Physio: Heavy lifting, or a rush to get active in spring can hurt

Our bodies are designed to adapt and evolve based on the demand we put on them.

Heavy lifting in the gym causing your shoulder to ache?

Living an active lifestyle for many of us means countless hours working on our fitness in the gym.

Many of us recognize that the exercises we complete in the gym are translated into success when we are able to run five minutes longer, bike or elliptical with more resistance or lift heavier weights. Our bodies are designed to adapt and evolve based on the demand we put on them.

However, what happens when your body is not quite ready to lift the heavy weight you are mentally prepared for?

To put it simply, if the load is too great and the exercise is still completed, there is a high possibility that your body had to make compensations which may lead to injury and or pain.

To break this down further, the majority of joints in our body are paired with two muscle groups; those that help stabilize the joint and those that move the joint. When there is an injury and the fault lies in the muscles that move us, it may be easier to recognize that perhaps the problem is a muscle strain.

We identify what the problem is, ice the area, rest it and then slowly begin to pick up our activity level to get back to where we were in our work outs.

However, it is the stabilizers that are more silent in their injuries and leave many of us guessing as to why our shoulders may ache but there is no obvious injury to the shoulder muscles or surrounding joint structures.

Think of the stabilizers as the base and foundation to a building. If the foundation is weak and this goes unnoticed and you begin to build, the foundation breaks down and prevents further building.

Now think about this in relation to your shoulder. If your stabilizer muscles are weak and you are having difficulty nailing down the origin of the pain but continue to lift heavy weights, more than likely, the instability produces pain. This pain or discomfort may prevent you from completing the desired lifting you have worked so hard to build up to.

That being said, it is important to have a better understanding as to why your shoulder may be aching but more importantly to know that there is a way to target and build up strength in the stabilizer muscles of the shoulder.

Once the stabilizers are back to full strength and the muscle balance between stabilizers and movers is restored you may get back to the heavy lifting you’ve worked so hard to achieve.