In a systematic review of CrossFit injury occurrences and rates, shoulders proved to be the most common location of injury, followed by back and knee. This is because of 2 main reasons:
The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the human body. With this degree of mobility, we sacrifice stability. An unstable joint is left more vulnerable to injury than a stable joint. The other aspect to look at is the CrossFit movements we perform daily in the gym. Most of them involve the shoulder to some degree: kipping, pressing, weight-bearing during handstands, mobility in a front rack, etc. The different demands put on the shoulder with these movements requires stability while weight-bearing, hanging, in open chain (meaning in the open air such as a barbell press or KBS), in closed chain (meaning connected to a solid surface such as push-ups)and both at the end ranges and mid-range of motion. This requires a LOT of strength in a variety of positions.
For most of us, our typical day-to-day activities likely don’t demand this amount of strength and versatility from our shoulders. That means when we start doing them in the gym, we can overload our baseline strength too much too soon which can lead to pain. The best thing you can do for your shoulders is to BE PROACTIVE. Get on a rotator cuff and shoulder stabilization program BEFORE PAIN BECOMES AN ISSUE. Try adding these four exercises to your workout routine 3-4x/week to start bulletproofing your shoulders!
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