Lifting heavier weights rehabilitated my shoulder and got me out of pain. Sounds crazy right? But it’s true.
Years of doing exercises incorrectly due to poor shoulder mobility started to give me some massive shoulder and neck pain. To the point where I thought I just wasn’t meant to be strong overhead or do certain overhead exercises. With the help of an amazing Physical Therapist and a great coach I learned how to properly engage my muscles mostly through using sandbags instead of traditional weights, build better movement patterns, and used HEAVY things to build strength, stability and control. My program involved a lot of sandbag overhead pressing in different holding patterns using different pathways to engage the different muscles of my rotator cuff. The handle positions on the bag and the shifting of the sand forced my shoulders to move in the way they are supposed to and forced stabilizer muscles to kick on and get stronger as a response to the moving and shifting sand. My workouts were hard, they were heavy, and they made me feel like a bad ass. After 5 months of training this way, I was able to press heavy kettlebells overhead without pain and pass my Level 2 Kettlebell Certification. And 6 years later, the girl that thought she wasn’t meant to go overhead is competing in a kettlebell competition where I will press two kettlebells overhead, non stop without dropping them, for 10 minutes straight.
Pain while lifting is often due to lack of proper mobility or a muscular imbalance causing you to over use the wrong muscle to execute a certain movement, an inefficient movement pattern, or a weakness in stabilizer muscles. Smart strength training will address the movement pattern by using the proper tool (which may be one new and different to you like sandbags were to me…how fun!), help build strength in the stabilizer muscles (muscles you may not think are related), and help you improve strength and stability so you move without pain and feel strongAF doing it.