Please recommend a “shoulder health” workout

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Please recommend a “shoulder health” workout

Postby Ombrax » June 21st, 2017, 11:36 pm

Is there such a thing as a workout (say, strengthening and / or stretching exercises) intended to help erg users minimize the likelihood having rowing-induced shoulder issues?

Too often, when I try to push myself “to the next level” (to use a phrase you hear too often in ESPN interviews) I end up tweaking something in my shoulder and have to either stop rowing for a week or so, or back off on effort and meters. I know I’m not over-training, or anything like that (I typically only row three times per week, no more than 5k per workout).

This could be technique-related, but for the sake of argument, let’s assume that that’s not the case.

Bottom line, what, if anything, can I be doing to help out my shoulders?

TIA
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Re: Please recommend a “shoulder health” workout

Postby jamesg » June 22nd, 2017, 1:27 am

You can strengthen your shoulder control groups with light load isometric work.

My physio, after I broke and/or damaged some tendons, gave me a whole set of shoulder exercises. Action was designed to engage all the shoulder control groups, back, front, rotary and also upper arm, all under small loads, mostly isometric, each repeated 10-20 times both ways. Very effective, most can be done anywhere anytime, even leaning against a tree or a bus stop with one hand.

Apart from that, I find that 1-2 km/day freestyle is a great help for the shoulders, but I have to go slow and it takes me a week or so just to go over 1 km.

Rowing never caused me any injuries, but maybe I never pulled hard enough, preferring to use the legs. Us engineers prefer long soft pulls, rather than short and hard, as tendon stresses and strains are lower so less risky and more work can be done. A relaxed muscle is unlikely to suffer much.
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Re: Please recommend a “shoulder health” workout

Postby Nick » June 22nd, 2017, 7:01 am

First off - have you seen a doctor (not a chiropractor!) for your shoulder pain? If not, I would strongly recommend that you do so. I'm 78 years old and have rotator cuff issues in both shoulders. I row 25 days a month - about 3500 meters per session - and at the advice of my orthopedic surgeon and physical therapist I do a very easy warm up - stretching - before I get on the erg. That said - my advice is to see a doctor, find out if there are some correctable underlying issues and proceed from there. Could be your form (I don't know how experienced you are) in which case you can easily fix the problem yourself. Good luck.
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Re: Please recommend a “shoulder health” workout

Postby Oldcolonial » June 22nd, 2017, 7:46 am

If you are looking for workout Ideas I like this little pamphlet. It seems to hit all the major aspects of shoulder health; strength, flexibility, endurance, stability and proprioception.

http://orthoinfo.org/PDFs/Rehab_Shoulder_5.pdf

I had shoulder surgery 13 weeks ago and my PT uses it as a show and tell for many of the exercises I have done and will be doing. I had the misfortune of hurting mine in an accident but going forward I will be particularly sensitive to maintaining shoulder health.
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Re: Please recommend a “shoulder health” workout

Postby Ripples » June 22nd, 2017, 11:13 am

These are the six I do at least three times a week since recovering from a fractured shoulder.

https://www.nrs.com/shop/assets/global/ ... cument.pdf

Have had no issues on the erg or while paddling on the water and do the exercises to keep it that way.
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Re: Please recommend a “shoulder health” workout

Postby mdpfirrman » July 6th, 2017, 4:18 pm

A lot of physical therapists swear by the "BodyBlade". The thing looks gimmicky, but as someone that's torn my rotator cuff 3 times and had to go through all the rehab, the principles of it are solid. You need to work the small muscles a lot. The BodyBlade should do that. Another thing that I did the last time I tore my rotator cuff was "hanging therapy". The theory goes, we evolved from apes but we've stopped pulling up on the shoulder. I used the lat pull down bar at the gym to very gently pull up on my shoulder with just enough weight that as I sat down, it gently pulled my shoulder all the way up. Painful as hell, but I tell you this - it fixed my rotator cuff a LOT faster that last time. Nothing with full body weight, just use a lat pull down bar and gradually add weight to it. No pulling it down, just sit and let your shoulder gently go up with the weight pulling it up. Hold as long as you can but don't do too much weight and gradually build up. Shoulder rehab/strengthening is full-time work. I took 3 months off of lifting last time and did 3 days a week in the gym just working on my shoulder and legs. Not fun. Certainly see a doc or PT if you can just to confirm the diagnosis.

Also, your muscles/body likes balance. One time I tore it from too many bench presses (before I started rowing). Too much rowing without chest work makes your back too strong relative to your chest. For every muscle group you work, you want to work the diametric muscle group to stay balanced. Being unbalanced can stress your shoulder too.
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Re: Please recommend a “shoulder health” workout

Postby j_old » July 6th, 2017, 7:05 pm

The 7-Minute Rotator Cuff Solution by Horrigan & Robinson. Helped my shoulders a lot. Might be out of print; but, I suspect the Googles can find a pdf on line that you can download.
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Re: Please recommend a “shoulder health” workout

Postby Ombrax » July 6th, 2017, 9:46 pm

Thanks folks, you've been helpful.

BTW, Mike, after reading your post and looking into it, I came across this as a DIY version of the "Bodyblade" - I might make one just for grins:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjuIqenR1CE&t=80s
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Re: Please recommend a “shoulder health” workout

Postby mdpfirrman » July 13th, 2017, 10:33 am

Ombrax - that looks pretty cool. There are bodyblade imitators out there for under $30 (most have mixed reviews). Best of luck with the shoulder!
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Re: Please recommend a “shoulder health” workout

Postby Dangerscouse » July 25th, 2017, 12:48 pm

Ombrax, I love doing the 'halo' exercise with a barbell plate (works most of the upper body too), along with the standard lateral and front raises and the dumbbell bench pullover which also works most of the upper body.

I think that you should get the shoulders checked by a doctor just to be sure there's not some underlying issue.
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Re: Please recommend a “shoulder health” workout

Postby Ombrax » July 25th, 2017, 2:15 pm

Dangerscouse wrote:I think that you should get the shoulders checked by a doctor just to be sure there's not some underlying issue.


Thanks for the exercise ideas.

Just today I made an appointment to see the orthopedic surgeon. We'll see what he thinks is going on in there...
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Re: Please recommend a “shoulder health” workout

Postby Dangerscouse » July 25th, 2017, 3:54 pm

Good luck with that Ombrax, hopefully nothing to worry about and you'll be smashing your PBs in no time
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Re: Please recommend a “shoulder health” workout

Postby paul s » August 10th, 2017, 11:04 pm

After getting shoulder pain in the front of each shoulder I figured rowing involves mainly pulling with your shoulders, so I started doing push ups afterwards. I figured this would counteract the pulling. This took away the problem.
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Re: Please recommend a “shoulder health” workout

Postby Dangerscouse » August 11th, 2017, 11:59 am

Good point Paul. I also use a doorway to stretch my shoulders / chest i.e. stand in an open doorway holding on to the doorframe and lean into the gap holding for circa 1 min. As Paul said it's important to do 'contrarian' stretches
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Re: Please recommend a “shoulder health” workout

Postby Ombrax » August 11th, 2017, 1:04 pm

Dangerscouse wrote:Good point Paul. I also use a doorway to stretch my shoulders / chest i.e. stand in an open doorway holding on to the doorframe and lean into the gap holding for circa 1 min. As Paul said it's important to do 'contrarian' stretches


This is just about the only stretche that causes pain in my shoulder. That and throwing are the two main things that result in what I think is an abnormal level of pain.
Happily, rowing itself does not directly result in shoulder pain.

My original appointment to see the orthopedic surgeon was for today, but he himself had a shoulder operation a while back, so they asked me to reschedule. The current plan is for me to see him two weeks from now.
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