Always make sure that your shoulder press movements are indeed over your head. I know it sounds elementary to grasp this understanding yet I rarely see the shoulder press executed properly. The classic wrong way to do a shoulder press (standing or seated) involves putting the lumbar spine into extreme lordosis, moving the head back while looking up, and essentially doing an incline press. I have nothing against an incline press, but when it comes time to work the delts, lets actually make sure we are working all of the deltoid. This is obviously leads to the fact that I am opposed to smith machine presses. When a proper overhead press is executed, the arms should align with the ears (when the head is upright) at the top of the movement. The problem arises when you lean back and do this half overhead half incline chest press. This is a great movement for the anterior (front) muscles but neglects the posterior (back) musculature. It is in this situation where deviations are created and somebody starts complaining about a bugged rotator cuff. This movement is easily executed with dumbells but what about a barbell? Whether standing or seated, the bar should be pressed from the chin to the top of the head and then "up and over" the middle of the head so the arms line with the ears. This may cause instability at first so start light and build your way up. This will lead to increase hypertrophy in the deltoid as a whole and decrease both back injury and pain as well as rotator cuff problems!
Example of a correct overhead press (discussion and advice aside)
Could be worse but, an example of a not so good overhead press
When doing sit ups, try putting your feet up on a wall. For those of you looking for an effective way to improve abs, try this tip for a change. Lay down on the floor as you normally would, but place yourself by a wall and put your feet up on a wall so that your hip and knee joint are at 90 degrees when laying down flat. By doing this you virtually eliminate the usage of hip flexor muscles, namely the iliopsoas complex, that can contribute to unwanted work during the movement. To add a little extra challenge do this holding up a plate in front of your face. Make sure that the movement is slow and controlled and that you squeeze for a half second at the top! The psoas muscles are generally way to tight and overworked in most individuals so make sure that you are working the muscles that you want to rather than having those unwanted muscles steal the stimuli!
Thus, you're not supposed to use the full range of motion that is possible in pulling exercises (e.g. Seated machine rows, lat-pulls, barbell rows)?
The static retraction of the trapezius muscles is superior to allowing them to stretch throughout the movement and end the concentric phase by retracting them?
Thankful for the regular tips you've been writing tho santasmile
Trap 1- Elevation of the shoulder girdle
Trap 2- Upward rotation of the scapula
Trap 3- Scapular retraction (adduction)
Trap 4- Upward rotation and depression of the shoulder girdle.
Never never never be one of the individuals I see in the gym that makes me cringe every time they do a lunge. The lunge is an awesome exercise that I am sure most here have utilized in a training program before. It can be a great functional exercise for athletes as well. Lets start from the feet. A common misplacement of the feet that I see on the lunge is the front foot turned in and the back foot turned out. It is a good practice to make sure that both feet are facing forward to ensure proper muscle activation and injury prevention. In addition, make sure the weight of the exercise be in the heel of the front foot, not the ball. Moving up, always make sure that the front knee never goes past the toe. The knee is somewhat of a poorly designed joint and can be very temper-mental as I am sure many have experienced. When you allow the knee to go too far forward, you create unnecessary stress on the joint. "As flexion increases, compression increases because of changed orientation of the force vectors and increased tension requirement in the quadriceps to maintain body position" (Hall S., 249). Next up, try tucking your hips (glutes) in as you come down for every rep. This will benefit you in a few ways. One it will force you to stay upright, two it will cause a greater stretch in the quadriceps of the back leg, and three it will help you put the load on the heel of your front foot. Moving up, it is very important that even during a lunge (barbell or dumbell) you incorporate scapular retraction and depression. This will help you to keep your torso upright, as you always should during a lunge, and will allow you drop the weight in the desired area of force.
-Keep front foot flat on the floor as you press up.
-Drive through the heel of your front foot (not the ball).
-Tuck hips in when going down for each rep.
-Keep shoulder blades retracted.
-Keep upper body upright.
-When going down, drop straight down. Do not let momentum or anything else lean you forward or back.
In conclusion, the lunge is not the exercise to pull the ego out on. Do it correctly and do the proper amount of weight and it will pay off.
Make sure that you always always always incorporate rotator cuff training into your routine. If I were to ask for a raise of hands from people who have had rotator cuff problems, I am sure that you all would take both hands off the key board and raise them high! The rotator cuff made up of the supraspinatis, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis, acts as a "cuff" for the shoulder joint. In general, the greater range of motion a joint has, the less stable it is. Considering that the shoulder has the greatest range of motion out of any joint, it is no wonder that it is complicated and often injured. To better understand the actions of these muscles of the cuff I will use the overhand throw as an example of how they work. Imagine you are throwing a football. As you bring the ball back, it is the supraspinatis, the infraspinatis, and the teres minor that work during this "cocking" phase. Moving forward, as you throw the ball, it is the subscapularis that mainly works to accomplish this acceleration phase.
So know that we know this, lets figure out how to mimic this in the gym. The best way to do this IMO is with resistance tubes or bands. Mimick these overhand movments (internal and external rotation of the humerus). Many gyms have these laying around and if you dont, they are very cheap and you can find them at a local sporting goods store most likely. It is very important to do this so that we can make sure we balance out the muscles that support this joint.
These pics are the best exercises I could find for the rotator cuff. I would recommend training these 3 times a week!