On September 12th at 11 am, JR Crossfit’s Coach Izzie will hold a Shoulder Prehab Seminar to help you learn about the important role of the rotator cuff in Crossfit. In this week’s blog post, she tells us why this is so important, and how shoulder prehab can help address strength, stability and mobility deficits.
By: Izzie Balcells
If you think about your shoulder, you won’t be able to name a more mobile joint in the body. Your shoulder allows you to reach forward, up and behind you, grasp and hold objects, and support your bodyweight in lying, seated or standing positions. There are many muscles that contribute to shoulder movement, but the most common site of shoulder injury in adults is the rotator cuff. Each year, 2 million people in the United States see a doctor to address a rotator cuff problem.1 Injuries can vary in terms of severity. Partial tears of the rotator cuff involve damage, but not complete destruction, of the tendon. Full tears occur when the tendon of a rotator cuff muscle(s) separates from the bone. These injuries are typically more traumatic in younger adults and due to degeneration in older adults.2
The rotator cuff is composed of what we like to call the SITS muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis). These muscles are responsible for stabilizing your shoulder joint by keeping your arm in its socket. If these muscles are weak or pulled by large forces we cannot support, they are more susceptible to injury. Mechanisms of injury include: poor body mechanics (such as posture), acute injury (jerky movements such as lifting too heavy of a weight, not controlling momentum in a kip swing), overload (constant stress on tendon) and wear and tear (age-related changes in the body’s joints and tendons). 1,2
When we talk specifically about our sport of Crossfit, we can breakdown the many movements that require the ability to support load overhead, such as snatches, jerks, pullups and handstands. These movements and positions require a significant amount of mobility, strength and stability from our rotator cuff to support these demands on the shoulder.
Prehab is a proactive approach to address strength, stability and mobility deficits to decrease the likelihood of injury and pain. It’s not the most fun, flashy and sexy stuff, but it’s foundational. A stronger foundation yields a larger peak
While these partial and full tears of the rotator require treatment and healing, we can decrease the likelihood of these injuries. By improving our body mechanics/posture, strengthening these muscles, and regularly incorporating shoulder mobility work, we can improve our shoulder health and decrease our risk of injury. The continuum goes: mobility, stability, skill. If you cheat the steps, you cheat your potential. Take the time to achieve the right positions and develop adequate motor control of your body. The result= less pain, increased longevity, higher quality of life.
Come check out our Shoulder Prehab Seminar September 12th 11 am-12 pm to learn more about how you can incorporate this in your training and life.
*Note: if you are injured, you must be cleared by a physician to participate. We will not be diagnosing injuries, but focusing on how to decrease our likelihood of developing them and build stronger shoulders to help you reach your fitness and health goals!
- Snyder, J., 2020. Evidence-Based Strength Training: Rotator Cuff. [online] John Snyder, DPT. Available at: <https://johnsnyderdpt.com/2013/04/17/evidence-based-strength-training-rotator-cuff/> [Accessed 2 September 2020].
- (Rotator Cuff Tears – OrthoInfo – AAOS, 2020)
- May T, Garmel GM. Rotator Cuff Injury. [Updated 2020 Jul 2]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547664/