When Shoulders Fail

The neck and shoulders can be a source of pain from time to time. Lifting weights may help with this issue, but sometimes the lifting is what has caused the pain. That’s why a very important part of any exercise routine should be recovery. Icing the sore area 3-4 times a day for 15-20 minutes is a great way to find relief. Not working the muscle is another. Those of you in the habit of exercising might find it hard to step away from a muscle group, but it can be done. So, what to do about your exercise routine?

There are always legs, abdominal and cardiovascular exercise!

My recommendation is to rotate your workouts. Let’s say you workout 3 times a week.  Here’s what a good workout program might look like:

Day 1   After you’re warmed up select 3-4 of each of the leg exercises listed below and do 3-6 sets for 10-20 reps. The number of sets and reps depends on what you want for your body. If you want to build size you do more sets with fewer reps and a weight that challenges your muscles. If you’re trying to tone and shape then you should do 15-20 reps for 3-4 sets.  Keep the weight moderate.

  • Warm Up with a brisk 10 minutes of treadmill or elliptical.
  • Leg Press — do your first set with a lighter weight to warm your legs up.
  • Leg Extensions
  • Leg Curls
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Calves
  • Cool Down and then stretch.

Day 2 ABS

The exercises I recommend come from Dr. Stuart M. McGill. McGill is a professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo (Waterloo, ON, Canada). He is the “go to” man for abdominal exercises. When I was introduced to the work of Dr. McGill I was taking a continuing education course on back health. I was shocked to realize I’d been teaching people a technique which was actually destabilizing their spines.

Since then I’ve had better results with the exercises he recommends. Follow the link from an article in the New York Times to see the exercises I feel are best for you. Try to do three rounds of each of these exercises. Build the repetitions carefully. Don’t try to do too much too fast. I caution you about trying the Stir-the-Pot before you’re ready. It is difficult. Start with a plank on the stability ball and build up to the actual exercise.

Day 3  Smart Cardio! This is otherwise known as interval training. This technique will be good for your heart and help keep you from being bored. Alternate high and low intensity in your walking or running.

  • Warm up for 10 minutes at 3.4 mph
  • Increase the setting to 4.0 for a minute
  • Increase to 4.5 for another minute
  • Decrease to 3.5 for 30 seconds
  • Push it back up to 4.5 for another minute or two.

You get the idea. There are programs on most cardio equipment which do this for you, but I like to create my own. Either way — push the envelope.

It’s this simple. Eat well, rest and if you don’t feel better in 2-6 weeks then you’ll need to see your doctor.

Be Well!

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