Cutting

Bulletproof Your Knees and Shoulders

How did you get hurt?

I grabbed something in the backseat of my car and heard a crack in my shoulder.

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Not again!

Oddly enough, many of us are afraid of training because we believe we will hurt ourselves in the gym, However, we are more likely to get hurt when we least exempt it – usually because we respond to an unexpected stimulus, such as during a hockey pick-up game for men or while cooking in the kitchen.

If you're an avid fitness enthusiast, you've probably been taught to focus on perfect movements all the time. In life, however, we are pushed and in the end we injure one knee because we are in a vulnerable position where our joint was not prepared.

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In other words, it is important to strengthen not only your muscles but also your joints to prepare them for moments in life when something unexpected happens and you are in a less than ideal position.

Here are some simple remedial exercises to strengthen two of the most common joints we hurt: knees and shoulders,

The next time you grab something or hit the supermarket and strap your legs, your joints will be better equipped to withstand the blow.

Banded knee circles

Attach a strap to a post. Stand at the post and put the other end of the band right behind your knee. Take a few steps back until the band has a good tension. Bend your knee slightly with a flat foot and begin turning the knee in a circle, reaching as much room for maneuver as possible in each direction. Keep your hips steady and your foot flat on the ground to isolate the movement only to the knee.

Perform 5 slow turns in each direction, then rotate your body 45 degrees. To repeat. Then turn 45 degrees and repeat. And then again. At the end you have completed 10 knee circles (5 in each direction) facing each of the four walls.

Banded knee extensions

A common knee injury occurs when you accidentally overstretch your knee. These banded knee extensions protect you from these unexpected overstretches that can occur in sports and life.

The setup is similar to the banded knees except that you focus only on the extension of the end zone. The idea is to work against the band to fully extend your knee (do it carefully and do not do it when in pain). Keep your foot flat on the floor as you bend and stretch. Complete three sets of 10 on each leg.

Cuban press for shoulders

The Cuban press begins with a single pull of the arm. Try to keep your shoulder blades down here to avoid tipping your shoulder forward because the idea is to train your inner rotation in this part of the movement.

Turn your hand upwards from the top of the pull-up position until it is at a 90-degree angle to your elbow. Just push over your head as you would with a shoulder press. Keep your chest down and avoid stretching the spine.

Add 2 to 3 sets of ten at the beginning or end of your workout. You probably will not have to be heavier than a 5 pound plate.

Turkish sit-ups for shoulders

These are ideal for shoulder stability. Basically, it's just the beginning of a Turkish build-up: start with the weight that is pressed directly over you, like a floor press. Use your other arm to keep you upright while riding your foot (left foot when the weight is in the left hand, right foot when the weight is in the right hand). The movement ends up in a sit-up with your weight over your body and just above your center of gravity.

Add 2 to 3 sets of 8 at the beginning or end of your workout.

Shoulder extension stretch

With a pin behind you (touching your butt) and your hands in a supinated handle, move the dowel away from your back as far as possible until you feel a good stretch. This is about improving the active range of motion. Keep it slow and controlled. The wider the grip, the more range you can achieve. The more flexible you are, the closer you can limit your grip.

Add 2 to 3 sets of ten at the beginning or end of your workout.

Shoulder extension stretch

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