With the holidays upon us, you might find yourself with some extra time for something a little out of the ordinary. This might be some handy work around the house, a few extra gym sessions or maybe a beloved hobby. While it is a perfect time to fit in these activities, we often see an increase in overuse injuries that can be avoided. Most overuse injuries are attributed to a sudden increase in load which is often repetitive in nature. 

The shoulder is quite prone to injury due to its large available range of motion. Think about painting the house, swimming or maybe backyard cricket. All of these activities require repetitive load at end range shoulder motion. The good news is there are lots of things you can do to prevent overloading the shoulder, keeping those niggles away. 

Tip 1: Break It Up

Break the activity into short blocks throughout the day or spread your activity into increments across the week. This will allow your body time to adapt and recover between sessions. For example; aim to swim Monday, Wednesday and Saturday rather than consecutive days. 

Tip 2: Start Some Shoulder Stretches

Completing a set of stretches before an activity will help ensure your shoulder range of motion is available. This will reduce shoulder impingement positions and decrease load on the rotator cuff muscles. See below for a few stretches:

Posterior capsule stretch
• Stretch your shoulder across the body
• Hold for 30-60 seconds repeat 2-3 times
• You should feel this at the back of your shoulder

Posterior Capsule Stretch
Posterior Capsule Stretch

Standing pec stretch
• Standing in a door frame, bring your elbow to shoulder height or just above
• Turn your body away from your shoulder
• Hold for 30-60 seconds repeat 2-3 times
• You should feel this in the front of your shoulder

Standing Pec Stretch
Standing Pec Stretch

Tip 3: Rotator cuff strengthening

After stretching complete some rotator cuff strengthening exercises to activate the stabilisers. 

Rotator Cuff Tightening
Rotator Cuff Tightening

External rotation against theraband
• Keeping the shoulder blade next to your spine
• Rotate your shoulder away from the body
• 10-15 repetitions, 3 sets
External rotation and abduction against theraband
• Keeping the shoulder blade next to your spine
• Lift the arm away from your body
• Extend out your elbow
• 10-15 repetitions, 3 sets

 

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