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Proper shoulder posture while standing?
Posted: 03 December 2009 07:13 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I was wondering if anyone could help answer a pretty basic question for me - I’ve tried googling it to no avail but I’m probably searching the wrong thing.

Lately I’ve been suffering from shoulder impingements.  On the advice of an RMT I stopped doing pushing exercises and have been focussing on pulling exercises, and infraspinitus/supraspinitus (sp) exercises.  This has helped my left shoulder but my right shoulder continues to nag me…

I was speaking with someone tonight who mentioned that my shoulders look like they are rotated forwards.  If I stand up, letting my arms just hang freely in their socks, then the inside of my hands form a 45 degree angle (roughly) with my body, turned inwards.  My arms “rest” about 2-3 inches in front of the outside of my thighs, and there is a very slight bend in the elbows perhaps 10-15 degrees.  This person said that ideally my arms should hang freely to the side of my body with the palms facing inwards i.e. thumbs forwards.  She also mentioned that this might be the underlying cause of my inpingement (chest too tight, back not strong enough?)

Does it sound like my stance is normal or are my shoulders pulled forwards?

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Posted: 03 December 2009 09:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hmmm, sounds like USA syndrome. I think 90% of the US population and pretty much anyone who spends too much time sitting in a chair and not enough exercising has this same problem. Basically you are slouching. The hands being at a 45 degree angle I dont think really matters as much as keeping your shoulders back and your chest out. Feel like your shoulders are behind your chest, this will likely feel like this but wont really look like this as much. This will align your back.

As far as this being your underlying condition to cause your shoulder pain no one can really advise on that over the internet. But none the less it is good to stand with good posture, and sit with good posture.

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Posted: 04 December 2009 05:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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http://www.marksdailyapple.com/improve-posture/
http://www.marksdailyapple.com/sitting-unhealthy/
Mark Sisson touches on this a bit in both these posts (if I remember correctly; I’m reading sociology, so I can’t skim the post atm). Regarding shoulder impingement, K-Star gives a checklist in one of his seminars. Search shoulder impingement in the CFJ website. And, while you’re there, just get everything else K-Star has.

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Posted: 04 December 2009 09:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Stopping pressing overhead when dealing with shoulder impingement is a very good idea. Stopping pressing period is not. I’ve been through this and it took about 6-8 weeks of rehab to go from not being able to press more than a 45# bar OH without pain to back to my PR. Think about what’s going on here, you’ve got soft tissue sandwiched between bone. Ignore this and you’re asking for a rotator cuff injury that will take a long time to heal. As my PT said to me, don’t worry, we can fix this as long as you’re willing to put in the work.

Find a good physical therapist, someone who practices ART, etc. My test for them is whether the solution is to resolve the impingement and get you pressing again (good), or if they say “don’t press” (bad, shame on them.) They’ll do an assessment to see what’s causing the impingement. Is it tightness in the pecs and front that is pulling the shoulders forward? Is it weak retractors that need to be strengthened? In my case it was both and the therapy was to work on the tightness in the pecs while strengthening the scapular retractors. This is something I keep doing. Also, I put a little note on one of my monitors at my desk to remind myself to sit tall and pull my shoulders back so I don’t fall back into this. Only impingement issues I have are with heavier thrusters and I know that comes down to a technique issue that’s causing poor alignment. It’s on my to-do list to do some thrusters on video and get some feedback. Keep in mind that shoulder impingement can lead to other disorders such as an actual rotator cuff injury and/or bursitis.

Of course treatment has to follow/include dealing with the inflammation and NSAID’s are not the answer. Diet is.

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Posted: 06 December 2009 10:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Here’s a good read on the use of NSAID’s…..

http://sanfranciscocrossfit.blogspot.com/2009/06/get-off-ibuprofen-peoples.html

I’ve been dealing with some shoulder issue’s and other then basic rotatorcuff excerizes, my foam roller has been a great investment!

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Posted: 06 December 2009 10:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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ceo32312 - 06 December 2009 10:11 AM

Here’s a good read on the use of NSAID’s…..

http://sanfranciscocrossfit.blogspot.com/2009/06/get-off-ibuprofen-peoples.html

I’ve been dealing with some shoulder issue’s and other then basic rotatorcuff excerizes, my foam roller has been a great investment!

And the $2.00 lacrosse ball . . . ouchie . .

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Posted: 07 December 2009 10:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Hmmm, sounds like USA syndrome.

The technical term is upper cross syndrome.
There is a ton of information about UCS online. UCS most certainly could be the underlying cause of rotator cuff problems. UCS should have been mentioned as part of any decent professional health care evaluation of chronic shoulder disfunction.

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Posted: 29 March 2010 08:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Yeah, I’ve done a fair amount of digging on this as well because I just recently started feeling a little bit of pain and discomfort in my right shoulder.  I’ve done a fair amount of weight lifting, play racquetball often, and am on the computer fairly often at work and at home.  As was mentioned, it’s usually referred to as upper cross(ed) syndrome, or I’ve also seen a related term- swimmer’s shoulder.  Both basically have to deal with the shortening of chest and back muscles that rotate the humerus forward in the shoulder socket, and the stretching and basically atrophy of muscles that do the counter-movement (backwards rotation of the humerus).  Here’s some links I found on the syndrome and exercises to do to correct it:

Are Your Shoulders In a Slump?: from Men’s Health
http://www.menshealth.com/men/fitness/muscle-building/posture/article/98b871957cb98010VgnVCM200000cee793cd

Perfect Posture Plan: from Men’s Health
http://www.menshealth.com/men/fitness/muscle-building/shoulder-exercise/article/80bb723d51fd8010VgnVCM100000cfe793cd

Balance Your Blades: from Active.com
http://www.active.com/swimming/Articles/Balance_Your_Blades__3_Corrective_Shoulder_Exercises.htm

I also had a question myself.  I’m pretty sure I have this, or am in the process of getting it.  The Men’s Health article recommends stopping all lifting and doing their workout plan for a month… but I just started CrossFitting a couple months ago and don’t want to stop completely.  I’m fairly certain that racquetball, combined with the large number of push-ups and pull-ups I’ve been doing for CrossFit, and my computer usage all made my shoulders a little worse off as far as stability… so I want to stop doing any lifts/exercises that exacerbate this, but a *lot* of the upper body CrossFit exercises cause internal rotation of the shoulder joint, so I was wondering if anyone has any advice on what type of workouts I could do that would keep me in pretty good shape for CrossFit but avoid internal shoulder rotation?

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Posted: 29 March 2010 01:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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cassus vas - 29 March 2010 08:38 AM

I also had a question myself.  I’m pretty sure I have this, or am in the process of getting it.  The Men’s Health article recommends stopping all lifting and doing their workout plan for a month… but I just started CrossFitting a couple months ago and don’t want to stop completely.  I’m fairly certain that racquetball, combined with the large number of push-ups and pull-ups I’ve been doing for CrossFit, and my computer usage all made my shoulders a little worse off as far as stability… so I want to stop doing any lifts/exercises that exacerbate this, but a *lot* of the upper body CrossFit exercises cause internal rotation of the shoulder joint, so I was wondering if anyone has any advice on what type of workouts I could do that would keep me in pretty good shape for CrossFit but avoid internal shoulder rotation?

CF also includes kipping, possibly the best dynamic stretch ever for tight chest and shoulders, see here http://journal.crossfit.com/2009/01/midline-stabilization-part-3-the-pull-up.tpl and here http://journal.crossfit.com/2009/05/learning-the-gymnastic-kip.tpl for how to do it correctly, overhead squats and snatches, probably the best exercises ever to strengthen external rotators with the added bonus of stretching internal rotators.
And presses, including HSPU, which I’m afraid are most definitely external rotation when done correctly.
See here http://www.crossfit.com/cf-info/excercise.html#Power starting with this one “Press-Basic Positions, Mark Rippetoe” for instruction on how to press correctly with active shoulders.

There are a lot of push-ups and pull-ups and you’re right these are biggies for loading the internal rotators, which is why it’s crucial that all athletes include stretching carefully and thoroughly in their program. As KStar recommends, massage, self or by a trained professional is an enormous benefit and Kelly’s videos go into some detail on how to do this.

For that reason we’ve linked a lot of Dr Starret’s CF Journal articles in this topic http://www.crossfitbrandx.com/index.php/forums/viewthread/8688/ in the FAQs/Beginner’s forum.

As far as recovery goes.
Warm-up carefully and include some dynamic ROM work of appropriate intensity.
Do any exercise that will negatively impact the injured area with reduced resistance or eliminate it completely if the pain is acute.

And then
Stretch at an appropriate intensity post workout.
Massage roller work.
Ice any “hotspots” to use KStar’s terminology.

All of those ideally after post-training stretching and often throughout the day.

Anything less than that you’re just fooling yourself that you’re trying to fix the problem; Correcting a postural problem takes work.
And, most of the emphasis has to be on stretching the tight areas because trying to tighten up the loose bits just winds up restricting mobility. You need both, but the change comes from lengthening shortened muscles and connective tissue.

But all of this is just advice from an untrained nobody on the internet.
If you have a medical problem you should be seeing a medical professional. I would strongly recommend that you find someone like Dr Starret whose practise consists of athletes and ideally you should be treated by someone who CrossFits, because they’ll know what to tell you so you can keep training.
Most other medical professionals will tell you to stop training and/or give you wussy bodybuilding style recuperative exercises.

Watch the videos in the FAQ item for Kelly’s arguments for why CF is the most effective tool for recuperation.

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Posted: 29 March 2010 02:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Snatches are great for working external rotators.

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Posted: 30 March 2010 06:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Metric - 29 March 2010 01:52 PM
cassus vas - 29 March 2010 08:38 AM

I also had a question myself.  I’m pretty sure I have this, or am in the process of getting it.  The Men’s Health article recommends stopping all lifting and doing their workout plan for a month… but I just started CrossFitting a couple months ago and don’t want to stop completely.  I’m fairly certain that racquetball, combined with the large number of push-ups and pull-ups I’ve been doing for CrossFit, and my computer usage all made my shoulders a little worse off as far as stability… so I want to stop doing any lifts/exercises that exacerbate this, but a *lot* of the upper body CrossFit exercises cause internal rotation of the shoulder joint, so I was wondering if anyone has any advice on what type of workouts I could do that would keep me in pretty good shape for CrossFit but avoid internal shoulder rotation?

CF also includes kipping, possibly the best dynamic stretch ever for tight chest and shoulders, see here http://journal.crossfit.com/2009/01/midline-stabilization-part-3-the-pull-up.tpl and here http://journal.crossfit.com/2009/05/learning-the-gymnastic-kip.tpl for how to do it correctly, overhead squats and snatches, probably the best exercises ever to strengthen external rotators with the added bonus of stretching internal rotators.
And presses, including HSPU, which I’m afraid are most definitely external rotation when done correctly.
See here http://www.crossfit.com/cf-info/excercise.html#Power starting with this one “Press-Basic Positions, Mark Rippetoe” for instruction on how to press correctly with active shoulders.

There are a lot of push-ups and pull-ups and you’re right these are biggies for loading the internal rotators, which is why it’s crucial that all athletes include stretching carefully and thoroughly in their program. As KStar recommends, massage, self or by a trained professional is an enormous benefit and Kelly’s videos go into some detail on how to do this.

For that reason we’ve linked a lot of Dr Starret’s CF Journal articles in this topic http://www.crossfitbrandx.com/index.php/forums/viewthread/8688/ in the FAQs/Beginner’s forum.

As far as recovery goes.
Warm-up carefully and include some dynamic ROM work of appropriate intensity.
Do any exercise that will negatively impact the injured area with reduced resistance or eliminate it completely if the pain is acute.

And then
Stretch at an appropriate intensity post workout.
Massage roller work.
Ice any “hotspots” to use KStar’s terminology.

All of those ideally after post-training stretching and often throughout the day.

Anything less than that you’re just fooling yourself that you’re trying to fix the problem; Correcting a postural problem takes work.
And, most of the emphasis has to be on stretching the tight areas because trying to tighten up the loose bits just winds up restricting mobility. You need both, but the change comes from lengthening shortened muscles and connective tissue.

But all of this is just advice from an untrained nobody on the internet.
If you have a medical problem you should be seeing a medical professional. I would strongly recommend that you find someone like Dr Starret whose practice consists of athletes and ideally you should be treated by someone who CrossFits, because they’ll know what to tell you so you can keep training.
Most other medical professionals will tell you to stop training and/or give you wussy bodybuilding style recuperative exercises.

Watch the videos in the FAQ item for Kelly’s arguments for why CF is the most effective tool for recuperation.

Thanks much for the in depth post!  I didn’t mean to imply that CrossFit is unbalanced, it’s actually *way* more balanced than any other workout scheme I’ve ever come across…  Also, I was thinking about it last night after I posted and I started to realize that there are quite a few exercises in CrossFit that cause external rotation, but thanks for the pointers.  I had thought that the HSPU and overhead presses were internal rotators, but I guess I was misinformed.  That’s good to know.  Also, I have trouble doing overhead squats because of limited flexibility (due to my shoulder imbalance and shortened internal rotating muscles, I’d guess).  I still haven’t ponied up the money and bought a subscription to CFJournal… guess now’s the time! smile  I guess I’ll use this time while correcting my posture and shoulder imbalances to practice those externally rotating lifts and learn some proper stretching.

My “problem” isn’t too much of a real problem yet.  I caught it before it was really all that painful, so I don’t think I’ve actually done any real damage to my shoulder.  I just noticed that it felt a little weird and had some slight pains with overhead stretching, and my dad has had shoulder problems in the past.  I just want to be proactive about preventing an injury and making sure my shoulders are balanced.  I’ll be talking to my aunt who is a physical therapist as well, to see what she recommends (there aren’t many CrossFitters in the area I’m in as far as I know, so I don’t know of the likelihood of finding a CrossFit trainer).

Thanks again.

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Posted: 01 April 2010 06:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I just wanted to mention that I found a very useful online directory of postural deficiencies with a database of what stretches and lifts to do to target the affected muscles.  In case anyone else runs upon this post having a similar problem they can use this resource as well.  I don’t know how accurate it is because it is a resource I just found on the internet, but it seems to me that it is very accurate compared to other things I’ve been looking up:

http://www.exrx.net/Kinesiology/Posture.html

And here’s a link also within that site to muscles and what types of stretches there are for them, and what type of lifts to strengthen them:

http://www.exrx.net/Lists/Directory.html

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Posted: 01 April 2010 12:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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cassus vas - 01 April 2010 06:17 AM

I just wanted to mention that I found a very useful online directory of postural deficiencies with a database of what stretches and lifts to do to target the affected muscles.  In case anyone else runs upon this post having a similar problem they can use this resource as well.  I don’t know how accurate it is because it is a resource I just found on the internet, but it seems to me that it is very accurate compared to other things I’ve been looking up:

http://www.exrx.net/Kinesiology/Posture.html

And here’s a link also within that site to muscles and what types of stretches there are for them, and what type of lifts to strengthen them:

http://www.exrx.net/Lists/Directory.html

It looks pretty good to me too.
Just don’t get all tied up in trying to address imbalances through a grocery list of isolation movements. If you follow mainsite programming you’ll be exposed to a pretty good balance of gross movements that will keep things on a fairly even keel.

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Bad coaching is dangerous, poor movement is dangerous. Ego is dangerous.
CrossFit, properly scaled to the individual is the safest and most efficient program available for strength, conditioning and movement.”
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Posted: 13 September 2010 11:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Hey guys, I would just like to add my thanks and appreciation for the great stuff you’ve included in this thread. I workout at home, alone (ahhh, how sad!!) and often come unstuck but I know I can always on the forum for answers. I am suffering with the same problem and physio has given me ‘posture exercises’ to work on which I will do but will def include some of the exercises I’ve found here, so thanks again. tongue wink

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Posted: 24 October 2010 01:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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well, i think you have got your questions answered. actually for the first visit to this page i thought to give answer to your question but having gone through the whole discussion i have come to know that the answer i supposed to give is not that much accurate rather that the answers been given by others. moreover i have come to know something new here. thanks to all of you for having such a good discussion.

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Posted: 30 December 2010 10:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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LincolnB - 29 March 2010 02:16 PM

Snatches are great for working external rotators.

Muscle Snatches especially so.

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