who needs expensive gym kit!
I though I’d write this weeks blog as a bit of a follow up to last weeks on shoulder pain. I wanted to include some exercise that will help strengthen the muscles that support the shoulder. I am always keen to ascertain what kit people have at home so we can incorporate this into their exercise programme. You’d be surprised what you can use from around the house to have a good, all round workout. Basic bits of kit such as kettlebells are generally easy to pick up from stores like Argos but with a little bit of creativity there are all sorts of bits lurking around the house that can be used during a workout. My favorites are water bottles.
During lock down I did a daily workout using 2x 2 litre waterbottles, the occasional sock and sometimes a towel. The water bottles cost me 50 p each and are still going strong.
If you come into clinic with shoulder pain; as with every patient, the first thing we do is go through your symptoms. You’ll be asked to describe your pain, what makes it worse/better, and any restrictions it’s causing. Building a good picture of the history of the injury makes my life easier. Often desk based roles require long periods of sitting which can lead to your shoulder becoming rounded. This puts the muscles at the back of your shoulder area on a permanent stretch and they don’t like this. As this becomes more chronic it can lead to weakness in the muscles and when you try to move your shoulders the mechanics are slightly disrupted. The human body can be very complicated yet pretty simple a lot of the time. Usually changing a pattern and adding in some strengthening exercises leads to improved symptoms.
Some really nice basic exercises that you can incorporate into your daily life are ones that improve the function of the muscles that move and stabilise the shoulder blade and the rotator cuff that I described in last weeks blog.
Once you’ve got the muscles working well you can then start to add in more challenging weights and begin to build some muscle. The following exercises are beneficial for shoulder pain but please always get it checked out if you are unsure about what to do next
1- lateral raises
2- bent over row
3- external rotation
4- Scapula squeezes
5- upright row
6- shoulder press
Resistance bands are also useful pieces of kit and can usually be purchased relatively commonly but due to COVID 19 they seem to be in short supply. I found this set for £20 which allows for various attachments and resistances.
You can do the same exercises using your resistance bands
When starting out, aim to do 2-4 sets of 8-12 exercises. If its too easy and you are unable to add more weight then add more reps, aiming for 15-20. If you can add more weight then drop the reps to about 6-8. I try to encourage patients to watch themselves in a mirror so they can observe any differences in the movement left to right. Try to set your shoulder blades so they are pulled back and down.
This encourages the shoulder blade to be in a good starting position. Don’t rush through the exercises, once you are able to do the movements then you can progress to adding heavier weights or making the moves more dynamic or part of more complex movement patterns. If you have reduced range of movement in your shoulder try lying down and use the good arm to assist your bad arm over your head. Don’t rush things and don’t force it.
If you have any questions regarding shoulder pain or ongoing issues please get in touch