Pull-ups are a great exercise for strengthening the shoulders and arms. They are essential to give overall upper body strength and improve posture and functional strength. However, this exercise has potential to cause damage to the shoulders resulting in pain. To reduce the chances of shoulder pain from pull ups the correct warm up regime should be completed before the pull-ups commence. Rotation of the shoulders both internally and externally should be performed. These can be done with light weight in 3 sets of 12. Once completed you can begin the pull-ups and you will have reduced the risk of injury.
How to do pull-ups properly For Avoiding Shoulder Pain for Pull ups
If done correctly pull-ups are a great exercise. Follow these instructions and you will get maximum benefit from performing them. Grip the bar with your palms facing toward you. start with fully extended arms. Next pull your chin up to the bar or just beyond. You may find this a strain at first. This uses you biceps and your back. You will swing forward so cross your feet, this evenly distributes your weight. If you need more help kick your feet. Then slowly lower yourself until your arms are fully extended.
The most common mistake when doing pull-ups is not placing your shoulders down and back. The correct way to ensure they are in this position is to take your shoulders blades back and tucked down. The feeling should be as though you are driving them to the floor. Keep them flexible not locked. If the shoulders are not correctly positioned damage resulting in shoulder pain from pull-ups. Is the inevitable result. If the pain is just soreness, then you are fine. If the pain goes beyond to tingling or a numb feeling you may have caused some damage.
Avoiding damage to the shoulders
After warming up stand under the bar with your arms raised. They should be your shoulder width apart. Pull-up slowly and remember to keep your back straight. This isolates your arm and shoulder muscles preventing damage. Take it easy as your pull-up. Then slowly pull-up not in quick or jerky movements. Maintain the lift and then slowly release back to the start position. Increase your repetitions over time dependent on our overall of fitness. You can assess how good your pull-ups are by the overall feeling in your body not just the shoulders.
What to do when you feel pain
if you feel any pain when actually performing your pull-ups stop immediately. The source of the pain must be investigated. There are many injuries which cause shoulder pain from pull-ups. It could be just a strained muscle or a more serious rotator cuff injury. Firstly, decide if it is a flare up of an old injury. This is often the case and previous advice will help you here. If it is an unknown injury you must seek professional advice as soon as possible.
Treatment of shoulder pain for pull ups
Muscle pain can be many things. Bruising or swelling when the muscle is in use. Use an ice pack at the time you feel the pain. Taking an anti inflammatory shoulder help. Give the muscle a rest form exercise. When the pain has ceased and the muscle feels comfortable you can begin to use it again. Be gentle at first and slowly bring it back to full work. Light compression at this time can assist the healing process.
More serious injuries must be treated by and expert. If a rotator cuff injury is diagnosed the tendons in the shoulder are likely to be injured. The less serious injury is where only one tendon is damages. This is often treated with a cortisone injection and rest. Then anti-inflammatory drugs can be taken to ease the pain.
Treatment and recovery
Specific exercises are often advised. These help strengthen the damaged tendon and prevent injury reoccurring.
If the rotator cuff is thought to be torn an MRI is usually needed. This shows details of the tear and the extent of the damage. Severe damage may need surgery to re-attach the tendon to the bone. This can be an arthroscopy or more traditional open surgery.
Simple thing like avoiding reaching up over your help whilst recovering will speed up the process. Recovery rates are good from this type of injury but care must be taken. The shoulder can weaken and become more prone to this type of injury.