View Full Version : Balancing the shoulder

Troy Kerr
02-08-2010, 06:59 AM
Hope this is in the right place. I figured the thread would get more views here though.

I have read in various places that too much effort on the bench press without the proper work to balance out the shoulder girdle will lead to issues. The only method I have heard of to maintain this balance is in Starting Strength where it is said that one should alternate the bench press with the overhead press every other workout.

Now with that being said, should one only worry about maintain the balance of strength in the shoulder if they are a weightlifter? Or does this method apply to gymnastics as well, where instead of bench/press you would rotate planche/ handstand?

Also, are there other methods for balancing the shoulder girdle other than rotating the style of press per workout?

Thanks in advance

Grissim Connery
02-08-2010, 07:42 AM
Or does this method apply to gymnastics as well, where instead of bench/press you would rotate planche/ handstand?

Thanks in advance

my immediate thought is that if you're trying different gymnastic skills, you should naturally be doing a wide range of movements, both pulls and pushes. i'm not really sure about weightlifting since it would seem hard to do a jerk in any other direction.

Steven Low
02-08-2010, 01:12 PM
Some form of horizontal rowing is necessary unless you are heavy on exercises that require a retracted shoulder girdle to lockout (Oly works... bench kinda works but it's mostly anterior dominant so I wouldn't count it).

ANd focus on good posture, and mobility in the shoulder girdle...

Jamie Crichton
02-08-2010, 01:12 PM
Thinking about balancing the shoulder in terms of the big movements is difficult and self-defeating. The shoulder girdle has numerous individual movements that occur simulatenously in different patterns and to greater or lesser extents to effect the movements we understand - push; pull etc. To illustrate this, take Bench Press and Bent-over Rows. On the face of it, these would appear to be the polar opposite of one another. Bench involves flexion at the glenohumeral joint, whilst rowing involves extension. However, good technique in both bench and row requires scapular retraction and, to some extent, depression. A more physiological comparison would be the pressup and the row, in both of which the scapula is not anchored and can move more freely.

Bench pressing and Overhead Pressing promote balance in terms of scapular retraction and depression vs. protraction and elevation, but both involve glenohumeral flexion (the role of the anterior deltoids). Too much strength in this movement can lead to impingement issues in the shoulder.

The fact is that the big movements all have some overlap in terms of the different articulations at the shoulder girdle. Keeping the shoulders healthy, which should be your aim, involves identifying any ROM discrepancies; establishing proper movement of the scapulae in all directions and correcting specific weaknesses when you find them.

Typical ROM problems are: decreased internal rotation, decreased flexion (putting the arms overhead), reduced thoracic spine extension.

Proper movement of the scapulae involes activation of the serratus anterior, lower traps primarily, but gaining proper proprioception in all movements is worthwhile.

Specific weaknesses tend to be external rotation of the glenohumeral joint, depression, retraction and upward rotation of the scapula and extension of the thoracic spine.

This is a pretty limited overview of shoulder health but if you search for the things I mentioned you should understand better how to balance things out and keep your shoulders healthy.

Steven Low
02-08-2010, 02:34 PM
^^ Pretty much that.

Thanks for writing it all out cause I didn't really want to. :)

Ben Moskowitz
02-08-2010, 03:51 PM
Some form of horizontal rowing is necessary

Do front lever progressions count?

Steven Low
02-08-2010, 04:46 PM
Do front lever progressions count?
Front lever pullup progression does..