Shoulder injuries don’t discriminate. They account for up to 36 percent of all major weight-room injuries (that is, the ones severe enough to require medical attention), and they target big and small guys equally.
Morey Kolber, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., was one of those casualties. “I separated one shoulder and partially tore the rotator cuff on the other when I was lifting in high school,” he says.
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Kolber needed three months of physical therapy to get his shoulder back into working order. His therapist’s advice moving forward was simple: Use lighter weights. But even though Kolber followed that wisdom carefully, within a couple of years he had seriously injured his shoulder again.
You may never be carted out of the gym with a blown shoulder the way Kolber was. But if you’re an average guy with a natural tendency to test your max bench or see just how much weight you can press overhead, chances are you have experienced shoulder pain at some point in your life.
That pain is a sign you’re doing something wrong, and larger problems could be looming. If the joint finally fails, with it goes the ability to do everyday tasks and activities you love. Everything from typing on a keyboard to sleeping through the night can become painful and challenging—in fact, more than 80 percent of people with shoulder pain report trouble sleeping.
So take action and read on for four ways to protect this crucial joint.