Restore Your Overhead Press
A friend once told me that her physical therapist believed overhead pressing would soon become a thing of the past. As if we would all just collectively agree it’s a bad idea for all of humans, soon we would ban the exercise and leave that ability in the archives of former human movement. These sorts of non sequitur and ill-informed ideas are pervasive in the science of movement.
To an extent, I get it: most of the population has so detrained proper movement, it’s easier to give up than to correct it. But, come on. Are we going to tell kids to stop raising their hands in class because they might hurt their shoulders? Handstand. Shot put. Olympic lifting. Just ban it all?
Obviously, we need to take a look at opening up the axilla, not closing it more. Adhesive capsulitis and basically all shoulder issues are resultant from excessively closing the armpit, not exploring the overhead position. This truth should be evident to people. In orthopedic injuries, joint degeneration, and general pain syndromes, for some odd reason people have difficulty connecting their irritation to the FACT that they UNDERUSED the structure. Take any structure for an example. People with hip pain don't have a history of too many squats. But, they reason, nonsensically, they better continue avoiding squats. People with back pain don't have a history of doing too much back strengthening. But, they reason, nonsensically, they better avoid strengthening the back. People with knee pain don't have a history of too much leg strengthening. But, they reason, nonsensically, they better avoid putting any duress on the knee, though that avoidance is precisely what caused the problem to begin with.
MOST people with shoulder pain have not trained the shoulders hard. They aren't disproportionately gymnasts, manual laborers, competitive rowers, rock climbers or boxers. They are people who sat at a desk and didn't do jack for years. The obvious implication should be DO SOMETHING. Instead, since they feel irritation when they introduce this wholly new phenomenon of USING the shoulder, they take that to mean, "I better stop using the shoulder." No. Your problem IS from not using the shoulder. It won't be remedied by avoiding using the shoulder. You got here by avoiding using the shoulder.
I took a long hiatus from behind the neck press because I had unimaginable pain in the neck and shoulder. But slowly I could come back to a moderate weight. One should be able to manage skeletal range. Don’t jump to it if you’re stuck in forward and closed postures. But for goodness sakes, endeavor to IMPROVE.
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