The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Overhead Lifting, Reaching, and Throwing - More Part I

Nice e-mails and requests came in after Part I last Monday about the overlooked training habit which slowly impinges and tears the rotator cuff. Here is one that covers the points from all received so far.

Reader Hanson writes:

"Thank you Dr. Bookspan for exactly the missing link. I had been attending months of expensive private yoga lessons at [well known studio name deleted] for my shoulder woes without much relief, and maybe have worsened my circumstances. I thought becoming worse with yoga was preferable to surgery that my orthopedic surgeon at [top California facility name deleted] said was required. The yoga directress said more months were necessary (for her wallet?) and I must learn to cool my mind (before I questioned why I wasn't getting better?). I sure didn't question when she wore that little outfit. She showed me yoga poses to "awaken" the area and other fuzzy yoga talk. Poses were raising arms overhead, leaning over with arms overhead, sitting with arms up, and so on. My shoulders burned, she said it was "awakenening." Now I discovered from you it was "impinging." No one said anything about a forward head when I raised arms. I did the same as the directress did. She had this bad posture too. She said do it slowly if it burns. So I burned up my shoulders slowly. Instead of paying the yoga directress for another private session of self-injury raising my arms with head forward I printed your blog and held it overhead to read it. I didn't lean myself back and didn't tilt my head forward. The shoulder is already better. I found all those yoga lessons never prepared me to stand up straight. They told me yoga gives you posture, but it didn't give me anything except a worse shoulder. The "awakening" came from your blog saying use this for life not just exercise. I can lift arms without pain now. I keep my head straight, not forward. Can you put more pictures up of what to look for and can you tell people about your blog?"
Left (pink), upper body leaning backward (explained in Part I). Tilting unevenly compresses the lower spine by increasing the inward curve under load, and fools some into thinking the arm is stretching fully.
Center, hunched (raised) shoulders and forward head. Hunching compresses the area. Keep shoulders down when raising arms. Don't raise arms and shoulder together.
Right (yellow), leaning upper body backward and forward head. Can you detect the forward head camouflaged by the upper body lean back?


Head forward when raising arm.
Shoulders rounded, further compressing the area when lifting the arm.


Head forward when raising arm, shoulders rounded. Also pictured - lower back rounded, tilting the hip (pelvis) too far under. Shifts weight to the lumbar discs (click The Cause of Disc and Back Pain).

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Photo 1 by djwhelan
Photo 2 by djwhelan
Photo 3 by Jugoretz
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About the Author


Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.