Do you experience pain with overhead exercises?


This article will help you: 

  1. Understand the mechanics behind a barbell overhead press.
  2. Give you cues to perform the movement correctly.
  3. Provide you with a few drills to help prime your body for this moderately advanced movement.

The overhead press is:

A movement that can be incorporated into many different types of programs, whether you are looking to loose weight, gain muscle mass, or just live an overall healthier lifestyle. This lift works on building the muscles around your shoulders and chest while improving shoulder girdle and core stability.


How perform the overhead press correctly

Top 3 cues:

  • Before even starting the movement pull your shoulder blades down and back and be sure to maintain this position throughout the movement. We will be working on this motion in the drills below
  • Keep your pelvis tucked underneath you and your ribs down, do not let your back over arch backward.
  • Do not let your elbows flare out to the sides. Focus on keeping your elbows under your hands. To do this think about driving your pinkies together.

Symptoms

Listed below are some symptoms you may be experiencing if you are not performing this movement correctly

  • Low back pain
  • Sharp pain at the front of your shoulder
  • Neck pain
  • Elbow pain

To avoid these symptoms:

Try the drills listed below to ensure that your body is ready to perform the overhead press.

It is essential that during this movement the barbell follows the correct path to ensure shoulder safety. For this to be possible one must have proper external rotation at the shoulder and neuromuscular control of the movement. The following drills will help accomplish these goals.

After completing the above exercises be sure to perform a few warm up sets of this lift before adding any significant amount of weight to the bar. To gauge these type of warm up sets aim to be between a 9 and 11 on the RPE scale or use about 50-65% of your 1RM, if this is known. Aim to complete at least 2-3 warm up sets before getting into the working sets of this lift. This will ensure that your body is properly warmed up and primed to be able to perform this lift correctly.


Summary

The overhead press is beneficial movement for everyone to incorporate into their fitness routine. However we need to be careful not to perform unsafe movement patterns. Try these drills and use the videos to help guide you to help improve your overhead movement patterns. Performing these drills a few times a week should help improve your mechanics and decrease pain. If you are still having trouble with this movement or are experiencing pain during this movement contact us for a free discovery consultation.

-Dr. Chelsea Schuman, PT

Pain With Pull Ups?


The pull up exercise is very daunting to most people, however; it is a very simple exercise to master when broken down into steps. However, before we even think about stepping up to a pull up bar we want to ensure that our shoulder girdle is in the good a position to be able to properly perform the exercise.

The pull up is a great upper body exercise to help build the strength in your back and shoulders. This exercise specifically help build your latissimus dorsi, trapezius, and deltoids.

 


How to perform correctly

Top 3 cues to be thinking about:

  • Before even beginning the movement set your shoulder blades down and back toward your back pockets; this will be a very small motion but important to protect your shoulder girdle from injury.

  • Drive your pinkies toward each other as if you are trying to bend the bar.
  • Think about pulling the bar down toward you as opposed to pulling yourself up to the bar.

Symptoms

Some symptoms you may be experiencing if you are performing this movement incorrectly are:

  • Shoulder pain
  • Neck pain
  • Elbow pain

Perform the following drills if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and to help decrease your risk for injury while performing the pull up.


Summary

The pull up is a great exercise to help build overall upper body strength, however; can be the cause of many shoulder and/or elbow injuries if performed incorrectly. You can use the drills provided in this article to help decrease your risk for injury and/or improve your pull up mechanics. If you are still having trouble or experiencing pain call us for a free discovery consultation.

-Dr. Chelsea Schuman, PT

Solve Pain With The Turkish Get Up


The Turkish get up is a great exercise to help improve your ability to connect your shoulders, core, and pelvis. To be able to perform this exercise you need adequate shoulder stability and the neuromuscular control to connect all of the correct movement together. Although this is a fairly advanced movement it can be broken down into phases. In addition each phase has its own benefits and can be performed in isolation.

This exercise is a great whole body exercise to help improve neuromuscular control and positioning strength to be able to perform more complex lifts.


How to perform correctly

Some symptoms you may experience if you are performing this exercise incorrectly are:

  • Shoulder pain
  • Neck pain
  • Low back pain
  • Knee pain

Phases

  1. Half bridge (phase 1)
  2. Starfish (phase 2)
  3. Leg sweep (phase 3)
  4. Windmill (phase 4)
  5. Overhead lunge (phase 5)

Phase 1: Half bridge

This movement is great if you are having pain during your overhead exercises. This is usually indicative of poor scapular movements and stability. This phase will help improve your body’s ability to properly position your scapula so it is able to accept a load overhead.

Main cue from your performance therapist: push through the inside of the foot of the knee that is bent, drive through your bent elbow, and punch towards the ceiling.


Phase 2: Starfish

This phase is a great exercise to perform if you are having trouble activating your glutes and hamstring during your lifts. You will know you are having trouble with this if your low back feels tight after deadlifts or squats. This means that you letting your low back muscles take over the movement. You should not move on to this phase unless you are able to perform five good repetitions of phase 1 without feeling like your back is performing the movement or without having shoulder pain. During this phase your body is working to continue to build tension in your posterior chain to properly perform later phases.

Main cue from your performance therapist: push through the entire foot of the knee that is bent and engage those glutes!


Phase 3: Leg Sweep

The key for this phase is making sure that you are placing your foot in the right place to set yourself up for success during the next two phases. This phase requires the ability control movement of your lower extremity while maintaining tension in your posterior chain and core. Therefore you should not progress to this phase unless you have mastered the above phases.

Main cue from your performance therapist: Place your knee about a foot behind from you planted foot and maintain tension in the glute of your planted foot.


Phase 4: Windmill  

This phase again, is an exercise to help you learn about to use your glutes and not your back to perform a movement (noticing a trend here??). If you are experiencing low back pain or hip pain during your squat (especially if you are going below parallel) this exercise is for you. This movement is a little more advanced than the previous phases so do not attempt this phase until you are able to perform five good repetitions of the previous phases.

Main cue from your performance therapist: drive through the inside of the planted foot and think about pushing that hip down to bring you into that upright position.


Phase 5: Overhead Reverse Lunge

The last phase of your turkish get up is when you will use all of the tension in your posterior chain that you have been working to build up in the previous phases. The key to this phase is to push throughout back leg to stand up. It should almost feel as though you are going backwards first and then standing up. Again, you should not feel this tension in your low back, if you are return back to the beginning of the the turkish get up and master each phase. This exercise in isolation is great if you are experiencing low back pain as long as you are properly using your glute.

Main cue from your performance therapist: keep the tension in your glutes not your low back. It should feel as though you are trying you push the floor away and behind you.


In summary,

The Turkish get up is a great exercise to address many different positional strength issues. Although, it is frequently performed incorrectly which can lead to pain and movement dysfunctions. Use these videos and cues to assist you in performing these movements correctly. If you are still experiencing pain or have any other questions please do not hesitate to contact us for a free discovery consultation.

-Dr. Chelsea Schuman

Can you plank without pain?

The plank is great exercise to help improve your core strength and shoulder stability however it is very commonly performed incorrectly. When you perform this exercise incorrectly you are putting your shoulders at risk for injury and it won’t be as effective in helping to build your core strength.


This exercise will help:

  • Improve core stability so you can perform complex movements more efficiently
  • Improve shoulder stability to be able to perform overhead activities with better scapular positioning

How to perform correctly:

If you are having trouble performing the plank properly up on your toes you can modify this exercise by dropping down to your knees. Below you find the correct way to perform this modification and also a common incorrect way to perform it.


Top 3 cues:

  • Keep your elbows under your shoulders
  • Don’t clasp your hands together
  • Keep your pelvis tucked underneath you

If you are performing this exercise incorrectly you may experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Shoulder pain
  • Hip pain
  • Low back pain

To ensure you are performing this exercise correctly:

Perform the following drills to improve your mechanics and prime your body for the movement.


Summary

The plank can be used to help improve your core and shoulder stability which will in turn will help improve some of your more complex lifts that require this stability. Just as with any exercise our body will find ways to make it easier for us to perform. However sometimes these changes can cause injury to our bodies. Try these drills and use the cues to help improve your movement patterns and decrease your risk for injury. If you are still have trouble or experiencing pain call us for a free discovery consultation.