Unlike some sports injuries, you don’t need to suffer one big blow to do serious damage to your shoulders. Stressing this part of the body every time you hit the gym is enough to break down soft tissue over time, and cause the type of intense pain that keeps you off the bench for weeks. But don’t get scared and stop lifting, just lift smarter. We asked CJ Murphy, trainer and owner of Total Performance Sports, for his advice on avoiding this all too common injury.
1. Vary Your Upper-Back Work
Don't focus entirely on boosting your bench press; leave room for rows as well. Murphy suggests performring half of your upper-back work as pull-down/pull-up movements and half as rows.
2. Work Around Your Rotator Cuff
Contrary to popular opinion, Murphy says direct rotator cuff work is unnecessary and may be detrimental to your development. He adds, “The cuff is a stabilizer, and direct work is not necessary to maintain shoulder health.”