The Joint Ventures' Blog

3 Exercises to Avoid to Prevent Shoulder Injuries

Friday, May 10, 2013

Now that Spring is upon us, and everyone starts coming out of hibernation, I want to offer my advice to those without exercise experience.  There are certain exercises I highly recommend you do not perform.  I say this from my own personal experience and because I've seen many patients with injuries specifically related to poor exercise execution and gym routines.  It should be stated that there are probably people that have been doing these exercises for years and without issues, but that doesn't mean that these exercises are not RISKY!  All exercises have risks, just like all sports have risks.  Example: Football players take the risk of head injury and skiers take the risk of knee injury.  I recommend that if your goal is to lose weight and get into better shape, or to start working out, you need to reduce the risks of injury with your routine.  Here is a start.


1.) Upright Rows: With this exercise, you essentially grip the bar and lift it up toward your chin while keeping your elbows higher than your hands.  This places the shoulder is a poor position to work and essentially compresses the structures that pass under the acromion process.  If you have even slight discomfort with this exercise, it could lead to tendonitis and even a rotator cuff tear.

2.) Lat Pulldowns Behind the Neck: This exercise also places the shoulder in a poor mechanical position to work and forces your neck forward.  If a patient has a compromised cervical spine or has a history of shoulder discomfort, this exercise can make it worse.  Now I love the lat pulldown, but it must be performed in front of the head.  I love pull ups even more, so work your way up to them.


3.) Bench Dips:This exercise is easy to perform, and I even do some here and there.  But if you don't have shoulder strength and stability, this exercise will ruin you.  Don't be stubborn and think you have strength if you haven't been working out consistently for the past few months.

Overall, these exercises are risky and damaging to the shoulder.  Since there are better ways to strengthen your shoulders, these exercises should be avoided.  Now, time to fix your workout!  If you have questions about these exercises, or what other exercises are better choices for a healthy shoulder, please contact me at

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