Prevent and potentially eliminate shoulder pain by implementing the following paradoxical exercises.

The Dead Hang

John M. Kirsch, an orthopedic surgeon, says that 99% of shoulder pain can be cured and prevented by simply hanging from a bar. By performing a dead hang, the space between the acromion (bony articulation of the shoulder blade) and the head of the humerus (upper arm bone) opens up, potentially relieving any impingement of the rotator cuff tendons.

Gravity and injuries encourage the shoulder to deform and cause the acromion to become hooked downward. So by having the arm extended overhead, the humerus will press against the acromion and remodel it over time. The dead hang can also help strengthen the rotator cuff and increase shoulder range of motion.

Just hang from a pull-up bar with an overhand grip set at shoulder width. Allow the shoulders to completely "relax" instead of packing the shoulder blades.

The limiting factor will be grip strength, so begin by hanging a few seconds each day and work your way up to three sets of 30 seconds throughout the day. You can also use a Smith machine or a squat rack and set the bar at the height of the top of your reach. Adjust the pressure by bending the knees and allowing part of your weight to rest on a bench or the floor.

The Farmer's Carry

Contrary to popular belief, the primary role of the rotator cuff is not to externally rotate the shoulder, but instead to provide stability to the shoulder joint. Poor posture and mechanics can uncenter the head of the humerus and wreak havoc. Nothing forces the humerus to centralize itself more than performing heavy loaded carries.

Begin by doing the farmer's carry with a load that represents fifty percent of your bodyweight. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, that would be two 50-pound dumbbells. You can perform timed carries (like 3 sets of 30 seconds) or go for distance (3 sets of 30 yards).

Limited by space? Just walk forward and backwards or even stand in place while holding the dumbbells for time. Make sure to stand completely erect, with the shoulders depressed, and contract your core as hard as possible while walking. Start light and work your way up if grip strength is lacking.

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