As a personal trainer, my job is to give my clients the very best workout sessions tailored to help them meet their goals. Each workout is different because every person’s goal is different. There are, however, some aspects of training that remain the same with each person: safety, education, and balance.
By balance, I am talking about the client’s strength and flexibility. If the body becomes stronger on one side, there will be imbalance and a higher risk of injury. The same goes for flexibility.
Being that balance is on the top of my priority list, this confession is quite embarrassing to me, but here goes…
For a while now I have had trouble with my left shoulder. I had a gradual onset of pain but it was intermittent. It had gotten worse over time and continued to limit what exercises I could do. If it were a strain, sprain, or inflammation, enough time had already passed for it to be healed. Unfortunately it was still a problem.
This spring I had the opportunity to learn how to do Kettlebell exercises properly from RKC instructor, Raymond Harvey.
I hesitantly went to almost every session because of my shoulder pain. The last thing I needed to do was full on injure my shoulder. Every time I decided to show up and trust my trainer, however, I would notice after the workout that my shoulder seemed to be better. After session 2 my traps were super sore. This was from packing my shoulders – one of the form fundamentals in Kettlebell exercises.
I had my shoulder checked out by Kathy Larson, LMT, NCTMB of the Laser Therapy & Chiropractic Center. She found that my chest is stronger than my back and is VERY tight. This is causing my rotator cuff muscles to be constantly stretched and fatigued. She called them out: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis – all bad! My shoulder is getting the brunt of this imbalance much like knee pain that is caused by a stressed, tight IT band. Trying to make me feel better, Kathy told me that this is common with trainers. Ok, but still!
So here is my daily rehab routine:
1. I am focusing on stretching my pectoral muscles. Raymond, also Fascial Stretch Therapy Certified, has shown me how to stretch effectively.
2. I’m rolling my back with a tennis ball against the wall a couple times a day to break up the serious knots in my back.
3. I’m concentration on strengthening my trapezius muscles.
THE GOOD: With correct form, Kettlebell swings are great for strengthening my back!
THE BAD: The most painful thing I can do is a free standing squat with the bar on my back. The stretch of my rotators and the position the bar puts my shoulder in is P.A.I.N.F.U.L.
Because of what I’ve learned, I will wait until I have a little more flexibility in my chest before I enter the squat rack again.
It is very easy to neglect our own needs when coaching others, but I truly believe situations like this are great learning tools and will ultimately make me a better trainer. Stay strong and balanced!
Fitmark Ambassador 2013