Anterior Shoulder Pain Part 4: Shoulder Limitations

Now that we know we have a pectoral strain( see Anterior Shoulder Pain?? ), how do we treat a pectoral strain?  Before we get into fixing this strain it would be nice to know what factors lead to hurting it? What issues created the opportunity for injury? Having to do CrossFit has made me realize weaknesses in my own workout program that I wouldn’t have normally noticed with an average gym workout.  Here are some limitations that opened the door for a pectoral injury.

Lack of internal rotation– The pectorals are an internal rotator of the shoulder.  With limited IR comes an inability for the pectorals to pull through this range and possible compensation from the shoulder. My shoulder injury occurred on the right side. Here are the two sides next to each other with me trying really hard to keep my scapulae pulled in.

Lack of shoulder extension –  This may be the biggest problem.  The lack of extension sheds light that my pulling motion could be weak when it comes to trying any type of pull. The Latissimus Dorsi which helps with a pulling motion is the main area of weakness with this motion. However, another muscle that helps pull is the pectoral group of muscles. Again here is the Left vs. the Right. Both seem weak but would say R is more limited.

Poor pectoral development on the R side– Since there is a lack of IR and extension which the pectorals produce it is easy to see that my pectorals probably do not function as well on the R side. Would love to show you my amazing development in my pecs but I will spare you this and let you take my word for it. The pectoral development on the right is far less developed.

Poor overall strength for pulling motion– Also since I have not done a lot of pulling motions over my life time it is easy to see that pulling could overall be weak. Moreover, there may not be a good baseline of strict strength for trying some of the activities in CrossFit that one might encounter.  I believe before implementing plyometric type of pull up, it is important that there is enough foundation of strength. Making sure you can do enough strict exercises before moving to high speed movement during that exercise could be a good option. If you can’t do a strict muscle up I believe it is good to doubt how well you do a kipping pull up.

Looking at these factors it’s easy to see a perfect storm coming for my right shoulder. See my past post for my info on pectoral strains.

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