Push-ups, pull-ups, and the shoulders.

Craig Sheppard

Hall of Fame
For the fitness experts out there, do you think doing various kinds of push-ups and pull-ups provide enough work for the shoulder joints to help reduce shoulder injuries in tennis? I am wondering if by doing exercises of this type, am I missing anything that other exercises would provide for protection from rotator cuff injuries, etc?
 

Rickson

G.O.A.T.
For the fitness experts out there, do you think doing various kinds of push-ups and pull-ups provide enough work for the shoulder joints to help reduce shoulder injuries in tennis? I am wondering if by doing exercises of this type, am I missing anything that other exercises would provide for protection from rotator cuff injuries, etc?
Pushups would work the anterior head of the deltoids and pullups would work the posterior, but you'd be neglecting the middle. To work the medial head, try some seated dumbbell vertical presses, but if you feel any kind of pinching, stop immediately. I recommend dumbbells over the barbell because with your hands in a fixed position, you're likely to cause shoulder impingement, but unfortunately, dumbbells pressed overhead aren't a sure bet in the shoulder safety department either. Try a weight that feels comfortable with the dumbbells, but always keep in mind that the shoulders are a very injury prone bodypart.
 
Those exercises involve the shoulder joint but are more likely to impinge the joint rather than strengthen it. That's not to say they're not great exercises, but if you want to strengthen the shoulder joint for tennis you need to do inward and outward rotation exercises with a rubber tubing.

That said, I'm not a fitness expert, but have nothing better to do.
 

Rickson

G.O.A.T.
Those exercises involve the shoulder joint but are more likely to impinge the joint rather than strengthen it. That's not to say they're not great exercises, but if you want to strengthen the shoulder joint for tennis you need to do inward and outward rotation exercises with a rubber tubing.

That said, I'm not a fitness expert, but have nothing better to do.
You're reminding me of something. Brian, try some dips too. Dips work much of the upper body including the chest, triceps, and deltoids.
 

Ano

Hall of Fame
For the fitness experts out there, do you think doing various kinds of push-ups and pull-ups provide enough work for the shoulder joints to help reduce shoulder injuries in tennis? I am wondering if by doing exercises of this type, am I missing anything that other exercises would provide for protection from rotator cuff injuries, etc?
No.

You need to strengthen your rotator cuff by doing external rotation exercises. Keep in mind, hitting a serve involve the internal rotator.

Performing external rotation exercises is important as an injury prevention mechanism.

The rotator cuff is of paramount importance in injury prevention. Internal rotator dominance is extremely common among bodybuilders, powerlifters, and athletes for whom the pecs and lats are prime movers. These imbalances are also omnipresent in swimming, baseball, volleyball, and tennis due to the high volume of overhead motions (1,2).

You play tennis and swim, Craig.

Strengthening the rotator cuff and the resulting improvements in glenohumeral stability significantly decreases the occurrences of humeral head subluxations, dislocations, and nagging overuse shoulder injuries.

References :

1. Anderson, M.K., Hall, S.J., & Martin, M. Sports Injury Management: 2nd Edition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2000.
2. R.T., & Thompson, C.W. Manual of Structural Kinesiology. McGraw Hill, 2001.
 
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Ano

Hall of Fame
You also need to do Serratus Anterior Activation Work.

The serratus anterior is a small muscle, but it's of profound importance when it comes to scapulohumeral rhythm and, in turn, shoulder health.

Essentially, this muscle locks the scapula to the rib cage to prevent the scapula from winging out.

It assists the pectoralis minor with protraction, but most importantly, it's involved in a delicately-balanced force coupled with the upper and lower trapezius for scapular upward rotation, a movement in which you need to be perfect to function safely with overhead movements.

Unfortunately, the serratus anterior will always be the first muscle to "shut down" in the face of any sort of scapulohumeral dysfunction, and activating it is a crucial component of all rehabilitation programs for the shoulder girdle.

I could literally write a long article on all the different pathologies in which serratus anterior dysfunction is involved in some way. So, why not take care of it ahead of time? One great exercise is the scap push-up. (at the top of push up position when your arms are straigth and elbows locked, try to move your upper body a few inches by pushing your shoulder blades toward the floor).

Stick with high reps on these; a few sets of 15-20 a few times per week will do wonders for you without interfering with the rest of your training.

EDIT : I apologize for being too technical. I have problem explaining in laymen's terms. Please understand, English is not my primary languange.
 
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Ano

Hall of Fame
one more thing, if you do dumbell lateral raises and dumbell overhead presses, use the scapular plane (the position of the upper arms are in the same plane as the scapulae).

If you do the exercise directly out to the sides, your arms are in the frontal plane, and the humerus is actually extended, placing the humeral head anterior to the acromion process of the scapula.

This position greatly increases the likelihood of the humeral head pinching the tendons of your rotator cuff underneath the acromion process as you raise your arms.

A simple solution is to just move your arms forward about 30° so that it's in the scapular plane.

And use neutral grip when performing dumbell overhead press and / or dumbell bench press. (palms facing each other).
 
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waves2ya

Rookie
Pull ups are a great way to appreciate the attachments from shoulder, upper back to abs/pelvic girdle (pull up thru the chest)...

Here's a twist (we've a lot of grip/wrist posts in this forum, too); drape a towel over your pull up bar and execute pull up using towel; cheap way to fake a rope climb. Nicely difficult on the hands...
 
I really hate lateral raises. In order to do it safely, you have to have your pinkies out and on top, and with this safer style I find I'm at least 35% weaker, meaning I'm putting less weight against the muscle. I like upright rows best for the medial deltoid.

But obviously the OP needs to do rotator work if he's looking to strengthen the joint rather than the muscle.
 

Craig Sheppard

Hall of Fame
Wow. Thanks a lot guys. Bottom line is it sounds like you do need different exercises than those I mentioned. Ano, no prob w/ the technicalities...didn't get all of it but it's still useful. I'll try to mix in more rotational type exercises and some lateral raises.
 

Ano

Hall of Fame
I really hate lateral raises. In order to do it safely, you have to have your pinkies out and on top, and with this safer style I find I'm at least 35% weaker, meaning I'm putting less weight against the muscle. I like upright rows best for the medial deltoid.

But obviously the OP needs to do rotator work if he's looking to strengthen the joint rather than the muscle.
Be careful, mate.

I don't like barbell upright row. This is as internally rotated as the humerus will get, and you're elevating the humerus right into the impingement zone on every rep.

The dumbbell version is a slightly safer alternative, although I feel that there are still much safer ways to challenge the upper traps and deltoids.

You may be someone who has seen fantastic results with upright rows, but personally, I don’t write them into any of my programs. If I want to overload the delts, I can do so via more effective means ( overhead pressing with dumbells, rows, pull-ups and lateral raises).

If I want to overload the upper traps, I’ll stick with deadlifts and shrugs; all allow for greater loading and a more systemic effect.


To summarize, if you've ever had a shoulder problem, suspect that you might have one now, or have other predisposing characteristics (i.e. poor posture, lots of overhead work in your daily life) that might increase your risk of impingement, you'd be wise to omit upright rows altogether.

Oh, one more thing, "medial deltoids" don't even exist.

The term "medial" is a directional term that means "toward the midline" of, in this case, the body.

From the anatomical position - standing, arms at sides, palms supinated (facing forward), the head of the deltoid that is sandwiched between the anterior and posterior deltoid fibers is actually the farthest away from the midline of the body of all of the heads of the deltoid.

If anything, it should be called the lateral head! As such, these fibers are referred to as the "middle deltoid," a term that correctly identifies their position between the anterior and posterior deltoid.
 
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Chauvalito

Hall of Fame
Can anyone can provide link to the exercises you are discussing...otherwise I have no idea what to do, or what you are talking about.

I get vague pain in my shoulder every once in awhile and really need to strengthen it up as well.
 

Ano

Hall of Fame
Can anyone can provide link to the exercises you are discussing...otherwise I have no idea what to do, or what you are talking about.

I get vague pain in my shoulder every once in awhile and really need to strengthen it up as well.
external rotaion is the exercise at the lowest page of this link:
http://www.exrx.net/Articulations/Shoulder.html#anchor110483

As for scap pushups, I think the description at post number 6 should be clear enough.
 
Be careful, mate.

I don't like barbell upright row. This is as internally rotated as the humerus will get, and you're elevating the humerus right into the impingement zone on every rep.

The dumbbell version is a slightly safer alternative, although I feel that there are still much safer ways to challenge the upper traps and deltoids.

You may be someone who has seen fantastic results with upright rows, but personally, I don’t write them into any of my programs. If I want to overload the delts, I can do so via more effective means ( overhead pressing with dumbells, rows, pull-ups and lateral raises).

If I want to overload the upper traps, I’ll stick with deadlifts and shrugs; all allow for greater loading and a more systemic effect.
Interesting. I can see the possibility of impingement with uprights. I find there are basically two ways to work the middle deltoid: uprights and lateral raises. I just find myself to be so weak when doing lateral raises with my palms back and pinkies out. Generally, I just do dumbbell presses (or the "Arnold press" variation as they're called) and work my rear delt in isolation on the fly machine (in reverse).

I never work the traps directly. They get enough work with rows and I find really big traps to be unattractive.
 

WBF

Hall of Fame
Sorry to raise this thread from the dead, but I have a quick question:

If one were interested in building up endurance (as in: not being sore after working them) for the deltoids, what specific exercises would you concentrate on? If serving is the main thing that causes this soreness (with forehands being impacted, but not a cause), would you recommend going at it every day (serving), or would weights be better?
 
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