Want to stop injuring your neck and shoulders while doing press-ups and pull-ups?

This may sound harsh but in many cases, one of the biggest causes of injury during these moves is a lack of upper body strength. Simply put, you may not be strong enough for what you are attempting to do.

So to avoid neck, shoulder and upper back issues, try building up your strength using a TRX weight suspension system. Most gyms now have them but you can also buy your own, fairly inexpensively and use it at home.

The TRX is a nylon adjustable strap ending in hand hoops that can be fixed to a wall or overhead beam or bar. If using at home, you can also attach it to a door frame (as per the manufacturer’s instructions).

Exercise 1: Incline press up on the TRX

Stand with your hands in the loops and then lean forward, putting some weight through your arms and keeping your shoulder blades back. Bend your elbows until your chest is in line with your hands. Push firmly through the handles until your elbows are straight again. Once your elbows are straight, press through your hands allowing your shoulder blades to slide apart, then pull them back together again and repeat.

The forward and backwards movement of the shoulder blades are very important, as this helps to create strength and control during transitions between movements.

Exercise 2: TRX rows

Our second exercise is exactly the same as the first but in reverse.

Hold on to the handles and this time lean backwards until your weight is supported by your arms and you are resting on your heels. Pull your shoulder blades backwards, then, keeping your body straight, pull yourself forward by bending your elbows until your chest is in line with your hands. Slowly lower yourself again, keeping your shoulder blades back. Once your arms are straight again, allow your shoulder blades to come forward. Then they pull them back together and start again.

Start with 3 sets of 10 reps progressing to 15. Once you are able to complete this number comfortably and with good control, make the exercise harder by lengthening the TRX to make the incline greater. The closer you are to the floor, with both moves, the harder the exercise.

If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact us at our Cambridge clinic. 

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