One of the most common injuries functional fitness athletes experience is a shoulder injury. Great demands of shoulder strength and mobility are often required to effectively and safely perform movements like pull-ups, muscle-ups, handstand, snatch, cleans, jerks, push-ups, bench press, and more.
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Place a cannon in a canoe and put both into the water. Then fire, and... what happens? KABOOM! Id’ bet money on the cannon ball not going far. Why? Because the canoe has a poor base of stability for maximal force production to be generated. Chances are, the canoe will capsize or be blown to pieces.
Would you really try to fire a cannon from a canoe?
Hardly. So why keep pushing your body in training to go to places (KBOOM!) that your shoulders just aren’t strong enough to survive unscathed? Many athletes focus on building the primary moves (for the purposes of my analogy, let’s think of those as big cannons), yet fail to understand the importance of building a bigger canoe (ie. strengthening the stabilisation muscles in the shoulder). It’s typically here that the shoulder gets injured, or you start experiencing pain in the elbows or wrists joints because it’s all linked together in the chain.
The most absurd example is when we look at the typical commercial gym, where we often see many guys focusing on their “beach muscles.” Their exercise selection is often limited to the muscle they can see in the mirror - bench press and bicep curls. The overtraining of the anterior chain often leads to an imbalance that can cause frustration, pain, and injury.
This can also be seen in gymnastics when athlete focuses on pushing exercises like planche, dips, and handstand push-ups while neglecting pulling exercises like pull-ups. This is a recipe for creating a structural imbalance in strength and flexibility that will induce shoulder pain.