Text Your Ex Back Free - Last week I was reminded that those of us who work at SAPT are in possession of some pretty special information: Over at Mason I was finishing up with the Throwers and needed to excuse myself to the restroom. No big deal, they w
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ere all stretching and the session was wrapping up – the intern would keep an eye on things. But, to my HORROR upon return, I found the intern instructing the male throwers in the “fine points” of standing biceps curls. I’m sure you’re thinking: “What’s the big deal?” right? Well, it’s a big freaking deal and this is why…
What is shoulder impingement syndrome?
“Pain and dysfunction due to excessive overhead use or abnormal positioning of the shoulder during overhead throwing activities are common and may result from multiple etiologies, including impingement syndromes… Primary impingement has been attributed to abnormalities of the shape of the acromion and other static and dynamic causes… Secondary impingement is a similar entity but is due to an occult dynamic instability (usually anterior), which leads to symptoms similar to those seen in primary impingement.”
Essentially, what happens with overhead athletes and throwing athletes is that the tendons about the shoulder become inflamed from the crazy positions athletes put their arms in for the sake of a kill or an out or the butterfly stroke. Once the tendons become inflamed it requires lots of rest to allow the inflammation to go down. Most athletes do not get enough rest, especially in-season. So, let’s say we’ve got a volleyball player with biceps tendonitis, now we’ve got a situation where the biceps tendon is larger (due to the inflammation) thus not sliding within the shoulder the way it should. This poor sliding or impingement causes excessive wear and tear on the tendon and the joint in general.
What can make shoulder impingement worse?
So, the million-dollar answer – insert drum roll – DIRECT BICEPS TRAINING! Hopefully, I’ve already created some decent imagery of an inflamed tendon squeezed tightly into the shoulder capsule and beginning to show wear and tear. Now, imagine this same athlete with this same shoulder trying to get his pre-party pump on. He is innocently going to town on the biceps curls (because a good biceps pump is, after all, the key to a lady’s heart), but in reality he is effectively causing more inflammation in the tendon via the increased blood flow and direct work.
This additional, unnecessary volume is the culprit and can push a good shoulder into the danger zone of season-long pain and stiffness.
But, Sarah, how can I train my biceps, avoid shoulder pain, and still be a hit with the ladies?
It’s actually an easy and significantly more worthwhile way to spend your time: use compound pulling exercises. Think chin-ups, pull-ups, lat pull-down variations, any and all row variations, etc… These types of movements allow for intense training of the biceps and several other muscle groups. They also effectively allow your body to work in the way it was designed. There is generally no pain associated with these substitutions, however, if you give my suggestions a try and experience pain you should discontinue the movement immediately and try a different variation, angle, or exercise all together.
...Well, to finish my story: the intern clearly had no idea what the problem was and it turned out neither did one of our Mason GA’s. So, this post is for you, Adam and Matt.
These are the kind of details that put SAPT into a class all our own.
If you want to keep your head attached, never, ever add additional workload to my programs. Ever. It’s that important and, yes, it makes a difference. - Sarah