Studies show that 21% of the general population have some form of shoulder injury but I would expect that the amount of athletes suffering are much higher. The problem I see with most athletes is many sports coaches do not fix poor form movements or encourage prehab drills to reduce the risk of injury. Sports coaches tend to know if their sport is a high shoulder pain sport yet I rarely see any form of fixing the problem.
As a Strength Coach I spot these issues with athletes daily but the most interesting thing is that as a Track and Field THROWS Coach my athletes suffer the least. These are athletes who throw heavy objects 5-6 days a week while being the strongest most powerful athletes in the school and we still tend to see the lowest level of shoulder problems. Below you will see a list of ways to avoid and fix shoulder issues before surgery ends a season.
1) 2:1 Ratio Pull to Push
If your sport involves the arm coming forward (basically every sport, Crew kids tend to be safe here) you better be rowing a lot in your weight room time. If Monday is Bench day and there are 8 sets of different push exercises you better be doing close to 16 sets of pull exercises on Tuesday. Ideally, hit it from all angles. Seated row, barbell row, Dumbbell row, Pull-Ups, ect..
2) Specialty Bars
These you won’t see as often but they’re a must. The best bar I have come across is Bandbell Earthquake Bar. It’s effective, it’s fun, and it really gets into tiny areas and fixes the shoulder. Multi-Grip bars are another great bench bar. By putting the hands in a safer spot you can really reduce shoulder strain. The best bars for athletes with shoulder pain aren’t actually used for shoulder movement exercises but for squats. If you have shoulder pain, squat often, or play a shoulder driven sport you really need to add Safety Squat Bars and Cambered Bars to your training. Why damage the shoulders during leg day. By placing the shoulders in a less stressful position you can put all of your focus on the legs and glutes and give the delts a day off.
3) BUY A DONNIE THOMPSON BOWTIE
I cannot stress this enough. It’s a $60-70 investment that will change your life. I wear mine for about 15minutes 2x a day and have never felt better. Don’t let sports or your job force your shoulders out of lineup. Not only will this device reset your shoulders but it will create muscle memory which will cause you to readjust randomly throughout the day. At least twice a day I catch myself pulling my shoulder blades back without even thinking about it. If there is one thing you take away from this post it should be this. BUY ONE ASAP.