Many patients ask us what exercises they should perform when they are ready to return back to previous lifting routines. The best balance is a few pushing and pulling exercises to target the main movers and shakers of your upper quadrant (in addition to your corrective exericise program provided by your physical therapist).
Here are a few exercises that you should eliminate from your routine immediately (your shoulders will thank us in the future!).
1. Standing Overhead Cable Curls (Crucifix Curls)
I see many people performing this exercise at the cable curl machine. This exercise takes the cake as the worst exercise you can perform for your shoulders.
By adding stress to your elbows in the start and end position, you are creating significant tension to your labrum through the pull of your bicep. Your labrum is connective tissue that acts as a vacuum seal for your shoulder joint- if you tear or stretch this out, you will often complain of instability and dislocations/subluxations of your shoulder.
Avoid. Avoid. Avoid.
2. Standing Upright Row
This is a staple for many bodybuilders and fitness conscious individuals. This exercise is performed with dumbbells, a barbell or kettlebell.
The main problem with this is exercise is the over excursion during the end of the exercise- by pulling your elbows up to your ears you are creating significant stress in the shoulder which can lead to rotator cuff dysfunction.
Try performing bent over rows (kneeling over a weight bench) which will target similar muscles and save your shoulder for the long haul
3. Behind the Neck Latissimus Pulldown
Latissimus pull downs are a solid exercise for the upper quadrant however many people perform the exercise inappropriately.
By lowering the bar behind your neck, you are creating increase sheer in the neck which may result in cervical disc pathology or muscle strains in your neck
The hand placement in the picture is ideal (overhand grip); just pull the bar down to the top of your chest and control back up- never behind the head