Some lifting exercises may place excessive stress on your shoulder ligaments, but you can get the maximum benefits from your muscle-toning program and sculpt that lean sexy body you have always wanted by focusing on those lifting exercises that don't hurt or place undue stress on your shoulder ligaments. To reduce risk of injury, always thoroughly warm up before your lifting exercises.
The bench press works your chest, anterior deltoids and triceps. When performing the exercise, your hand positioning plays a significant role in the stress on your shoulder ligaments. Avoid wide-grip bench presses and use a narrow grip, roughly shoulder-width or slightly wider, to limit the stress on your shoulder ligaments. Limiting your range of motion as you lower the barbell also reduces the stress on your shoulder ligaments. Stop when the bar is approximately three-inches from your chest, or when your elbows are in line with your body.
The seated dumbbell shoulder press works all three heads of your deltoids and helps you sculpt sexy rounded deltoids. The traditional technique has you perform the exercise with your elbows out to the sides and shoulders pulled back. To avoid stressing your shoulder ligaments, perform the dumbbell press with your upper arms and elbows angled forward, and perform partial repetitions by stopping when your upper arms are parallel to the floor on the downward motion. You may wish to isolate your anterior deltoids with front raises: hold a pair of dumbbells in front of your thighs with your arms hanging straight down. Alternately lift each dumbbell to shoulder-height before lowering.
Upper Back Exercises
The lat pulldown mainly works your upper back, with a secondary effect to your biceps. To avoid excessive stress on your shoulder ligaments, don't do wide-grip behind-the-head-lat pulldowns. Use a shoulder-width overhand grip and pull the bar down to the top of your chest. To engage your biceps more than your lats or upper back, use a narrow underhand grip and pull the bar down to your mid-sternum. Low pulley rows also work your upper and lower back with negligible stress on your shoulder ligaments.
It may sound unlikely, but barbell squats can place undue stress on your shoulder ligaments. When you grasp the bar to hold it secure across your shoulders, your elbows are positioned beyond your shoulder joints. This can cause pain and discomfort in your shoulder joints. But you can still use squats to tone your legs and butt. Eliminate any possible stress to your ligaments by holding a pair of dumbbells to the front of your chest
A number of lifting exercises place negligible stress on your shoulder ligaments. These include triceps kickbacks or triceps pushdowns, and barbell or dumbbell curls for your biceps.
- National Insititute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: Shoulder Problems
- American Chiropractic Association Rehab Council: Weight Lifting Modifications for Shoulder Tendonitis & Impingement Syndrome
- PRLOG Press Release Distribution: Pain-Free Shoulder Muscle Dumbbell Press Exercises Revealed by Top New Jersey Personal Trainer
- Washington.edu: Risks of Behind the Head Pulldowns
- Orthopod: Weightlifter's Shoulder
- Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images