone of bodybuilding, at least for amateurs. So, lets say you are 18 and want to start weight training. You are excited and ready to begin your journey. free domain and web hosting . Your college friends are starting with you and the atmosphere is thrilling. Right when you hit the gym for the first time, people start to ask: “how much do you bench?”

Soon you realize that the more you bench press the more people will talk about you and “admire” you. Your ego feeds from the frenzy. Every chest session becomes an obsession and the bench press becomes a lovely muse you want to seduce. You start increasing the weights trying to prove everybody you are strong and cool without knowing that you are the same time pushing the limits of your body. One day you wake up with a slight pain on your shoulder. You don’t care and keep pushing. Suddenly, the pain grows and you are no longer able to train as well to finally discover with an orthopedic doctor that your rotator cuff is injured.

But, what would happen if you were one of those “old bodybuilders”?

Lets analyze the “new bodybuilder” situation. If you are somebody that has never trained with weights and start a regime with heavy loads on the bench press, you will likely hurt yourself. The reason is simple. Anatomically, the chest needs the assistance of two more muscle groups to push or bench press: the shoulder and triceps. If you start training your chest with lots of bench press sessions you will likely develop the muscles unevenly. The overall system required to move the weights will have a strong chest and triceps with weak shoulders to counter balance. If you add tendon lack of flexibility inside the rotator cuff due to your training techniques, you will have a formula for failure.

On the contrary, the “old bodybuilder” never faced the bench press pressure and trained his body more evenly considering the techniques and equipment available at the time. Simple!

I honestly think that education is the first step you should take before you start bodybuilding. How to train, how to rest, how to eat are the basics you

need to learn. You also have to learn to listen to your body and follow its voice. Sometimes we forget about this simple matter and end up in a MRI machine listening to strange sounds.

I don’t have a statistic to quote but I would say that 60%-70% of the training, if not more, happens around the upper body muscles, even though you have two legs that count for the other 50% of you (maybe not for pro-bodybuilders that follow every instruction on the book). However, we seem to forget that shoulders are without a doubt the most important muscles you should train, period. They assist every move you make when you train your upper body. The stronger they are, the less probable you will get injured. If you don’t believe me, take a look at gymnastic athletes. Their shoulders are trained so well they become

strong and extremely flexible. I know is a different training but we can see and apply the foundations in order to obtain the same benefits.

The “old bodybuilder” versus the “new bodybuilder”. Who wins?

I don’t know and it may sound cliché but I’d rather proper form with low weights than huge impressive, gym eye opener, people gatherer, guys talking about you weights poorly executed.

In the end you will be alone in the doctor’s office, maybe with your mom, waiting for the solution to your severely damaged rotator cuff.



Surgeon’s Advice | Leon Mead MD Orthopedic Doctor | 730 Goodlette Road North, Suite 201  Naples Florida 34102 | Phone: (239) 262-1119


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