Tip: Stop Shoulder Injuries with Spiral Loading

Here's how to prevent wrecked shoulders by getting your setup right.

Shoulder injuries are common. Bodybuilding-style training using machines can be useful, but chronic adherence to movements that have no need for shoulder stability or position to perform can be a slippery slope for joint and soft tissue health.

And how about those "pump" classes with the 10-pound barbell and 4-pound weights? Want to know a good way to ensure that you end up with a painful shoulder? Do one of those classes containing 1,000 reps of dumbbell curls, followed by another 2,000 reps of overhead presses without any hope of keeping tight form. Follow that with planking in heavy internally rotated shoulder positions and there you have it – your shoulders will be wrecked.

Prevent It with Spiral Loading

Create spiral tension and torqued setup. Not sure what that means? For all loaded movements, machines, and free weights, there needs to be an emphasis placed not only on movement execution, but also optimal setup to ensure proper positioning and stability before a movement even begins.

The upper extremity is one of the most reactive regions of the body for creating functional spiraling and torque throughout its joints and tissues, thus leading to a highly centerated shoulder position capable of high performance and safety. From the bench press to the machine press, pull-up to row machine, this same spiral loading mechanism can play a huge role in learning neutral positions of the shoulder that create a foundational setup to work off of once the movement begins.

The first step is finding this position and getting an appreciation for it. From there, maintenance throughout sets in different actions and planes of motion will ensure that you won't be falling victim to a largely preventable shoulder injury down the road.