Pushing your joints past their capabilities is not good at any time of your life. Over 40, it’s a sure-fire way to do yourself some harm. Around six months ago, I noticed I was beginning to experience some pain every time I attempted a seated shoulder press or chest press. I rested the joint, but every time I went back to pressing, it flared up again.
THERE ARE ALTERNATIVES TO COMBAT PAIN WHILE PRESSING
KEEPING THE ELBOWS TUCKED IN
Fearing that I would do myself a rotator cuff injury from maintaining pressure on the joint, I cut shoulder presses out of my workouts. I cut down on exercises which restricted my joint movements, like machines and using barbells.
I focused more on exercises which keep the elbow tucked in, close to my body. In this position, the shoulder is much more stable and supported. Finally, I stopped doing exercise which had my elbows move past my body.
Cutting all of these movements out of my workout to protect my shoulder didn’t leave me with many exercises I could include in my workout. But I did find some. Here are some alternative exercises to loading up heavy chest or shoulder press which still deliver results.
NEUTRAL-GRIP DUMBBELL BENCH PRESS
The neutral grip variation of the chest press, keeps your elbows tucked into your body, taking a lot of the strain off the shoulder joint. It also isolates the upper chest and triceps muscles much better than a regular bench press.
Lie on your back, holding the dumbbells in each hand on your chest, with your palms facing each other. Pulling your shoulder blades together, push the dumbbells straight up, without twisting them. Once your arms are extended, pause, then return the dumbbells to your chest.
This press also uses the neutral grip and is easier on the shoulder joints. It also helps strengthen the rotator cuff and prevent future injuries.
Anchor one side of a bar to the floor. Standing, pick up the other side in one hand. Extend the elbow, pushing the weight up and fully extend your hips and knees to generate maximum force.
UNDERHAND CABLE CHEST PRESS
The underhand grip helps to alleviate the strain on the shoulder joints. Simply hold the handles below your chest in an underhand grip with your palms facing upwards and press the cable forwards to the height of your chin. Return to the starting position. That is one rep.
Doing a push-up with your hands flat puts a lot of pressure on the rotator cuff. By using parallette bars to change the position of your hands, you can do them without putting unnecessary pressure on the joint.
When doing these, make sure your grip is neutral, with your palms facing each other. Keep your elbows tight to your body to support the shoulder joint as much as possible. Explode up through the movement.