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Stable Shoulders; Steady Gains

Powerlifting Bench Press Techniques

Many of us have had, will have or do have shoulder problems. I know this because I've read your email. Some readers didn't even realize that they had a shoulder problem. Its not always as obvious as a shooting pain. I personally had to have a surgeon tell me that I needed operation before I truly confronted my shoulder problem.

I refused surgery (I'm not recommending that you defy your doctor), and began a grueling rehabilitation program. I never had the surgery, and I hopefully never will have to. My advice to powerlifters is to treat these type of injuries before they happen.

Just recently, I passed on my favorite rotator cuff exercises to a couple of lifters who were dealing with their own shoulder problems. Each lifter had pain. Neither were making gains on their bench. The one that really worried me was the one with the popping sound.

I told them both the same thing that I am about to tell you:

I'm not a doctor. If you're having problems, please consult one.

After trying the rotator cuff exercises, both are now making gains on bench and their shoulder pain has subsided.

I don't intend for this article to help people with injuries. If you feel that you have an injury, you should probably consult your family doctor. What I do intend to do is to demonstrate the importance of a healthy rotator cuff. Unlike other joints, your shoulder is held together primarily by a series of small muscles. These muscles need to be trained in order maintain a stable base not only for your bench press, but for everyday life.

Over time, your training can have a devastating effect on these muscles. They are not hard to train, but you can't let your ego get in the way. Even if you have a 500 lb bench, you will be training your rotator cuffs with the smallest dumbbells in the gym. I generally use a 2 1/2 lb plate.

I try to do these exercises 2-3 times per week. If you don't want to be seen at he gym using the little green or pink dumbbells, you can use a can of soup or something of that size and weight at your home.

The following is a link to a very useful rotator cuff handout. This site is in no way affiliated with E-normous, but was nice enough to allow me to point you to their handout.


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