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Old 05-07-2006, 04:20 AM
Darkhorse Darkhorse is offline
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By the way, props to you Eric for another very informative post. I'm thinking about merging this one with the muscle/joint injury sticky and changing the title to reflect the combined contents..Let me know. Just trying to keep the total amount of stickies within reason.

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Old 05-07-2006, 10:01 AM
EricT EricT is offline
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Originally Posted by 0311
By the way, props to you Eric for another very informative post. I'm thinking about merging this one with the muscle/joint injury sticky and changing the title to reflect the combined contents..Let me know. Just trying to keep the total amount of stickies within reason.
Thanks, bro. That was actually my original intention and I'm not sure why I didn't except that I thought the thread would become a little bloated and unmanageable. But if you change the title then maybe I'll make an index at the beginning if we add other stuff.

BTW, I found those posts at DiscussBodybuiling also. They're nice but I didn't post the one by Lynx because his "isometric exercises" aren't actually "isometric". You know how I'm a stickler for details! However, I haven't found anything that says the first phase of rehabilitation HAS to be isometric and also people could easily perform these movements in an isometric fashion.

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If you act sanctimonious I will just list out your logical fallacies until you get pissed off and spew blasphemous remarks.
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Old 05-10-2006, 08:04 AM
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Default Knees

Page 2 Index (this may not be Pg 2 for you denpending on your display option..oh well)
*Helpful Links
*Common Weightlifting Injuries by Dr. Ben Weitz
*Joint Troubles by Will Brink
*Shoulder Rehab by Dr. David Ryan (cool article-different take..also see Shoulder Fix It - 101 By Dr. David Ryan previously posted)
*Shin Splints
*Shoulder Pre-Hab Articles

What You Kneed to Know
By: Dr. Squat

Removed this article because I don't really think it's very helpful upon further review. I've come to realize that "Dr." Squat is a hack. Notice how he has to constantly make refrerence to his 1000+ squat? His one talent.

Other more helpful stuff will be added at a later posting.

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Old 05-10-2006, 08:09 AM
EricT EricT is offline
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(Sorry if some of this is a repeat)

Knee Pain
From Elizabeth Quinn,

Part 1 Anatomy and Physiology
Injuries to the knee are the most common reason people see an orthopedic physician. The structure and stress placed upon the knee make it vulnerable to a variety of injuries. The largest joint in the body is the knee. It is comprised of the lower end of the femur and the upper end of the tibia. The patella (kneecap) slides in a groove on the end of the femur, and covers the joint. Several large ligaments support the knee on either side. The meniscus and cartilage cushion the knee and act as a shock absorber during motion.

In addition to these structures, there are two groups of muscles at the knee. The quadriceps muscle in front straightens the leg from a bent position. The hamstring muscles, in the back, bend the knee.

Ligaments are strong, elastic bands of tissue that connect bone to bone. They provide strength and stability to the joint. Four ligaments connect the femur and tibia:

The medial collateral ligament (MCL) provides stability to the inner (medial) aspect of the knee.
The lateral collateral ligament (LCL) provides stability to the outer (lateral) aspect of the knee.
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), in the center of the knee, limits rotation and the forward movement of the tibia.
The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), also in the center of the knee, limits backward movement of the tibia.

Tendons are tough cords of tissue that connect muscle to bone. In the knee, the quadriceps tendon connects the quadriceps muscle to the patella and provides power to extend the leg. The patellar tendon connects the patella to the tibia.

Types of Knee Pain

Ligament Injuries
Knee injuries are very common in sports that require stopping and starting or quickly changing directions. These extreme forces on the knee can result in torn ligaments. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the medial collateral ligament (MCL) are the most often injured, but the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) can also be injured.
ACL tears can occur when an athlete changes direction rapidly, twists the upper body and hips while the feet are planted, slows down when running, or lands a jump awkwardly. Injuries to the MCL usually are caused by a blow to the outside of the knee. Such contact forces often are encountered in sports such as football, rugby or soccer. The PCL can be injured during a sports activity when the athlete receives a blow to the front of the knee or makes a simple misstep on the playing field, and hyperextends the knee.

Injury to a cruciate ligament may not cause pain, but may cause a loud popping sound, and the leg may buckle. An MRI is usually used to diagnose an ACL tear, but arthroscopy may be the only reliable means of detecting a partial tear.

An MCL injury may result in a pop and the knee may buckle to the side. Pain and swelling are common. An MRI is helpful in diagnosing injuries to these ligaments.

Torn Knee Cartilage
Torn cartilage in the knee can occur in any athlete. When people talk about torn knee cartilage, they usually are referring to a torn meniscus. The meniscus is a tough, rubbery cartilage that is attached to the knee's ligaments. It acts like a shock absorber. In athletic activities, meniscus tears usually occur when twisting, cutting, pivoting, decelerating, or being tackled. This is typically a contact injury.

There are several manual tests that a physician may use to detect torn cartilage.

This term refers to softening of the surface on the underside of the kneecap. This injury can occur in young adults and is often caused by trauma, overuse, poor alignment of the knee joint, or muscle imbalance. Such rubbing can result in a slight abnormality of the surface of the cartilage or a surface that has been worn away completely to the bone. It is often identified by a dull pain around or under the kneecap that worsens when walking down stairs or hills. Pain with stair climbing or other weight bearing exercise can also indicate chondromalacia.

Arthritis of the Knee
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis experienced by athletes. It is a degenerative disease where cartilage in the joint gradually wears away. Stress on the knee joint, overuse, structural abnormalities, or excess body weight can cause osteoarthritis. Typical signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include knee pain, swelling, and a decrease in the range of motion of the knee. Morning stiffness is common.

Tendonitis and Ruptured Tendons
Tendonitis is simply an inflammation of a tendon whereas a ruptured tendon has torn. Overuse often leads to an inflammation of the tendons, often called jumper's knee, because sports requiring jumping can strain the tendon. The tendon may become inflamed or tear after repeated stress. Acute traumatic movements (trying to break a fall) more often result in excessive contraction of the quadriceps muscles and tear the quadriceps tendon. Tendonitis is often identified due to tenderness at the point where the patellar tendon meets the bone. It may also cause pain during faster movements, such as running, cycling, or jumping.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome
This is typically an overuse inflammatory condition due to constant rubbing of the tendon over the lateral condyle of the knee. It causes an ache or burning sensation at the side of the knee during activity.

There are a variety of methods used by orthopedic surgeons to treat knee injuries in athletes. The most important advice is to seek treatment as soon as possible. A common method used by orthopedic surgeons to treat mild knee injuries is R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). Rest the knee by staying off it or walking only with crutches. Apply ice to control swelling. Use a compressive elastic bandage applied snugly but loosely enough so that it does not cause pain. Finally, keep the knee elevated.
Specific Treatments for Knee Injuries

Many doctors recommend that patients with chondromalacia perform low-impact exercises that strengthen muscles, without injuring joints (swimming, cycling, walking).

At times a physician may perform arthroscopic surgery to smooth the surface of the articular cartilage and clean and smooth out cartilage fragments that rub on the surface of the femur.

Meniscus Tear
If the tear is minor and the pain and other symptoms go away, the doctor may recommend a visit to a Physical Therapist for a muscle-strengthening program. If the tear to a meniscus is more extensive, arthroscopic surgery may be performed. The meniscus can be repaired in some cases. If the tear is more extensive, a small piece may be removed to even the surface. In some cases, the doctor removes the entire meniscus. However, degenerative changes, such as osteoarthritis, are more likely to develop in the knee if the meniscus is removed. Researchers are developing procedures that may replace a meniscus in the near future.

Cruciate Ligament Tears
For an incomplete CL tear, a doctor may recommend a visit to a Physical Therapist to strengthen surrounding muscles. A knee brace may also be warranted. If the ACL is completely torn, surgery may be indicated. The torn ends of the ligament may be reattached or completely reconstructed with a graft.

Medial Collateral Ligament
Most sprains of the collateral ligaments will heal if the patient follows a prescribed exercise program, including R.I.C.E. and bracing.

Most often osteoarthritis of the knee is treated with analgesics such as aspirin or acetaminophen, and anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Nuprin, Advil). Exercises may be warranted to strengthen the knee, as well as encourage weight loss.

Knee Tendon Injuries
Tendonitis is typically treated with R.I.C.E. and ibuprofen to relieve pain and decrease inflammation and swelling. If the tendon is completely ruptured, surgery is necessary to reattach the tendon.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome
Usually, iliotibial band syndrome eases with reduced activity. Strengthening and stretching exercises can also alleviate the IT band pain.
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Old 05-10-2006, 08:16 AM
EricT EricT is offline
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From Jonathan Cluett, M.D.,

What is causing my knee pain?
Understanding what is causing your knee pain must be understood in the context of the pain. How old are you? Was there a traumatic event? Where is the pain located? Did the symptoms develop immediately or over time?

Once these questions are answered, you can begin to investigate the symptoms. Putting the symptoms together with the history often leads to a diagnosis.

Common Knee Symptoms

Popping and snapping within the knee is quite common, and often not a symptom of any particular problem. When the pops or snaps are painless, there is usually no problem--the bigger concern is when these sounds are associated with pain. A pop is often heard or felt when a ligament, such as the ACL, is torn.

A sense of grinding or crunching is most often associated with bone grinding against bone once the cartilage is worn away.

This is commonly found in arthritis. Patients who are young (under 50 years old) seldom have arthritis that will cause these severe symptoms, unless there has been a severe injury to the knee in the past.

Locking is a symptom that occurs when a patient cannot bend or straighten their knee. The locking can either be due to something actually blocking motion of the knee (this can occur when a piece of cartilage wedges within the joint) or when pain prevents the patient from moving the knee. These two causes must be differentiated, as something physically caught in the joint should be evaluated in a timely manner. Often injecting the knee with numbing medication can help determine the cause of locking.

The stability of the knee is provided by the ligaments that connect the shin bone (tibia) to the thigh bone (femur). When the ligaments are stretched or torn, the knee may feel as though it is giving way beneath the patient. A sensation that the knee may give out from beneath you is a common symptom of ligament injury.

Swelling of the knee is common with several different knee problems. When there is swelling immediately after an injury (within an hour), the most common causes are an injury to the anterior cruciate ligament or a fracture of the top of the shin bone. When swelling develops gradually over hours to days, the injury is more likely a tear of the meniscus or a ligament sprain. Swelling that occurs without the presence of a known injury can be due to arthritis (common), gout (less common), or a joint infection (uncommon).

Location of Pain
The location of the pain can be an important part of tracking down the symptoms.

Front of the knee: Pain over the front of the knee is most commonly related to the knee cap. Kneecap pain can be caused by several different problems.

Inside of the knee: Pain on the inside, or medial aspect, of the knee is commonly caused by medial meniscus tears, medial collateral ligament injuries, and arthritis of the joint.

Outside of the knee: Pain on the outside of the knee, or lateral aspect of the knee joint, is commonly caused by lateral meniscus tears, lateral collateral ligament injuries, IT band tendonitis, and arthritis of the joint.

Pain in the back of the knee: Pain in the back of the knee can be due to the formation of a cyst, called a Baker's Cyst, in the back of the knee joint. Also common is for kneecap pain to be felt in the back of the knee.

Timing of Pain

Some common situations cause pain typical of certain conditions.

While going down stairs: Pain while walking down steps is very commonly associated with kneecap problems, such as chondromalacia.

Morning pain: Pain after first waking in the morning that resolves with gentle activity is typical of early arthritis. Often patients loosen the knee over the course of the day.

What tests can be performed to detect problems within the knee?
A skilled examiner can often detect the injury to the knee prior to ordering tests such as x-rays or MRIs. These tests and maneuvers are performed to detect specific problems within the knee joint. While any one test may not be diagnostic of a particular problem, by performing a good knee examination most common knee problems can be properly diagnosed.

Tests to Detect a Meniscus Tear

Joint Line Tenderness
Joint line tenderness is a very non-specific test for a meniscus tear. The area of the meniscus is felt, and a positive test is considered when there is pain over the area where the meniscus is found.

McMurray's Test
McMurray's test is performed with the patient lying flat (non-weight bearing) and the examiner bending the knee. A click is felt over the meniscus tear as the knee is brought from full flexion to 90 degrees of flexion.

Ege's Test
Ege's test is a specific maneuver to detect a meniscus tear. With a patient squatting, an audible and palpable click is heard/felt over the are of the meniscus tear. The patient's feet are turned outwards to detect a medial meniscus tear, and turned inwards to detect a lateral meniscus tear.

Tests to Detect Ligament Injury

Lachman Test
The Lachman test is the best test to diagnose an ACL tear. With the patient lying flat and relaxed, the examiner bend the knee slightly, about 20 degrees. The examiner then stabilizes the thigh while pulling the shin forward. Both the amount of translation (shifting) as well as the feel of the endpoint offer information about the ACL.

Anterior Drawer Test
The anterior drawer test is also performed with the patient lying flat. The knee is bent 90 degrees and the shin is pulled forward to check the stability of the ACL. An intact ACL will only allow the shin to come forward slightly. A torn ACL will allow the shin to move further forward.

Pivot Shift Test
The pivot shift test is a difficult maneuver to perform on a patient who is not under anesthesia. This test places a stress on the knee joint that forces a subluxation (partial dislocation) in patients who do not have an ACL. This test recreates the type of instability that caused the ACL injury.

Posterior Drawer Test
The posterior drawer is performed similarly to the anterior drawer test. This test detects injury to the PCL. By pushing the shin backward, the integrity of the PCL is tested. Excessive movement of the shin backwards is a sign of PCL injury.

Varus and Valgus Instability
Varus and valgus instability tests check the LCL and MCL, respectively. With the patient lying flat, and the knee held at about 30 degrees of flexion, the shin is shifted to each side. Insufficiency of the LCL or MCL will allow the knee to "open up" excessively. The test is repeated with the leg straight. If the knee still opens up excessively, then more than just the LCL or MCL was torn.

Dial Test
The dial test checks the rotation allowed at the knee joint. Patients who have posterolateral rotatory instability, may have excessive rotation at the knee joint. The test is done with the patient lying face down, and the knees bent about 30 degrees. The feet are turned outwards and compared to each other. Excessive rotation is a sign of posterolateral corner injury.

Tests to Detect Kneecap Problems

Patellar Grind Test
Patellar grinding is a nonspecific test where the examiner feels for abnormal grinding sensations under the kneecap with movement of the joint. If pressure on the kneecap recreates the symptoms this may indicate the kneecap is the culprit.

Patellar Facet Tenderness
The examiner can slightly lift up the kneecap and place direct pressure on the undersurface of the kneecap. By doing so, the examiner is looking for sensitive regions of cartilage underneath the kneecap.

Patellar Apprehension Test
Patellar apprehension is a sign of an unstable kneecap. While the examiner places pressure on the kneecap, the patient may complain of the sensation that the kneecap is going to 'pop out' of its groove. This is a sign of kneecap instability.

Some common knee tests with explanations, pictures, and vids:


Last edited by EricT; 08-11-2007 at 01:59 PM.
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Old 05-10-2006, 02:51 PM
EricT EricT is offline
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Default Helpful Links

The Physio Room

Sports Medicine at About.com

Sports Injury Clinic

Dynamic Muscle Injuries Section (Also see SportsMedicine Section)

Exercise Adaptation and Safety at ExRx

Last edited by EricT; 05-19-2006 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 05-10-2006, 03:55 PM
EricT EricT is offline
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Default Common Weightlifting Injuries and Recommendations from Chiropractor


Dr. Ben Weitz

A wide range of weight training injuries has been documented in the literature. These reports include a number of unusual injuries such as: subarachnoid aneurysmal hemorrhage (19); ruptures of the pectoralis major, (20) biceps,(21) triceps,(22) and quadriceps muscles (23); fracture of the dome of the talus(24); and Kienbock's syndrome (25) among others. This article will focus on some of the more common weight training injuries involving the lumbar spine, the cervical spine, the shoulder, and the knee.

The lower back is the site of greatest injury.(26-28) A number of reports point to the shoulder and the knee as the next most frequent sites of injury during weight training.(3,27-29) At least one epidemiologic study suggests a significant statistical link between weight training and cervical disc herniation.(30)


In both youths(26-29,31) and adults(32,33) the most common weight training injuries involve the lower back. The mechanisms of injury include hyperflexion, hyperextension, torsion, and overdevelopment and excessive tightening of the iliopsoas muscles. The most common back problems are mechanical sprains and strains; however, disc injury or spondylolisthesis may also occur. Spondylolisthesis may be due to the stress imposed at the neural arch while performing exercises that involve repetitive lumbar spine flexion and extension under load. It is particularly true of dead-lifts.(34)

The greatest number of weight training-related back injuries result from exercises in which the trainee is in the flexed posture, such as rows and dead-lifts. A bent barbell row is often performed standing with heavy weight held at arm's length while bent at the waist and the legs held straight. This position creates perhaps the greatest amount of contractile tension on the lumbar spine musculature and the greatest lumbar disc pressure.(35)

A frequent error is to allow the back to round and then to jerk the weight up using the hip muscles to generate power. Lumbar flexion while lifting results in the load being shifted from the back muscles to the posterior ligaments, the thoracolumbar fascia, and the lumbar discs. The lower back muscles stop contracting when the spine is sufficiently flexed, a phenomenon known as the flexion relaxation response of the erector spinae.(36) It may result in injury to ligaments or discs.

The seated cable row exercise may also result in a hyperflexion injury to the lumbar spine, a problem often encountered in this author's practice. The injury usually results from leaning forward at the starting point of each rep, allowing the spine to flex, in an effort to get a good stretch (see Figs 1 and 2).

Extremely heavy weights are sometimes used in weightlifting exercises. As much as 1,000 lb can be used in the squat and dead-lift. While steadily applied compressive forces alone rarely injure the disc, rupture of the vertebral end plate or fatigue microfractures of the trabeculae of the vertebral bodies may result.(37,38) Research(39) reveals that retired heavyweight lifters exhibit significantly greater reduction of disc height on X-ray compared with controls.

Hyperextension injury to the spine may result from arching backward while performing unsupported overhead presses,(32) moving into a hyperextended position while performing the back extension exercise ballistically, or while performing prone leg curls. During the leg curl, there is a strong tendency for the spine to be pulled into hyperextension as the psoas comes into play to assist the hamstrings. Hyperextension can cause abnormal loading of the facet joints and the capsules, resulting in an inflammatory response. It can also increase the load on a preexisting spondylolisthesis, resulting in greater strain to the supporting tissues. The solution is to contract the abdominals while pulling the hips against the bench in order to maintain a neutral lumbar positive. In addition, patients should be advised to avoid using too heavy a weight or overstraining at the end of a set.

Injury to either the facets or the discs may occur from rotational exercises such as twists or from the rotary torso machine. The lumbar spine is particularly vulnerable to torsional forces. Due to the sagittal orientation of the facets, only a limited amount of rotation can occur in the lumbar spine. Additional rotation may result in injury to the facets or shearing of the discs.(40,41) Research (42) suggests a link between twisting while lifting and an increased risk of disc herniation.

Twisting exercises are often performed in an attempt to isolate the transverse abdominus muscle and create a thinner waistline. However, the transverse abdominus does not contract while rotating the torso, and twisting exercises will not trim the waist. Despite its horizontal fiber orientation, the transverse abdominus functions mainly to compress the abdomen during functions such as forced expiration and defecation.(43,44)

Many commonly performed abdominal exercises may contribute to lower back injury through overdevelopment and tightening of the hip flexor, iliopsoas muscles. When the iliopsoas Muscle contracts, it exerts both increased compressive and shear forces on the lumbar spine.(45) Many abdominal exercises are actually exercises in which the hip flexor muscles rather than the abdominals perform much or all of the work. These exercises include full sit-ups, straight leg raises, high chair and hanging leg raises, crunches with the feet hooked under a sofa or an apparatus in the gym, V-ups, Roman Chair rocking crunches, and most abdominal machines. Hooking the feet under a stationary object for support increases the tendency for the hip flexors to be recruited during sit-ups.


While not as common as back injuries, neck injuries occur fairly frequently in weight lifters. Cervical spine problems include mechanical sprains and strains, disc injuries, and brachial plexus injuries. Soft tissue injuries may result from protruding the head forward or from unnecessarily tensing the neck while weight training. Some problems result from a muscle imbalance syndrome similar to the "upper crossed syndrome" described by Janda.(46) This problem occurs because of imbalance in training programs that involve an inordinate amount of exercise for the pectorals, the front delts, the lats, and the biceps and very little training of antagonist muscle groups. The result can be overly developed and tight pectoralis major and minor, latissimus dorsi, front deltoids, trapezium, biceps, and stemocleidomastoid muscles, especially if proper attention has not been given to maintaining flexibility in these muscle groups. It is often accompanied by relative weakness of the middle and lower trapezium, rhomboids, the upper thoracic extensors, the deep neck flexors, the rear delts, and the external shoulder rotators (the infraspinatus and the teres minor).(33) It results in the rounded shoulder, forward head posture frequently seen in bodybuilders.

Exercises in which the head is allowed to nod or protrude forward may contribute to cervical spine injury by either promoting the postural defect noted previously, or by predisposing the athlete to cervical disc problems. The tendency to jut the head forward in exercises such as shrugs (Figs 3 and 4), behind the neck presses (Fig 5), behind the neck pulldowns, lateral shoulder raises (Fig 6), triceps extensions, curls, incline leg presses, and abdominal crunches promotes the development of the rounded shoulder, forward head posture. This posture is associated with abnormal mechanical function of the cervical spine. It is characterized by adaptive shortening of the suboccipital muscles, the stemocleidomastoid and the anterior scalene muscles, and excessive tension and weakening of the long cervical extensor muscles, the levator scapulae and the scapular retractor muscles. Trigger points and/or muscle strain may result in any of these muscles. Either upper cervical or cervico-thoracic joint dysfunction may result. Not only do cervical pain syndromes occur, but also temporomandibular joint dysfunction and headache. (47,48)

Protraction (protrusion) of the head during exercises in which the neck muscles are under load has also been linked with an increased risk of cervical disc derangement (herniation).(49) The forward head posture results in anterior shearing and increased compression of the lower cervical discs as the head slides forward and the upper cervical spine becomes hyperextended. Forceful contraction of the trapezium, the sternocleidomastoid, and the other cervical muscles will increase the load on the cervical discs and the facets. This finding correlates with an epidemiologic study that found that weight training, particularly with free weights, was associated with an increased risk of cervical disc herniation.(30) Cailliet(5O) claims that this forward head posture also leads to accelerated degenerative changes in the cervical spine. He notes that each inch the head protrudes forward of the trunk results in the equivalent load of an extra head that the neck must support.

It should be noted that during the performance of some exercises, untrained lifters commonly not only protract the head but also tense and flex the neck forward during the performance of exercises. This action occurs most frequently with curls, lateral raises, and leg presses. This habit may be even more damaging than simply protruding the head. Beginning with the novice athlete, bench presses-both flat and incline-are commonly incorporated into weight training and may be involved in the cause of cervical spine injury. It is not clear whether the injury occurs from protrusion of the head as the bar is lowered or from forcibly hyperextending the neck (ie, driving the head backward into the bench) as the weight is pushed up.

Neck strengthening is a controversial topic. Little research has investigated the role of neck strengthening in injury prevention. Mobility of the cervical spine is important and may be emphasized to the exclusion of strengthening. Some experts(48) recommend that rehabilitative exercises be directed toward strengthening the scapular muscles with the cervical spine held in the neutral position. However, others(51,52) have achieved good results with direct neck strengthening exercises, especially those directed at the cervical extensors.


As a trade-off for mobility, the shoulder lacks some of the stability found in other joints.(53) The shoulder is under considerable stress during many commonly performed weight training exercises and, as a result, is frequently injured.(3,31,54,55) Shoulder pain is often taken for granted or ignored by many bodybuilders. For example, anterior shoulder pain felt secondary to performing bench presses (ie, achieving a "burn") is frequently assumed to be a sore anterior deltoid muscle from a hard workout. It may, in fact, represent a sign of rotator cuff strain or impingement.

Impingement syndrome and anterior instability are the most common types of shoulder conditions associated with weight training. It is important to recognize that these conditions often coexist.(54) Rotator cuff strain/tendinitis/tear, proximal biceps tendinitis, and subacromial bursitis frequently result from subacromial impingement. However, primary tendinitis resulting from overload may also occur. Less common types of shoulder injuries include brachial plexus neuropathy, suprascapular nerve impingement, posterior glenohumeral instability (due to heavy bench presses), acromio-clavicular joint sprains (AC), proximal biceps tendon tears, pectoralis major strains or tears, and osteolysis of the distal clavicle.

Impingement syndrome

Impingement syndrome refers to impingement of the rotator cuff tendons, especially the supraspinatus tendon, under the subacromial arch. The biceps tendon or the subacromial bursa may also be impinged under the subacromial arch. The position that appears to be most damaging is abduction with internal rotation. It is not clear whether rotator cuff muscle/ tendon overload precedes impingement or is caused by it.(53,56)

A major factor in shoulder impingement injuries in weight lifters is the muscle imbalance syndrome mentioned earlier, highlighted by overly tight shoulder internal rotators and weak shoulder external rotators.(53,57) A substantial portion of the typical training program is dedicated to training the pectorals and the lats. Both tend to produce internal rotation of the shoulders. The external shoulder rotators (the infraspinatus and the teres minor) are often neglected.

There is considerable stress imposed on the rotator cuff muscles during the performance of many exercises, such as the bench press. Too many sets of exercises for the same body part with excessive weight can result in fatigue and overload injury to the rotator cuff. Therefore, weight lifters should be encouraged to perform fewer sets and no more than 12 sets per body part, including warm-ups.

A common exercise is the lateral raise with the shoulder in internal rotation (Fig 6). The lifter is often instructed to point the thumb down as though pouring water from a pitcher in an effort to better isolate the side deltoid. It may be true, but there is a risk of accelerating or aggravating an impingement syndrome. The clinician should suggest that lateral raises be performed face down on an incline bench positioned at about 75 degrees up from the ground. This position will isolate the side delts without creating impingement (Fig 7).

Another common mistake is raising the arms above 90 degrees while performing side raises. Unless the thumb is pointing up, this position may increase the risk of impinging the rotator cuff tendons under the subacromial arch. Shoulder protraction is associated with narrowing of the subacromial space.(58) Allowing the shoulders to become protracted forward beyond the neutral position during the performance of exercises such as bench presses may increase the strain to this area.

Anterior instability of the glenohumeral joint

Instability may be due to a single-event trauma where the capsule and glenoid labrum are torn or may be atraumatic representing a tendency toward a loose joint capsule. When either inherently loose or torn loose, the capsule may be unable to support the shoulder in the extremes of abduction and external rotation. Therefore, exercises that place the shoulder in this position should be modified or avoided such as the behind-the-neck press, the behind-the-neck pulldown, and the pec deck(59) (Figs 5, 9, and 10). It may also occur from repeatedly hyperextending the shoulder during the performance of bench presses, flyes, and the pec deck by lowering the bar or dumbbells to the point where the elbows are behind the back. Weight lifters not only place their shoulders in an abducted/externally rotated or hyperextended position, but also do it with considerable weight held in their hands. The general principle to use in advising patients is to avoid positions in which the elbows extend behind the coronal plane of the body. It is important to remind the patient that overhead positions are less stable and therefore more risky. While instability is often caused by gradual repetitive capsular stretching injury, Olympic lifters tend to suffer instability resulting from a single-event traumatic injury. They often lose control of a weight while holding the weight in an overhead position.(54)

It should be noted that the diagnosis of anterior instability may be overlooked due to a misleading response to testing. Patients often experience pain in the posterior shoulder when the arm is placed in an abducted/externally rotated position. It is thought that this posterior pain arises from traction or compression of the posterior structures as the shoulder subluxates forward. Also, anterior instability may be misdiagnosed as a rotator cuff strain.

The load and shift test is a form of instability testing that involves passively translating the humeral head while stabilizing the glenoid. This test may be performed with the patient in various positions, including seated with arm by the side, seated with the arm in the abducted and externally rotated position, and supine with the arm abducted and externally rotated. Excessive forward excursion of the humerus associated with either pain, apprehension, or clicking may all be considered positive signs. The relocation test should reduce the positive findings. This test involves restabilizing the humerus by pushing the head of the humerus from anterior to posterior while placing the arm in the "apprehension" position of abduction/external rotation. The relocation test is performed with the patient supine. Care should be taken to support the arm to avoid protective muscle spasm.(53)

Impingement may occur secondary to shoulder instability.(60) The response to testing includes pain felt with the apprehension test that is relieved by the relocation test. Apprehension is usually not the primary response to testing. In such cases, the underlying instability and the subsequent impingement should both be addressed.

Less common shoulder injuries related to weight training

There have been a number of reports in the literature of suprascapular nerve injury either via stretch or compression. Abduction of the arm against resistance has been implicated as the mechanism of injury.(61) The lateral raise and the shoulder press are two exercises that involve abduction against resistance.

A number of reports(5,20,62) document the occurrence of tears of the pectoralis major muscle or tendon, usually from bench pressing. The tendon may either avulse from the bone, tear at the musculotendinous junction, or tear in the muscle itself, usually near the musculotendinous junction. Most of these injuries occur while the arms are extended behind the chest.(20) To prevent such injuries the lifter should avoid lowering the bar to the point at which the shoulder is hyperextended.(5,20,62) Regular stretching may be helpful.

An entity known as atraumatic osteolysis of the distal clavicle has been reported in a number of studies as being related to weight training. This condition, referred to as weight lifter's shoulder, is marked by pain at the acromioclavicular joint while performing the dip, bench press, clean-and-jerk, and overhead presses. Radiographs show osteoporosis and loss of subchondral bony detail at the distal clavicle. In addition, cystic changes may also be present.(63,64) Atraumatic osteolysis is believed to result from repetitive loading of the acromioclavicular joint resulting in neurovascular compromise to the distal clavicle. Management is difficult given that most patients are serious lifters. Either a dramatic reduction in weight, elimination of the offending maneuver, or substitution of exercises may be suggested. Alternatives to the bench press include a narrow grip bench, cable crossovers, and the incline or decline press. If unsuccessful, elimination of heavy lifting for 6 months is recommended. There is some evidence that those treated surgically with amputation of the distal I to 2 cm of the clavicle are able to return to some lifting. However, many athletes are not able to return to a pre-injury level of lifting.(63)


Knee pain secondary to weight lifting is often caused by an overuse injury involving the patellofemoral joint, or the quadriceps or patellar tendons. However, tears to the menisci may also occur. Patellofemoral pain syndrome may or may not include chondromalacia. Ligamentous problems are rare except when caused by trauma during Olympic weight lifting.

One study(65) found that former elite weight lifters had a 31% incidence of osteoarthritis of the knee as compared with former runners who had only a 14% increased incidence of osteoarthritis of the knee. The patellofemoral joint was the most common location. One should keep in mind that Olympic lifts require ballistically dropping into a very deep squat, to the point where the hamstrings rest against the calves. Such extreme squatting positions result in very high meniscal compressive forces and patellofemoral contact forces. Also, competitive lifters often lift maximal weights. Elastic knee wraps are frequently worn while performing squats and other heavy leg exercises with the intention of protecting the knee joint. Such wraps may increase the friction between the patella and the underlying cartilage, thus increasing the risk of knee injury.(9,40)

Some general rules of thumb for athletes with patellofemoral pain are:

*Do not perform squats through a painful range of motion(often in the midrange).
*Do not perform lunges or squats with the knees caving inward (keep the knees over the toes).
*Focus on the last 10' to 15' of knee extension when performing knee extension exercises.
*Take care not to press the kneecaps into the bench when performing leg curls (or any prone position of exercise). In other words, move toward the foot of the bench so that the patellae are not compressed while the knees are extended.

(A grain of Salt may be needed here)

If the weight lifter has had damage to the anterior cruciate ligament it is important to:

*Avoid knee extension exercises (especially from 70' of flexion to full extension).
*Substitute seated knee extensions with closed chain exercises such as partial squats and leg presses.
*Focus on hamstring development (adds some dynamic support).

This author has seen the greatest number of knee injuries occur as the result of hack squats. However, regular squats, leg presses, knee extensions, lunges, step-ups, and leg curls may all play a role in overuse injuries. In particular, bouncing at the bottom of a squat has been implicated as a cause of patellar tendon strain due to the high eccentric forces generated during this technique.(9) One case report even documents a bilateral quadriceps tendon rupture that occurred while squatting.(23)


Weight training is a wonderful form of exercise when practiced sensibly and in moderation. Helping athletes and other patients to continue performing their strength training exercises by modifying their programs in an attempt to prevent injuries is a great benefit. We should consider the advice given by Hippocrates 2,400 years ago: "Exercise should be mild at first, gradually increasing, gently warming and not taking too much from the available strength . . . exercise should be as far as possible natural and there should be plenty of them; violent exercise should be sparingly used, and only when necessary."(66, p.289)

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Recommendations for Preventing Low Back Injuries While Weight Training

1. Keep the lower back in the neutral (lordotic) position during the performance of most lifts, such as dead-lifts, rows, and squats. To maintain this position lightly co-contract the abdominals and the glutes, making sure to avoid hyperextension. Abdominal co-contraction helps to raise intra-abdominal pressure and stiffen the spine. A weight-lifting belt may also facilitate maintaining this posture. If necessary employing trunk stabilization exercises as a regular part of your workout may help you learn to maintain this posture.

2. Keep the knees at least slightly bent during all rowing and flexed exercises.

3. Keep the trunk as vertical as possible during squats.

4. Avoid hip flexor dominant abdominal exercises. These exercises include straight leg raises, Roman Chair leg raises, full sit-ups, and most abdominal machines, especially those where the feet are hooked in. To decrease psoas involvement during crunches, plantar flex the feet and pull down with the heels to contract the hamstrings.

5. Maintain adequate strength and endurance in the lumbar extensor muscles.

6. Perform repeated prone extensions (cobra) prior to training and following all abdominal training that involves spinal flexion.

[Well, okay, if you're interested:

Prone Cobra:
Lay face down (prone) arms at sides. Raise the torso off the ground using your low back muscles. You may initiate the movement by contracting the glutes. Once up however use the low back to hold the torso up and relax the gluteals. Now that you are up externally rotate the arms and point the thumbs toward the sky. Now squeeze your shoulder blades together. Keep the chin tucked and hold the position.]

7. Avoid rotational exercises for the obliques such as twists and rotary torso machines, unless you are involved in sports in which rotation forces commonly occur. Substitute diagonal and lateral movements instead.

8. Keep the hamstrings, psoas, and other hip muscles flexible through regular, slow, static stretching. Avoid standing bent-over stretches as these can overstretch the posterior ligaments of the spine.

Recommendations for Preventing Neck Injuries While Weight Training

1. Keep the cervical spine in a neutral position. Avoid pushing or holding the head forward, flexed, or extended. Avoid turning the head during the performance of exercises in which the neck muscles are involved. Tuck the chin in slightly and look straight ahead.

2. Make sure to perform range of motion and flexibility exercises for the neck as part of your warm-up and cooldown.

3. Avoid behind-the-neck presses and behind-the-neck pull-downs. These exercises promote development of the forward head posture and may contribute to neck injury. Substitute presses and pull-downs in front.

4. Avoid unnecessarily tensing the neck and jaw musculature while training. Try to direct all of your energy to the working muscles. During the bench press keep your head resting on the bench and relaxed. A doubled towel placed under the head and neck may help.

5. Correct or balance postural flaws, such as increased thoracic kyphosis and the forward head posture, with specific rehabilitative exercises.

6. Strengthen the neck. Use light weights and greater repetitions, and progress very slowly. Isotonic exercises are probably best. However, if moderate to severe arthritis is present, isometric exercises may be better.

Recommendations for Preventing Shoulder Injuries While Weight Training

1. Do not ignore shoulder pain. Training through the pain will only lead to further and more severe injury.

2. Avoid exercises where the arm is abducted (raised to the side) in an internally rotated position, such as upright rows and thumbs-pointed-down laterals. Also, do not raise the arms above 90' while performing lateral raises.

3. Strengthen the external rotator muscles of the shoulder and keep them strong. This process involves regularly performing rotator cuff strengthening exercises-not just when you have an injury. The strength of the rotator cuff muscles should keep pace with the strength of the pectoral and deltoid muscles.

4. Keep the internal shoulder rotators flexible to avoid shortening. Be careful to avoid instability. Forceful stretching and stretching with weights should be avoided.

[Towel Stretch - Internal Rotation

Place right hand behind back.
With the left hand, dangle a towel behind the back.
Grasp the towel with the right hand.
Gently pull the right hand upward by raising the left arm to stretch the right shoulder.
Towel should be in vertical position.
Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on other side. - Eric]

5. Avoid exercises where the rotator cuff is under extreme load.

6. Warm up the shoulders carefully before exercising them.

7. Strengthen the middle and lower traps and rhomboids to increase shoulder stability and ensure better scapular stabilization. Avoid protracted shoulder postural problems.

8. Avoid the pullover exercise or use with extreme caution. Care should be taken not to extend the arms back too far.

Recommendations for Preventing Knee Injuries While Weight Training

1. Avoid rapidly lowering your body or the weight while performing leg presses or squat variations.

2. Avoid allowing the knee to bend more than 90 degrees during the performance of leg exercises such as the squat, leg press, or lunge. Keep the knee from traveling forward of the foot and also do not drop too low in the squat or bring the carriage back too far in the leg press exercises.

3. Make sure that the knee tracks over the center of the foot. Avoid the tendency for the knees to bend to the side as the weight is pushed up during the performance of a leg press or squat or similar exercise. Elastic tubing can be placed around the knees while squatting to help train this proper tracking of the knee. A large ball such as a 55-cm ball can be squeezed between the knees while squatting to help the tracking and also to co-contract the adductor muscles and the vastus medialis.

4. Avoid the use of elastic knee wraps.

Last edited by EricT; 05-20-2006 at 03:04 PM.
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Old 05-19-2006, 05:04 PM
EricT EricT is offline
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Originally Posted by Weiz
8. Keep the hamstrings, psoas, and other hip muscles flexible through regular, slow, static stretching.
This part may be expecially important to many of us. As a matter of fact, if you are having lower back problems a tight psoas may be a big part of the problem. Likewise if you are tending to hyperextend (arch) your back during overhead presses and such.

A good lower body stretchnig routine which includes lower back stretches, hamstring stretches, quadriceps stretches and psoa stretches (I bet none of you stretch you psoas but you should!), especially after squatting and related exercise or any dominant hip flexor exercises can be very helpful.

See also
Stretching and Flexibility
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Old 06-09-2006, 04:01 PM
EricT EricT is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 6,314

This is an excellent article that I had to include here. Just the kind of thing I've been looking for.

By Will Brink, author of:
Muscle Building Nutrition
http://musclebuildingnutrition. Joint Troubles com
Muscle Gaining Diet, Training Routines by Charles Poliquin & Bodybuilding Supplement Review
Diet Supplements Revealed
Real World Fat Loss Diet & Weight Loss Supplement Review

“Joint Troubles”
One of the most common problems faced by strength training athletes is joint pain. "Oh my shoulder is killing me" or "my knee has been bothering me for months" or "I have been living on pain killers to get rid of this ache in my elbow" are common complaints that can be heard in any gym at any time. Oddly enough however, this topic is not covered very often in most bodybuilding/fitness magazines. Maybe the topic is just not all that "sexy" or "cutting edge," but if you're one of the thousands of people whose gains in muscle are being side tracked by joint troubles, then you don't give a damn about sexy or cutting edge-you just want relief!

In the past few years I have noticed an increase in letters and e-mail from people complaining about their joints. In all honesty, I would estimate 80% or more of most bodybuilders joint pain is totally avoidable. If you look at people who have chronic joint pain, nine out of ten times you can see why they would have an aching appendage that causes them pain. More often that not, they (1) rarely warm up adequately, (2) they train too long and/or too often, (3) they use overly heavy weights/low reps more often than they should, (4) they don't take time off to allow their joints, tendons, muscles, etc., to recuperate from heavy workouts, (5) they use less than perfect form during heavy lifts, (6) they don't take in adequate nutrients, or (7) all of the above!

Now of course we have all had an ache or pain in a knee, elbow , or other joint at times, but chronic long term pain is another story. This article is going to assume that the reader has joint pain NOT because he (or she) is doing any one of the above seven common mistakes, but has joint pain due to some other factor out of their control. If you warm up and stretch thoroughly, train for no longer than an hour three-four days per week, cycle your weights and reps, take time off when you need it, have good form, take in adequate nutrients, and still have joint problems... then this might be the article for you.

Types of joint problems
There are of course different types of problems that cause common joint pain in athletes and "normal" people alike. Bursitis, tendinitis, various types of arthritis, and other afflictions, can be the cause of a person's aching joints. Briefly, here is a description of the most common types and causes of joint pain that afflict athletes:

Arthritis: There are many different forms of arthritis. The two most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Of the two, osteoarthritis is by far the most common to bodybuilders and other athletes. Caused by wear and tear on the joints, osteoarthritis is characterized by a deterioration of the cartilage at the ends of the bones. The once smooth cartilage becomes rough thus causing more and more friction and pain. Left untreated and unchecked, this can become very debilitating for the hard training athlete. Chronic osteoarthritis has ended the career of numerous athletes.

Bursitis: In our joints there are small fluid filled sacks called bursae. The bursae's job is to assist in the muscle/joints movement by cushioning the joints and bones against friction. If these sacks become inflamed and/or injured due to various causes (see above training mistakes), a chronic pain called "bursitis" can result. It's most often found in the shoulder or elbow (A.K.A tennis elbow) but can also be found in other joints of the body. It hurts like hell and can ruin a workout quickly if left untreated.

Tendonitis: Tendonitis is probably the most common cause of pain to bodybuilders and other athletes and is (luckily) the easiest to treat. However, if left untreated and the person just "works through the pain," it can become a real problem that will put a quick end to your gains in muscle. Basically, tendinitis just means the tendon(s) around a joint have become severely inflamed from overuse, micro injury, etc. Though it might sound simple enough, for people who suffer from chronic tendinitis it's no joke and a real pain in the...joint!

Treatment options
Again, this article is going to assume that the reader warms up properly before working out, does not severely overtrain, yada, yada, yada, as mentioned in the beginning of this article. If the reader (you?) is in the gym all day, thinks one set on the bench press is a warm up, and feels anything over 3 reps is high rep training, than you need go no further to find the answers to what's bothering your joints!

The treatment options we are going to look at relate to natural compounds, or mixtures of natural compounds, that could save a person with aching joints years of pain and possibly even more. Unfortunately, the treatments offered by traditional medicine at this time are generally of little use to highly active people. Most of the treatments for joint problems address the symptoms (pain, swelling, etc) rather than the cause and can often make the problem worse in the long run. Non-steroidal anti- inflammatories, cortical steroid injections, joint replacement, and the always useful "stay off it" advice does not tend to yield the results most athletes want.

If you look at the names of the aforementioned types of joint problems, you will notice they all end with the term "itis," as in tendin-itis, arthr-itis, and burs-itis. The suffix "-itis" means "inflammation of " according to The American Medical Association Encyclopedia of Medicine. Knowing this, you can see that bursitis means inflammation of the bursea sack, tendinitis means inflammation of the tendons, and arthritis means....well you get the point. Medical terms for afflictions that end in "-itis" tell us that though the causes and manifestations are different, the final problems is one of inflammation. Inflammation is characterized by pain, swelling, redness, and less obvious symptoms. This leads us finally to our list of natural compounds/products that might just save the joints of the person reading this article who thought their workouts would never be the same because their joints are giving them so much trouble. These products tend to address not only the symptoms of the problem-that is the inflammation-but the underlying causes as well.

Jello Anyone?
As strange as it might seem, the main ingredient (gelatin) in good old Jello might be just what the doctor ordered for painful joints. Gelatin has been market world wide for many years as a food and as a supplement. Gelatin is made from animal collagen. In all animals-including man- collagen is an essential structural protein that forms an important part of bones, tendons, and connective tissues. It is a tough insoluble protein that is essential for keeping the many cells and tissues of the body together.

Gelatin contains an exceptionally high content of two amino acids which play an important part in collagen formation, namely proline and glycine.
In fact, it takes 43 grams of dried egg whites or 35 grams of dried non fat milk or 89 grams of lean beef to equal the amount of proline in just 10 grams of hydrolyzed gelatin. Though the body can form these two amino acids on its own, it has been suggested that under certain conditions the rate of synthesis may be insufficient to provide essential body requirements and degradation can exceed synthetic processes (i.e. there is a steady loss of body collagen). The intake of hydrolyzed gelatin appears to be an alternative route to getting chondrocytes (cartilage producing cells) and osteoblasts (bone forming cells) of the body sufficient amounts of these important amino acids for making structural proteins. Although chondrocytes are critical for collagen formation, their number is limited and their ability to form this much needed protein is influenced by heredity, age, physical activity (too little or too much), injury, and availability of nutrients.

Although bone metabolism is quite complex and not fully understood, there is a growing number of studies showing the intake of just ten grams per day of hydrolyzed gelatin is effective in greatly reducing pain, improving mobility and overall bone/cartilage health. Several randomized, double-blinded, crossover trials have shown improvements in symptoms related to joint pain (Adem et. al. Therapiewoche, 1991). The people at Knox (the Jello people) have made a product specifically for bone health and joints called NutraJoint. It contains hydrolyzed gelatin, calcium , and vitamin C. Calcium is of obvious importance to bone health and vitamin C is an essential and limiting nutrient for connective tissue formation. NutraJoint is cheap, has no side effects, and tastes good. I recommend one packet mixed with OJ with breakfast for people suffering from joint pain.

Cetyl Myrist..what?
A fatty acid with the long and hard to pronounce name of Cetyl Myristoleate has been receiving a good deal of attention by researchers concerned with joint pain and health. Being it's difficult for the reader to pronounce-or for me to write for that matter-I will just call it CMT for the remainder of this article, OK?

Discovered by a researcher at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), CMT looks very promising as a compound that greatly reduces joint pain due to a variety of causes. In animals CMT was found to be very protective of joints from different chemicals that would normally cause arthritis in these animals. Though the human research at this time is not as solid as we would like, CMT has already developed a following with some alternative medical practitioners and by those who suffer from joint pain. Several bodybuilders I work with swear by the stuff though I cant vouch for it at this time as I have had no personal experience with this product. Also, its effects seem to work rather quickly and relatively small amounts can be used. 12-15 grams spread out over an entire month appear to be effective. Exactly how CMT works is unclear but it might have something to do with a reduction in pro-inflammatory prostaglandins (see below) or some other mechanism. EHP Products Inc. makes a CMT product that is endorsed by the researcher who discovered it. They can be reached at 888-EHP-0100. A company called G nS Marketing also sells CMT (they call it CMO) and can be contacted by calling 800-829-1514.

Flax oil for everything!
Many bodybuilders and other athletes are starting to see the many benefits of flax oil for all sorts of uses. One obvious use of flax oil is a reduction in pain due to any type of inflammatory condition, including joint troubles. To understand why this is so, the reader must now endure a crash course in the topic of essential fatty acids and the many products made by these fatty acids found in the body. If you already know all this stuff you can skip over this material, but if you don't know it, you will need this information for the rest of the article.

The definition of an essential nutrient is anything the body cannot make itself and therefore must be obtained from the diet. We need to eat an assortment of vitamins and minerals, approximately nine to eleven amino acids, and two fatty acids to stay alive and healthy. The two essential fatty acids (EFAS) are called linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. The first being an Omega-6 fatty acid and the latter being an Omega-3 fatty acid. If the term "Omega-3 fatty acid" rings a bell for you it should. Fish oils are also well publicized and researched Omega-3 fatty acids (see below) that have been shown to have many benefits. "So what does all this have to do with my aching joints?" you are thinking. Ok, here is the skinny on why you had to endure that previous section. Flax oil is exceptionally high in Omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid). Omega-3 fatty acids, from fish, flax, etc., have been shown in the scientific/medical literature to reduce inflammation of any kind.

Remember the "-itis" part of the word relating to joint problems? How do you think non- steroidal anti- inflammatories work? They reduce inflammation, but they also come with potential side effects and health problems. So how does flax oil do this wonderful thing? From both of the essential fatty acids the body makes something called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are very short lived hormone-like substances that regulate cellular activity on a moment to moment basis. Prostaglandins are directly involved with regulating blood pressure,inflammatory responses, insulin sensitivity, immune responses, anabolic/catabolic processes, and hundreds of other functions known and yet unknown. The long and the short of all this, without going into a long and boring biochemical explanation, is: Omega 3 fatty acids are responsible for forming the anti -inflammatory prostaglandins and the Omega 6 prostaglandins are responsible for making many of the pro-inflammatory prostaglandins, and other products derived from EFAS. A high intake of Omega 3 oils reduces inflammation (and pain) by this mechanism. Obviously, it's a lot more complicated than that, but hey, I only have so much space to write.

People who add in 1-3 tablespoons a day of flax oil to a protein drink, or over a salad, often notice a reduction in pain in their joints, not to mention all the other great things EFAS can do for the hard training bodybuilder. Flax oil can be found in any large health food store under such brands as Flora, Omega, Barleans, and several other names (Even better than flax perhaps, Udo's Choice oil is a great blend of different oils. More info can be found at Udo's site connected to the links section of this web page).

High quality kitchen sink formulas
I call these products "kitchen sink formulas" because they add in just about everything you could want in a formula for painful joints. Two high quality product of this type that come to mind are the Natural Pain Relief products by Inholtra and The Life Extension Foundation. These products contain Glucosamine(s), Chondroitin Sulphate, the fish oils EPA/DHA, Gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), vitamin E, fat soluble vitamin C (ascorbyl palmitate), and Manganese aspartate. "So what does all this stuff do?" you are asking yourself. Briefly:

Glucosamine is considered by many as one of the best natural products for the treatment and prevention of cartilage degeneration. It is in essential part of cartilage, synovial fluid, and other components of joints. Chondroitin sulphate is related to glucosamine and is part of a family of modified sugars that form structural molecules in cartilage. As mentioned previously, the Omega 3 fish oils (EPA/DHA) are renowned for improving pain and inflammation in joints and other areas of the body. GLA is a fatty acid derived from the Omega-6 class of fatty acids but has been shown to have many properties similar to that of the fish oils/flax oil in its ability to reduce inflammation through the production of the favorable anti-inflammatory/anti-auto immune prostaglandins.

The anti - oxidants vitamin E and C are added because it is well known that free radical pathology is part of the damage that takes place in the joints. Finally, the trace element manganese is needed as a co- factor in many enzymatic processes related to cartilage synthesis and cartilage integrity. Now you know why I call them kitchen sink formulas! Taken singularly, the above ingredients appear to have marginal effectiveness. Taken as a complex, they appear to be very synergistic.

These are very well rounded and complete-though slightly different-formulas for people looking for some relief to their joint troubles, or any chronic inflammatory condition for that matter. However, I have found most people will need to take more than the manufacturer recommends to see real results, though this is not true 100% of the time. The Life Extension Foundation can be contacted by calling 800-826-2114 or http://www.lef.org

Conclusion and Recommendations
If you are one of the millions of people who suffer from chronic joint pain when you hit the gym, first make sure you are not making any of the most common mistakes outlined in the beginning of this article. Secondly, get an opinion from a good sports medicine doctor as to exactly what your problem is. You don't want to self diagnose what could be a serious problem. Finally, start with one of the above products and see if it improves your condition. Wait at least a few months before you make your assessment. Add in a second or third product if you don't think you are getting the results you want, which would be of course less pain and greater mobility through the joint in question. Hey, I never said it was going to be cheap and easy, but if serious joint pain is taking all the fun out of your workouts, it will be worth your time and money. See you in the gym...

Diehl-HW and May EL. "Cetyl myristoleate isolated from Swiss albino mice: an apparent protective agent against adjuvant arthritis in rats." J. Pharm-Sci, 83(3):296-9, 1994.
Cochran C. and Dent R., "Cetyl Myristoleate - A unique natural compound valuable in arthritis conditions." Townsend Letter for doctors, #168:70-74, 1997.

About the Author - William D. Brink
Will Brink is a columnist, contributing consultant, and writer for various health/fitness, medical, and bodybuilding publications. His articles relating to nutrition, supplements, weight loss, exercise and medicine can be found in such publications as Lets Live, Muscle Media 2000, MuscleMag International, The Life Extension Magazine, Muscle n Fitness, Inside Karate, Exercise For Men Only, Body International, Power, Oxygen, Penthouse, Women’s World and The Townsend Letter For Doctors.
He is the author of Priming The Anabolic Environment and Weight Loss Nutrients Revealed. He is the Consulting Sports Nutrition Editor and a monthly columnist for Physical magazine and an Editor at Large for Power magazine. Will graduated from Harvard University with a concentration in the natural sciences, and is a consultant to major supplement, dairy, and pharmaceutical companies.

He has been co author of several studies relating to sports nutrition and health found in peer reviewed academic journals, as well as having commentary published in JAMA. He runs the highly popular web site BrinkZone.com which is strategically positioned to fulfill the needs and interests of people with diverse backgrounds and knowledge. The BrinkZone site has a following with many sports nutrition enthusiasts, athletes, fitness professionals, scientists, medical doctors, nutritionists, and interested lay people. William has been invited to lecture on the benefits of weight training and nutrition at conventions and symposiums around the U.S. and Canada, and has appeared on numerous radio and television programs.

William has worked with athletes ranging from professional bodybuilders, golfers, fitness contestants, to police and military personnel.

Article References:
(1) Farnsworth E, Luscombe ND, Noakes M, Wittert G, Argyiou E, Clifton PM. Effect of a high-protein, energy-restricted diet on body composition, glycemic control, and lipid concentrations in overweight and obese hyperinsulinemic men and women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Jul;78(1):31-9.
(2) Baba NH, Sawaya S, Torbay N, Habbal Z, Azar S, Hashim SA. High protein vs high carbohydrate hypoenergetic diet for the treatment of obese hyperinsulinemic subjects. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1999 Nov;23(11):1202-6.
(3) Parker B, Noakes M, Luscombe N, Clifton P. Effect of a high-protein, high-monounsaturated fat weight loss diet on glycemic control and lipid levels in type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2002 Mar;25(3):425-30.
(4) Skov AR, Toubro S, Ronn B, Holm L, Astrup A.Randomized trial on protein vs carbohydrate in ad libitum fat reduced diet for the treatment of obesity. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1999 May;23(5):528-36.
(5) Piatti PM, Monti F, Fermo I, Baruffaldi L, Nasser R, Santambrogio G, Librenti MC, Galli-Kienle M, Pontiroli AE, Pozza G. Hypocaloric high-protein diet improves glucose oxidation and spares lean body mass: comparison to hypocaloric high-carbohydrate diet. Metabolism. 1994 Dec;43(12):1481-7.
(6) Layman DK, Boileau RA, Erickson DJ, Painter JE, Shiue H, Sather C, Christou DD. A reduced ratio of dietary carbohydrate to protein improves body composition and blood lipid profiles during weight loss in adult women. J Nutr. 2003 Feb;133(2):411-7.
(7) Golay A, Eigenheer C, Morel Y, Kujawski P, Lehmann T, de Tonnac N. Weight-loss with low or high carbohydrate diet? Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1996 Dec;20(12):1067-72.
(8) Meckling KA, Gauthier M, Grubb R, Sanford J. Effects of a hypocaloric, low-carbohydrate diet on weight loss, blood lipids, blood pressure, glucose tolerance, and body composition in free-living overweight women. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2002 Nov;80(11):1095-105.
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Old 08-07-2006, 02:03 PM
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Default Shoulder Rehabilitation by Dr. David Ryan

Shoulder Rehabilitation

by Dr. David T. Ryan,
Winner of the Cecil Award, National Arthritis Foundation


The most common question that I get asked is how to strengthen an injured shoulder. Some athletes train around a shoulder injury for years, others try every insane treatment, including magnets and various injectables, instead of realizing they can correct the problem with proper training.

The shoulder is the most complicated joint in the body to rehabilitate. Why? It has more mobility and speed than any other joint in the body. The shoulder moves at 5730 degrees per second (dps), approximately 80% faster than the knee at top speed (2000 dps).

Because of its seemingly complex nature, most individuals take up knitting or 12 ounce curls to avoiding training. Recently, I returned a professional hockey player to the ice in just 10 days with a shoulder separation. Previous attempts at shoulder surgery failed to provide shoulder stability, the injury was reviewed and an intense training schedule mixed with some ultrasound and medications was implemented. That's right, a step by step exercise program to increase flexibility and strength. Injuries to the shoulders supraspinatous muscle are the most common sports medical injury.

Many times the shoulder injury will have several additional components, including the back/neck/shoulder girdle, etc. Most good orthopedic surgeons are very reserved about attempting surgery unless there is a major tear, since there is a better chance to rehab the shoulder. For example, when trying to repair a torn pec tendon is associated with how it is made. Most tendons are very fibrous and thick, but the pec tendon looks like Jello flattened out by a rolling pin with parallel strings running through it. Your best chance at repairing partial tears is by rehabilitating the tissue and doing it the right way with plyometric/speed training.

This article will instruct you on how to increase range of motion and strengthen the shoulder area. This article will not allow you to begin diagnosing your lifting pals. It is best to see a chiropractic physician or a good orthopedic surgeon who specializes in shoulders. Beware that not all orthopedic surgeons or chiropractic physicians are created equally. A good general rule is if you don’t see improvement in a couple of weeks, then move on. Try another type of doctor or physical therapist or acupuncturist, etc.

Find a Chiropractic Physician at www.chiroweb.com

Find an Orthopedic Physician at http://www.aaos.org

When a doctor tells you to quit lifting and get on NSAIDS (Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs). Well, since over 16,500 people died in the US from reactions from those drugs you might want to consider using a non-drug approach. (British Medical Journal, June, 1999.) Short-term use of Advil, Aleve, Nuprin, Motrin, Asprin (white willow bark) and other NSAIDS (less than three weeks) are usually safe, but continued use will distroy your protective lining of your stomach and your heart. I have seen several athletes who have been unable to compete or came close to death with long term NSAID use. One of the best NSAIDs - Bextra is one of the safest anti-inflammatory drugs you can use, ask your doctor about it. It is 4000 times more selective, which means it leaves your heart and stomach alone.

Read this article and then take it to your healthcare professional and have them read it.
Please note that most physicians don’t have any training in rehabilitation. Some chiropractors do and most physical therapist are a good place to start then apply other references of this article to your training.

Take on the shoulder Step by Step. Try to workout without passing the 60% pain level. In time your strength will improve and your pain level will reduce.

One of the first steps to understanding shoulder rehabilitation is
learning anatomy. I know it might not be fun, but it is necessary.

BONES 1. Bones of the shoulder
A. Clavicle (Commonly known as the collar bone)
B. Scapula (Also known as the wing bone)
C. Humerus (The upper bone in your arm)

JOINTS 2. There are three joints (where bones come together) of the shoulder region.
The first two listed below make up the shoulder girdle.

A. Acromioclavicular (A-C joint) -- this joint is formed by the upper part of the scapula and the clavicle. Mainly it is active with shrugging movements. When this joint is injured a grading scale of 1 (minor) through 3 (severe) is used to evaluate the degree of separation as seen on a x-ray.

B. Glenohumeral -- the combination of the upper arm bone and the
outside area of the scapula make up this joint. This joint is responsible for most all the movements of the shoulder. Shoulder dislocation always refers to this joint. These can occur in any direction, but the anterior-inferior (forward and down) normally occurs the most frequent.

C. Sternoclavical -- composed of the clavicle (collar bone) and the
sternum (breast bone). This joint primarily operates during the shrugs, although, part of its function is to stabilize the shoulder girdle in place. Normally, this area becomes injured when the entire shoulder girdle is forced backwards or towards the center of the body (like getting slammed into the wall in Hockey).

MUSCLE 3. Muscles of the shoulder.
Here is a simple definition of what they do, in particular how they effect the more common movements such as the bench press.

The rotator cuff (SITS) Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, Subscapularis, others muscles of the shoulder include
the Teres Major, Latissimus Dorsi, Trapezius, Pectoriallis Major and Minor; corico- brachiallis, Biceps, Deltoid, Sternocleidomastoid, Rhomboid Minor and Major, Serratus Anterior.

The humerus (your upper arm) is flexed (drawn forward, bench press) by the Pectoralis major, anterior fibers of the Deltoideus, Coracobachialis, and when the forearm is flexed, by the Biceps brachii; extended (drawn backward, bent-over rows) by the Latissimus Dorsi, Teres major, Posterior fibers of the Deltoideus and when the forearm is extended, by the Triceps brachii; it is abducted (arm drawn away from the body, lateral raises) by the Deltoideus and Supraspinatus; it is adducted (arm is drawn toward the side of the body, like one arm rows) by the Subscapularis, Pectoralis major, and by the weight of the limb; it is rotated outward /external rotation (similar to bent-over lateral raises) by the Infraspinatus and Teres Minor; and it is rotated inward /internal rotation (cable cross-overs) by the Subscapularis, Latissimus Dorsi, Teres major, Pectoralis major, and the anterior fibers of the Deltodeus.1 With the arm over head, any motion is stabilized or controlled by the Coracobachialis. Circumduction (similar to a underarm throw in fast pitch softball) is the combination of the above movements to allow the greatest degree of movement of any joint.

•Some muscles are major movers of the joints, others only stabilize.

•If you were to cut away the tendons of the rotator cuff, the
Glenohumeral joint goes from completely closed to a 2.5 cm gap. Now you can
understand how important the rotator cuff muscles are in stabilization of the
shoulder. Some of the research done by Dr. Richard Fisher at OSU (also
Director of Orthopedics, Arnold Fitness/Classic Expo) showed,
the more weight placed on the shoulder in the bench press resulted in a more
stablization of the glenohumeral joint. Less shifting with more weight!

•Muscles are accompanied by surrounding soft tissue, these include bursa sacs,
major ligaments, nerves and arteries. It is possible to have scar tissue associated on any of these structures. It may be necessary in some cases to have a surgical procedure to remove that scar tissue.

Now that we have a clear understanding of anatomy and how it works the next step is learning the steps to evaluating your problem.
Your physician/physical therapist must help you with this phase.

The First step: Find the limited movement.

Movement of a joint is called Range Of Motion (ROM). There are standards or normal movement ranges. Comparing the normal side to the damaged side is an easy way to determine your limits. Some individuals who have injuries on both sides must have a physician or physical therapists assist them in discovering their limits of motion.

There are two forms of ROM:
ACTIVE (AROM)--where you move the joint.
PASSIVE (PROM)--where the doctor moves the joint for you while you relax.


The ranges of motion to be examined are:

• Abduction and Adduction: With the arms straight at your side
raise the arms over your head. (Fig. 1)
• External rotation and Abduction: reach behind your head and
touch the top of the opposite scapula.
• Adduction and Internal rotation: reach in front of your head
and touch the opposite shoulder.
• Internal rotation and Adduction: reach behind your lower back
and raise the arm to the bottom of the scapula.
• Scapular movement: 2:1 ratio of arm abduction to scapular
movement. For every 2° of arm abduction 1° of scapular
movement should also occur. This important area is commonly
overlooked during examination. Frozen shoulder syndrome starts here.

There are other areas of ROM, but these will be uncovered during the next section of muscle testing.

Note any deficiencies or improvement in your journal. Check your progress in the future by comparing your good side to your injured side in a mirror.

The Second step: Begin testing your muscles in particular movements. Realize some of your strength testing can be done in the gym during your workout. You may need to adapt your exercises and use dumbbells to compare one side to the other; However, during rehabilitation bilateral movements (using a barbell) promotes faster strength gains.

The nine motions we are going to test are: Flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, external rotation, internal rotation, scapular elevation (shoulder shrug), scapular retraction (position of attention), shoulder protraction (reaching) and overhead flexion (throwing a ball).

Test these movements with the following exercises

Flexion & scapular protraction: Reverse grip-bench press.
Extension: One-arm bent over rows
Abduction & external rotation: Lateral shoulder raises
Adduction & internal rotation: Cable cross-overs/ Dips
Scapular elevation & retraction: Dumbbell shrugs up and back
Overhead flexion: One-arm dumbbell pull-overs.

Another excellent exercise to consider is the "Rotator Cuff Shoulder Roll." Performed with your arm holding a dumbbell, elbow bent at 90 degrees, upper arm perpendicular to the bench, midway down on a flat bench, only the shoulder blade (Scapula) touching the bench; keep your thumb pointing to the ground as you move the dumbbell from above your head to below your shoulder. (SEE ILLUSTRATION-1) A more advanced way to do this exercise is with a barbell. Grab the barbell a little wider than shoulder width with palms facing inward. Now raise your elbows (keeping your upper arm only rolling- your upper arm is parallel with the ground) start with your forearms pointing down to the ground (like a scar crow). Now raise the forearm in a circular motion, in that you rotate the upper arm, making a half circle as you raise the bar over your head. Keep your elbow at the same height throughout the movement. (SEE ILLUSTRATION-2)

I would strongly discourage you from doing any behind the neck military presses below the earlobe. They tend to separate the shoulder joint to an abnormal degree. Do military presses in front of the neck and not lower than the earlobe.

With all your exercises work on balancing the strength of the joint equally in all directions. An unbalanced joint, especially the shoulder, will eventually cause further injury or ligamentous laxity and osteoarthritis. The head of the humerous will wear on the ball and socket joint and eventually tear the Teflon-like covering in joint called the glenoid labrum.

Write Down your weaknesses in a journal and we’ll cover the correct exercises to

The Third Step: Work on increasing your range of motion.

When your tissue is injured it heals with scar tissue, not fresh new cells, just protein branches called collagen. For about the first three weeks scar tissue is forming therefore, lifting weight too early is counter productive; however, it is quite essential to work on passive then active ROM. You should be aware that once the scar tissue has stabilized you must begin exercising the area with weights as soon as possible. Please note that some research has shown that use of NSAIDS on a repetitive basis results in additional scar tissue formation. Additional research indicates that cross frictional massage and deep tissue massage to the tendon, helps promote new blood vessel growth and speed healing.


At this point you should be past the initial 48 hours of ice treatment. Also, you should have been seen by a health care professional to properly assess your injury. After that point, we will discuss each level relative to your range of motion improvement. In other words the more movement without pain the better you are. Your Physician will usually grade your injury as severe, moderate or mild. Remember any NUMBNESS should be evaluated by a doctor immediately. Long term radiating pain or numbness (over six weeks) should be evaluated by a Neurologist prior to exercise. Never train with pain greater than 6 on a scale of 0-no pain to 10-worst pain possible.

Many doctors use several evaluating levels to rate your injury.
If your injury is rated as:

Severe: (As evaluated by a professional).
If this is your diagnosis discuss your use of:
Passive Range of Motion (PROM): Injured joint is moved through a painful range of motion by another person, usually a licensed Physical Therapist. PROM is done for three weeks. Do not lift on that joint for three weeks. You may even need to get manipulated under anesthesia. You can still do isometric exercises twice a day. Contract the muscle for 12 seconds at 60% of your maximum ability for 6 sets. Do 6 different positions in the range of movement.
Then re-evaluate, if your PROM is within 80% when compared to your uninjured side you can begin speed training, if not, you must complete two more weeks of PROM and isometrics until you meet that 80% range. Then move on to speed training.

Moderate: (As evaluated by a professional).
Passive Range of Motion (PROM) for two weeks. You can still do isometric exercises twice a day. Contract the muscle for 12 seconds at 60% of your maximum ability for 6 sets. Do 6 different positions in the range of movement.
Then re-evaluate, if your PROM is within 80% when compared to your uninjured side you can begin speed training, if not, you must complete two more weeks of PROM and isometrics until you meet that 80% range. Then move on to speed training.

Mild: (As evaluated by a professional).

PROM for one week: You should be within 80% of the unaffected side. You should continue to lift, but not if your pain is greater than 6 (scale 0-10) Once your range of motion has returned to normal compared to the opposite side, it is time to begin the speed program.

Keep in mind you are still healing so you need to continue stretching (after a workout is best since the area is warm). The stretch should be held steady for 15-20 seconds and repeated three times. Continued three times a week for the rest of your life. Yes, the rest of your life. When you injure the ligament and muscle, these areas heal with scar tissue. That scar tissue needs to be kept mobile. Over time, with inactivity, the scar tissue will form adhesions and loose what little blood supply it has. Flexibility is just like strength, it is easier to keep the flexibility than trying to regain range of motion. Manipulation or chiropractic adjustments provide maximum full range of motion in the spine and/or extremities, but are no substitute for the athlete doing self-stretching.

Always continue to train the opposite side even though you can't train the injured side. This actually helps you recover the injured side quicker. 4

Various forms of stretching are rather aggressive. Propreoceptive Neurofacilitation (PNF) is one of the best ways to overcome many chronic limited range of motion. This is a type of stretch where you contract the muscle very hard to cause it to fatique and then you use the antognistic reflex to allow the muscle to lengthen. Sound confusing? There are two references at the end of the article for text on stretching; get them, read them, do them. More than half of the chronic athletic injuries out there could be helped by simply having the person begin a prescriptive PNF stretching program.

Strength: (Rehabilitation) To begin only after a professional consultation and return to exercise has been approved by your physician. ROM should be 80% of the unaffected side or of normal range of motion.


Now, if you thought the previous part was tough, get up, pour a glass of filtered water with ice and get ready. With rehabilitation various parameters of the lift allows you to control the level of rehabilitation you are in. These parameters include:

1. Frequency: How often you lift.
2. Sets: A group of repetitions.
3. Repetitions: Lifting through a range of motions and return to the starting position.
4. Weight: Using less is better. Better to contract the muscles in the shoulder while performing the
5. Speed of movement: Speed of reps. Slower is better in the early phase.
Increased speed must be explosive as you progress.
6. Rest period: Time between sets. More rest between sets at the early phase, less at the end.
7. Amount of movement (Range of motion): Detailed later in this article
8. Intensity: How hard you try

The most common mistake that everybody makes is lifting too much weight too early and doing reps too fast. We will review the two most commonly misused parameters for rehabilitation with weights; speed and ROM. Follow the advice to the letter if you want to continue to improve your strength. If you don't follow the protocol, you will eventually plateau off in your strength prior to your maximum pre-injury strength. If you have already plateaued in lifting strength, start by dropping your weight in half and follow one of the following protocols to regain and improve your strength. Just a brief mention to you employers out there: (QUICK HINT) Have some type of light duty work available to your workers, it allows them to return to full duty quicker.

The first variable we will adapt is the ROM. When an injury occurs the body splints the area with muscle spasm to prevent further injury. This spasm restricts the range of motion. You must regain as much joint mobility as possible after an injury to prevent the onset of arthritis and/or athropy. Osteoarthritis (Os-tea-O-arth-ri-tis) is the most common form of arthritis. It is merely the body forming calcium growths to stabilize an unstable area. Arthritic changes can begin as early as one week after an injury. Unnecessary immobilization of the shoulder can arthritic changes as quickly as two days. 5

Most physical therapists recognize five phases of rehabilitation. Range of motion is closely coordinated with the progression of exercise.

Phase 1: Forming complete passive range of motion
Phase 2: Initiating movement, muscular contraction
Phase 3: Initiating movement with full active range of motion
Phase 4: Strengthening with full range of motion
Phase 5: Functional rehabilitation: The special action of retraining the athlete to their level of previous competition speed.

As range of motion improves, you will need to improve the joints speed of improvement without pain. As movement begins with weight we usually follow these steps:

Phase 1-3 Slow - partial movement (isometric)
Avoid training painful areas with weight. Begin by contracting the muscle (isometrically) for six seconds at 60% (a little more than half of what you can do before you feel pain begin). Repeat for 6 sets resting one minute between sets. Train around the painful area of movement. By training around the areas of pain this allows you to actually effect the injured area since there is a physiologic overlap of about 15 degrees beyond the ROM, to each side of the area you training. 6 Once you have obtained 80% of your AROM most physicians will instruct you to proceed to the next phase.

Phase 4 Slow - complete movement (isotonic)
Fast - partial movement (isokinetic)
Slow movement with weight, full range of motion. Then shorter movements with quick contractions in the middle of the ROM.
See illustration (a picture here of a curl with the whole ROM in blue, like a sweep, with a middle range of motion in red would-demonstraighting movement in the center about 60 degrees, would be easiest to understand)

Phase 5 Fast - complete movement (isokinetic)
Special machines called Orthotrons (Orth-o-trons) are designed to allow you to exercise over a particular range of motion at a particular speed. This is where the value of a well equipped rehab facility and a well trained physical therapist is judged. You aren’t likely to find machines like this in a gym, they are very expensive.

Slow movement (six seconds concentric-up, six seconds eccentric-down).
mid-Fast movement (two seconds concentric, two seconds eccentric).
Fast movement (less than one second concentric, less than one second eccentric).

~~Wondering if the slow movement (Constant motion-NO SHOCK) really works, Joe Montana returned to the football field very quickly when it was used on his lower back injury. ~~

Eventually you want to move explosively fast, slowly increase your speed as well. This helps coordinate the muscles to work together at faster speeds which resembles true athletic activity and causes the muscles to grow in a way that strengthens there connective tissue. Realistically, you should train like this at least once a month for the rest of your life to work on only explosive (plyometric) movements. For example if you typically bench 315 then you should try doing 135 for 8 sets of 8 reps with only 30 seconds between sets. Moving the bench press so fast that you are doing about two reps per second. This plyometric training thickens the ligaments and tendons. It is necessary to do this to improve the strength of the area. You can also judge it by doing a push up and trying to clap your hands after you have pushed yourself off the ground. As you improve you can try to clap your hands twice before lowering back to the ground. I have never seen a shoulder problem exist after an athlete can clap twice on a push up for 25 reps.

Training with rubber straps will allow for constant tension during high speed training. You must have some experience using them and one of the best groups around to explain this is Westside Barbell and Elete Fitness Systems. Look you can either buy the straps for less than a hundred bucks or buy an Orthotron machine starting around $200,000.
Contact them at http://www.elitefitnesssystems.com/

Lastly, the importance of training for speed is involved with the speed of the shoulder. You need to coordinate your muscles to work at higher speeds. Explosiveness is more important than strength in any sport. Ever try to stop a tiny “speeding” bullet?

Putting together your functional rehabilitation program

Weight, Sets and Reps: Get out the calculator and the pencil cause here comes the math. Start with how often you should train an injured joint? In a study done by Matthews in 1957 and redone in 1981, research found that if you rehabilitate 5 days a week is more beneficial than only training 4 or 3 days a week. Both studies only used a five day work week not a six or seven day program (couldn’t get the researchers to work weekends). Since Dr. Don Matthews was a professor and friend of mine, I feel that I can extrapolate off this study and suggest that you work the injured area 7 days a week until you reach phase 5, then reduce to 3 then 2 days a week. You can train more frequent due to the reduced intensity of rehabilitation and your body will recover much faster than doing high intensity body- building.

More technical stuff

Zinovieff, DeLorme-Watkin and McQueen are just a few of the techniques that explain how many Sets, Reps and the amount of weight you should use. They all base their principles on the progressive resistive theory. In general, most recommend ten repetition maximum. As far as how much weight to use? Enough to just get ten reps! Real tough, Huh? Some of the best results increase the number of sets you perform as your shoulder strengthens. In other words, you start with doing 3 sets, once you are able to perform 11 reps on your last set, simply add a set until you are doing 5 sets. When you can perform 11 reps on your last set, then add 1 to 1.5 pounds and drop your sets back to 3. This allows you to work on strength first and then develop speed and endurance. One of the important factors in healing an injury is to promote increased circulation in the scar tissue. Remember, if you are board with your rehab program, you are probably right on track. You should always leave and feel that you could do more.

Here is an example of how a program should progress:

Exercises: Dips, cable cross-overs, reverse bench press and Pullovers.

Day 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Weight (#'s) 10 10 10 10 11 11 11
Sets 3 4 4 5 3 3 4
Reps 10-10-11 10-10-10-8 10-10-10-10 10-10-10-10-11 10-10-8 10-10-10 10-10-10-10
Speed slow slow slow slow faster fast fast

Floor Presses are done by lying on the floor with your legs straight, lowering the weight and resting/relaxing on the elbows for a second then pushing the weight up. Similar to box squats. It is sort of a plyometric training that allows for increased coordination of the muscles and increased fiber recruitment. This exercise can be modified by returning to the bench and placing various thickness of boards on your chest and resting the weight on the board, then quickly pressing the weight off. This technique is commonly used by the members of Lou Simmons's West Side Barbell (Where most world record holders train), who also constantly vary their grip. Simply find your weak point in the movement of the bench press or military press and work on the plyometric program from there. This is also sometimes referred to as pin presses however the use of a cage and pins is not as realistic as the free form bench press movement. Remember that this is a quick movement and requires you to be in the Phase 5 level of rehab. You must lower the weight slowly to the floor and then explode the weight to the top. This is great for a majority of injuries such as the Torn Pec, separated A-C, rotator cuff tear, etc.

Use bands to train

Pullovers- (Straight Arm) exercise works the coricobachialis, which is responsible for a majority of the stabilization of the A-C joint.

Bicep Curls- should be modified to bring the bar to your forehead at the end of the movement. The bicep helps stabilize the A-C joint better when the arc of the movement ends with the bar at your eyebrows.

Rotator Cuff Roll - see prior description in this article.

Reverse grip Bench press-Like it says your grip is backwards, this forces you to keep your elbows in to your sides and lower the bar to your stomach, (hint, this movement will help you overcome bad bench techniques which halt your progress) varied width is also used on this movement.

Dumbbell Fly/Press- which ever hurts the most.
Once your strength is approximately 80% of your preinjury strength it is time to increase your speed of movement (phase 4).

Partial movements/Lock-outs Bench press- by simply holding more weight than you normally bench as a PR, you build psychological confidence and you will stabilize the golgi-tendon organs (little switches located in your tendons that tell your brain that the weight is to heavy and cause your muscle to let go). It is very important to overload after an injury since the golgi-tendon organ is very hypersensitive to weight.

That's it No tricks, No gimmicks, just hard work and lots of it. Each program requires some modification so check with your physician if you note any of the following:
•Pain in the chest (clutching-type pain)
•Radiating pain in the arms, wrist or hands.
•Any numbness
•If your strength doesn't increase 14% in 4 weeks

Continue utilizing the suggested exercises until you die or the take the evening news off the air, which ever comes first. You may be avoiding Bench day or hate shoulder day since the strength is gone or the pain is too much. Try the above stated program in its entirety; you have a lot to lose if you don't. Many of the principles explained will apply to the rehabilitation of all the joints after injury. I recommend that you discuss you progress with your physician to best accommodate your exercise program.

Working out with less pain
Several other medical approaches may assist with a more painless workout.
Arthroscopic surgery-is a simple technique of cleaning off the rough edges on the tissues to allow them to work with less friction. Recovery is quick and usually uncomplicated.
Acupuncture – needles!!!! Calm down, it is painless, this technique uses the stimulation of some nerves to calm others down, this is a retraining treatment and requires several visits to work; however, you should see some improvement within a few visits. A word of caution, states vary in their requirements for license. Some of the best training is with Doctors of Oriental Medicine (DOM) and MD or DO and DC’s. Several Medical schools are beginning to teach this technique. Remember the Chinese have used this as a main form of medicine for over 11,000 years.
Supplements-Most effective from the literature and my personal experience are products with Glucosamine Sulfate and Chondrotin Sulfate and MSM (Organic Sulfur). Now please note you shouldn’t take herbs with medications unless you check with your pharmacists. Not your doctor-your pharmacist. Also note that taking NSAID’s (Advil, Motrin, Ibuprophin-containing drugs) will lower your Sulfur content and cause more scar tissue to form and also lower the effectiveness of the aforementioned chemicals. Note also that the Center for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA. Indicated that in 1998, that 16,500 deaths were associated with the use of NSAID’s. Bextra is a newer NSAID that is out, which is 4000 times more selective, meaning that it leaves your heart and stomach alone.

Dr. David Ryan, practices in Columbus, Ohio at the Columbus Chiropractic Centers and was a team physician for three of the capital cities' pro teams. Medical Director, Arnold Classic and Fitness Expo, the 1994/1995 WPC World Powerlifting Championships. Ring side Physician USA BOXING. Former assistant Strength Coach, Ohio State University. In 1994 the Arthritis Foundation honored him with a national award. He also works with professional football, basketball, rodeo and various professional and Olympic athletes. Send questions in a self addressed/stamped envelope to 5870 Cleveland Ave. Columbus, Ohio 43231

Dr. Richard Fisher (Orthopedic Surgeon) practices in Columbus, Ohio (again, thank god) he is the orthopedic director of the Arnold Classic/Expo.


1. Gray, H., Goss, C.M. (Ed.): GRAY'S ANATOMY, PHILADELPHIA,
PENNSYLVANIA: Lea & Frebiger, 1976.
3. Hellerbandt, F.A., et al: Influence of Bilateral Exercise on
Unilateral Work Capacity. Journal of Applied Physiology, 2:
446-452, 1950.
4. Moore, J.: Excitation Overflow; An Electomyographic Investigation
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 56:115-
5. Videman, T.: Experimental Models of Osteorthritis: Role of
Immobilization. Clinical Biomechanics, 2: 223-229, 1987
6. Davies, G.J.: Compendium of Isokinetics, S & S Publishers, 1984.

Suggested Reading

Voss. D., et al: Proprioceptive Neurofacilitation: Patterns &
Techniques. PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA: Harper & Rowe, 1985.


Tendon-The tissue the connects the muscle to the bone.
Rehabilitation-Scientifically designed exercise program for injuries or illnesses.
Arthritis-Deterioration of cartilage and general wear on the joint surfaces, due to a ligament's instability.
Atrophy-Shrinking of tissues like muscles.
Range of motion-The distance that a joint allows the bones to move in.
PNF- Proprioceptive Neurofacilitation, a complex stretching technique (read the book).


Last edited by EricT; 08-07-2006 at 02:08 PM.
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