There are many ways to tackle an injury, and the best way usually involves a combination of many different things. Recently, while dealing with a small shoulder injury, I noticed something a little different. I had been following all the proper techniques–icing, using a lacrosse ball, stretching, etc, but my left shoulder remained a little tweaked and it seemed to be the most painful in the morning. I realized that I was greatly aggravating it nightly by sleeping on my left side. Armed with that knowledge, I looked at a lot of other movements that I do daily to see if any were mimicking the sleeping-on-my-left-side position. Sure enough, a bunch of movements were very similar, some of them barbell and other exercises, and some just movements that happen throughout the day.
For example, if you were about to jerk a barbell, common lifting technique would have you extending your shoulders forward in order to create a solid shelf from which to launch the bar overhead. However, in my case, it was that forward extension that was killing my shoulder–forcing my shoulder into the same position it assumes when I sleep on my left side and my weight mashes the shoulder forward and inward. I realized that my shoulder extends forward in all sorts of movements and positions. In the gym–jerking and rowing, in the dojo–punching or jabbing. Outside the gym–typing or using a computer, or biking with Mowgli (I hold the leash with my left hand and he pulls the arm forward). Some of the times the forward extension of the shoulder is good–it creates a solid platform when jerking, it helps protect the jaw when punching. Other times, the forward extension of the shoulder is not good–for example when rowing or typing, as it rounds the back among other things.
Sometimes the most innocuous movements are very bad for us, sitting and bending forward with elbows on knees for example. It is easy to focus on proper movement form in the gym and during a workout, but the same kind of awareness is much more difficult to maintain outside the gym. I have seen people who can deadlift four plates with impeccable form look like a flailing train wreck starting a lawn mower. This shoulder injury–a tweak really, but still uncomfortable and not fun–and the realization that I seem to be hurting it the most outside of training, has brought to light that I am guilty of losing good body mechanics in my everyday life. And one of the prime tenets of CrossFit is that it should improve your everyday life.
Take a look at your everyday movement and see if there are regular movements you can do better, more efficiently and safer.
Please post thoughts to Comments.
8 Heavy Singles
Rope Climb 1-1-1-1-1
Squat Snatch 10-8-6-4-2
Double Under 25-25-25-25-25