Exercises to help with holding arms above head

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DrStalker
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Exercises to help with holding arms above head

Postby DrStalker » Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:12 am UTC

What exercises/techniques would help with difficulties holding arms above my head for any extended period of time?

In everyday life this is only really an issue when changing a lightbulb - supporting even a very light weight really starts to kill my muscles after about a minute. Now that I have started doing some structured evercises I can feel the same effect after a few reps of shoulder presses, even with extremely light weights. I quickly reach the "Oh me yarm my muscles will explode if I don't stop!" feeling, but equivilent or higher loads with my arms at or below shoulder level do not have the same problem.



Is this likely to be something that will improve with general health (maybe circulation based?) or something I should try and focus on to push as much as possible?
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shocklocks
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Re: Exercises to help with holding arms above head

Postby shocklocks » Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:46 am UTC

It's probably just that fact that it's an unfamiliar position for your body to be in considering you don't generally lift things that high in day to day life. Chances are your postures playing a part, especially if your shoulders slouch forward. A proper weight lifting program will teach you to tighten your core up, lift your chest and pull your shoulders back. Doing chin ups or even just hanging from a bar with a conscious effort to pinch your shoulder blades would help posture issues as well.

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DrStalker
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Re: Exercises to help with holding arms above head

Postby DrStalker » Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:24 am UTC

shocklocks wrote:It's probably just that fact that it's an unfamiliar position for your body to be in considering you don't generally lift things that high in day to day life..


That makes a lot of sense, given I normally only lift arms above shoulder level to pick up/put down something. Hopefully this will work out with time and training, otherwise I'll take over the world and when the hero shows up to stop me he'll defeat me by leaping up to a high ledge I can't effectively hit because it is above my shoulders and then shooting my weak spot.

You need to plan for these things.
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Solt
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Re: Exercises to help with holding arms above head

Postby Solt » Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:36 am UTC

No, it's the fact that your shoulders (and upper back, probably) are weak as shit. Apparently you don't use them much in daily life which isn't too surprising. Most people don't.

Overhead presses, shoulder raises, incline bench press- these should all be no problem for the muscularly fit person (at SOME weight. You're saying you can't do it at ANY weight). I just held a hardcover book over my head in the most difficult position I could find (arm fully extended, 30 degrees inclination). I lasted over a minute but never felt like my shoulders wanted to "explode." Probably could have lasted longer but I just did a full workout targeting shoulders not 3 hours ago and my shoulder was getting tired.

Why don't you get this feeling for other muscles "at or below shoulder level"? You aren't lifting enough weight down there.

Keep lifting. Your shoulders will get stronger. The key is dedication- going to the gym over and over again.
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produced a more reliable product. But sailors do
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most annoying habit of splitting in two."
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jjfortherear
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Re: Exercises to help with holding arms above head

Postby jjfortherear » Wed Oct 27, 2010 12:48 am UTC

Eh, I'd have to disagree with the shoulder soreness applied to every other muscle group. Shoulders are a little weird. If you take the ratio of amount of pain put in over how sore you get in the following days(pain/soreness), shoulders have a much, much, much, much higher value than any muscle group, in my opinion. Still, there's no doubt that working them out as you would anything else will build them, it just seems to take longer, from my experience, than, for instance, your triceps.

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Solt
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Re: Exercises to help with holding arms above head

Postby Solt » Thu Oct 28, 2010 6:40 am UTC

jjfortherear wrote:Eh, I'd have to disagree with the shoulder soreness applied to every other muscle group.


Very true. The front deltoids are a very very tough muscle. I haven't been able to make mine sore for a long time, if ever, despite making very good progress on them (maybe 125% more weight over my weight lifting career). Your front delts are one of the few muscles that are used in (almost) every upper body movement you do, so they are built tough.
"Welding was faster, cheaper and, in theory,

produced a more reliable product. But sailors do

not float on theory, and the welded tankers had a

most annoying habit of splitting in two."

-J.W. Morris

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the_stabbage
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Re: Exercises to help with holding arms above head

Postby the_stabbage » Sun Oct 31, 2010 2:00 pm UTC

STRETCH!

Get to know the muscles in your back as well as your shoulders: lats, traps. Stretching your back will help your arms stay vertical by increasing their range of motion. If the position of keeping your arms vertical is at the edge of your range of motion, your muscles will have a harder time keeping them there.


On a related note, although I am weak overall, my shoulders are pathetic. I can't bench my body weight, and I can't shoulder press even half my body weight. My shoulders pop and crack when they move, which is why I don't work on them a lot. They are sometimes sore all day if I sleep on my side strangely. What kind of exercises should I do/avoid?

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Solt
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Re: Exercises to help with holding arms above head

Postby Solt » Sun Oct 31, 2010 6:54 pm UTC

the_stabbage wrote:On a related note, although I am weak overall, my shoulders are pathetic. I can't bench my body weight, and I can't shoulder press even half my body weight. My shoulders pop and crack when they move, which is why I don't work on them a lot. They are sometimes sore all day if I sleep on my side strangely. What kind of exercises should I do/avoid?


Benching your body weight is no small feat! Do you do overhead press sitting or standing? If standing, mid to lower back strength has as much to do with how much you can press as your shoulder strength. It seems like you should consider doing a strength building routine because I'm betting your shoulders are already stronger than the average guy's, and to go higher you just need to lift more.

I would suggest dynamic stretches. Which ones, I guess you'll have to research. I've tried shoulder dislocations a few times and while I don't know how much they help with shoulders, I do like them. Note: don't try to go as fast as the guy in the video, and make your grip as wide as you need to to keep your elbows straight.
"Welding was faster, cheaper and, in theory,

produced a more reliable product. But sailors do

not float on theory, and the welded tankers had a

most annoying habit of splitting in two."

-J.W. Morris

caje
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Re: Exercises to help with holding arms above head

Postby caje » Wed Nov 03, 2010 5:55 am UTC


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DrStalker
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Re: Exercises to help with holding arms above head

Postby DrStalker » Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:39 am UTC

A followup to the original post: the shoudler is all good, I just did a few extra reps on the left (when working with dumbells) or used the shoulder press machine with both arms push up/left takes the load on the way down. The result after a few months is the left shoulder is almost even with the right.

Now I'm doing the same for my weaker left wrist because that affects me enough to be annoying doing anything with a bar.
There are two types of people in the world: 1) those that can extrapolate from incomplete data.


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