Optimising Weight Lifting – 2 of the Most Common Dysfunctions

16th July 2015

1.     Poor shoulder biomechanics

The shoulder is potentially one of the most unstable joints of the body, with very little bony stability or containment. There is a fine balance between the mobility to perform athletic activities and stability required to power and stabilise the arm. For this reason it is often a problem area in any form of weight lifting.

Correct muscle recruitment of the shoulder is important to prevent shoulder injury. What commonly tends to happen in weight lifting is that poor form causes poor muscle recruitment, which leads to muscle compensation and muscle imbalance. This is where injury becomes a risk!

What tends to happen:

·      Upper trapezius hypertrophy

·      Levator scapulae hypertrophy

·      Lower trapezius atrophy

·      Rhomboid atrophy

In simple terms, the muscles around the neck, shoulder and shoulder blade stop working as they should and all start compensating for one another by over working or becoming lazy. At this point the shoulder blade begins to do its own thing, the shoulder slips forward and one is left with an impingement which is usually a slow and frustrating recovery. This kind of injury generally causes more compensatory change, especially when left untreated, which may lead to neck pain, elbow pain and wrist/hand pain.

2.     Gluteus medius weakness and/or poor activation/recruitement

The gluteus medius works in hand with the core muscles to provide a stable base for lower limb power. Yes, the stronger your gluteus medius is, the more powerful your legs become!

One would think that when they are squatting 20kgs or 200kgs their gluteus muscles must be working. Unless he gluteus are trained to fire unweighted and weighted 9 times out of 10 they won’t even in a lying position. If they don’t firs when they are unloaded, they definitely won’t fire when they are loaded ie. Lifting weight. When the gluteus muscles lack automatic activation the entire lower limb biomechanics is altered. This is where injury becomes a risk!

What tends to happen:

·      Weak gluteus medius

·      Tight/shortened gluteus medius

·      Tight quadratus lamborum and erector spinae

·      Tight over worked hip flexors

·      Shift in pelvic position

·      Tight hamstrings

·      Poor vastus medialis oblique (quadriceps) activation

In simple terms, weakness or poor recruitment of the gluteus medius causes chaos! The lower back, hips, knees and feet may all be affected, so one may only imagine how your squat would be affected.

My next blog will give you all the tips and rehabilitation exercises you need to help prevent these dysfunctions and to help recover from them if you are already experiencing any symptoms of dysfunction.

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