S**t Happens. Personal Training Chichester
Forrest Gump Was Right!
Forrest Gump was right, no matter how hard we try, sometimes…
And just like that car (though I am yet to see anyone in the Chichester area with that bumper sticker), our bodies sometimes get in little accidents that leave us with scrapes and dents. One slight drop in focus, one lapse in concentration, and POP… we are left wondering why our shoulders ache so much.
Avoidable vs Unavoidable
Most low-level injuries are innocent enough, a little rest and better technique learnt from your personal trainer and there is no real risk of long term disaster. Whilst mostly avoidable (given proper execution of an exercise and reasonable weight), they do happen from time to time. Other injuries, of a more serious nature, are often times unavoidable and happen from random moments of impact and stress.
If an athlete pulls a hamstring in their personal training, it is usually down to their level of preparedness, poor mechanics and fatigue (mostly avoidable). If however, a rugby player gets hit in the side of the knee by a 19 stone brute travelling at top speed; it’s in the hands of fate (unavoidable). Dealing with multiple athletes from Chichester Rugby Club, these cases often cannot be prepared for, it’s just unlucky and comes down to being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I myself have been dealt ligament injuries simply from having studs stuck in the ground and not giving way when being tackled, resulting in weeks of frustrating limping.
But what if the injury YOU have picked up is just a small bump in the road; you’ve tweaked a pectoral, your shoulder is aching, or your elbow just feels a little sore? You still have that desire to train, but your normal exercises seem to play havoc on your joints. The answer is easy; adjust your training program so that you can still push yourself, but allow the muscles & joints to recover in the positions that are painful.
Upper Body Aches & Pains
When dealing with discomfort & injuries, the priority should always be on correct diagnosis. No…your training buddy who once hurt his elbows and thought it was because of too few curls is not a reputable source of information (seek professional advice and follow the advice given). If it’s simply a case of easing the stress on the area effected and you’ve been given the all clear to train, here are a few exercises twists & substitutions for your upper body work to keep you working hard!
Problem 1) Bench Press hurting your elbows/shoulders (delete as appropriate)?
The bench is a staple in almost everyone’s training program, and arguably for good reason. If you are hurting from this exercise, firstly check your technique (here’s a previous post dedicated to the bench press https://daviestraining.com/2017/01/25/bench-press/ ).
Still no good? Right, time to adjust your training! Here’s what I recommend:
Problem 1 Cure) Floor Press
The floor press is hugely similar to the bench press, you just do it on the floor (surprise!). As the bar will travel a shorter distance (unless you have a 70″ chest and/or T-Rex arms), the load placed on the pecs and shoulders is decreased. The most harmful position of the bench press is the bottom (bar on your chest), so by removing this we can oftentimes reduce the discomfort felt. This is a great option for guys with long arms (Chichester playing second rows I’m looking at you), and for trainers new to the gym.
Key pointers for proper execution:
- Pull the bar apart & try to bend it.
- Compress the triceps (avoid bones of elbows touching the floor).
- Bend knees so feet are flat against floor (better for your back).
Problem 2) Overhead Press Got Your Shoulders Screaming?
Whether it’s a push press, the Olympic lifts, or just an overhead dumbbell press; many of us experience pain when going overhead. Mobility and stability overhead deserves several blog posts of it’s own, so today I will just give you the best ways to still train your deltoids and the movement pattern whilst reducing the likelihood of pain occurring.
Problem 2 Cure) Landmine Press & Lots of Light Raises
The landmine press is a great alternative for building strength through the shoulders and arms, and if done with one hand you get the added benefits of extra “core” work and some stability for the hips/legs. My go to for most of my Davies Training Chichester clients is the half kneeling position (as shown), but you can use a variety of positions. Because the angle you are pressing it has been lowered from directly vertical to something closer to 45°, it’s a much safer option for those prone to shoulder pain.
Keys for proper execution:
- Brace abs and keep ribs down (prevent arching).
- Press and reach.
- Go slow and controlled.
Problem 3) Dips Grinding Those Pecs?
Dips are brilliant! When it comes to developing size and strength throughout the chest, triceps and anterior deltoids, they are hard to beat. BUT they require a great level of mobility and stability, and therefore often wreck havoc on the trainers performing them. Long arms? Play a sport like rugby or another that involves throwing? If dips kill your shoulders, maybe they just aren’t for you right now, the answer?
Problem 3 Cure) Decline Press and Triceps!
If you really must target your “lower” chest (I won’t go into this), then jump on a decline bench with a pair of dumbbells. Looking for huge triceps but can’t dip? Most of your tricep development will come from the pressing you are already doing (hopefully): close grip bench, floor press, push-ups. Outside of this just hammer them with high volume (lots of reps and sets) of various cable extensions. I have seen too many people butcher a simple triceps extension with too much weight and having to swing the cable around, so focus on slow tempo and good contraction of the muscle.
So there we have it for now. Just a few quick twists and tips on how to reduce the stress you are feeling on certain muscles/joints. Don’t forget to check out the series of #askAaron videos we are running on the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/daviestraining/ and if you have any questions you want answering, just drop them onto our social media page. Get in touch with Davies Training for all your personal training, health and fitness answers.