Shoulder complaints are almost part of everyday climbing sport and are often traumatic in nature. Climbing physio and MSc manual therapist Simon Deussen shows in today's post useful information and exercises for mobilization, stretching and strengthening the shoulder.

A guest contribution by Simon Deussen - owner of PhysioVision Zurich - Supported by Minimum bouldering and Gasworks climbing center

What most people refer to as a “shoulder” is actually a whole complex of several joints that, in conjunction with tendons and muscles, enable a variety of movements in the arm, from washing hair to intense gastone pull (see picture).

But this enormous mobility comes at a price. Due to its complex structure, it is very susceptible to injury. Shoulder complaints are almost part of everyday climbing sport and are often traumatic in nature.

The most common injuries to climbers after overloading, falling or the impact of jerky large forces on the shoulder joint are:

  • Inflammation of the shoulder tendons
  • Tear and / or capsular ligament tear and the resulting instability
  • Dislocations (shoulder dislocation)

In the event of traumatic shoulder events or pain from 2 months old, I naturally recommend visiting a doctor. A clear diagnosis can only be made using an imaging procedure. I also use the musculoskeletal ultrasound diagnostics in my practice to make the cause of the pain visible to the patient in real time and in side comparison. This serves as the basis for targeted and efficient therapy management. For the treatment of tendinitis (inflammation of the tendon) I will present the innovative EPTE therapy in a later post.

In my more than 10 years of professional experience in the sports sector, I see a lot of shoulder problems. Since the sport of climbing and the associated complaints are still “relatively” novel, there is still very little scientific knowledge and the clinical experience is significant. The fact is that shortened or too weak muscles / ligaments significantly increase the risk of injury.

With the following exercises you address the most important areas of the shoulder.

Important: You must not experience any pain during the exercises or afterwards! A so-called stretch pain (tension / pressure) is desirable and should reach approx. 7-8 on a scale of 0-10. You keep this for at least 30 seconds and repeat all exercises 3 times. You will repeat the exercise (s) at least 3 times a week.

Mobilization / stretching

Exercise 1

Exercise 1: Starting position for the lateral capsule and muscles
You lean against the wall with your body weight.
Exercise 1: Accent for the triceps
Use the other arm to bend your elbow. 
Exercise 1: Accent for the Levator Scapula
You look away from the armpit of the arm you want to stretch.

Exercise 2

Exercise 2: Starting position against the wall and arm at shoulder level. Then screw in to the arm.
Exercise 2: stretching position of the posterior capsule and muscles

Exercise 3

Exercise 3: pectoral muscle. You stand spread and rotate your upper body away from the wall.
Exercise 3: Biceps tendon: rotation variation with the palm and back of the hand against the wall.

Exercise 4

Exercise 4 Start position sleepers stretch for the rear / upper shoulder capsule and muscles.
Exercise 4 end position sleepers stretch (elbow 90 ° and upper arm at shoulder height).

Exercise 5

Exercise 5 starting position (frontal view) backside shoulder stretch. For more final stretch and rotation. Place your elbows as close as possible and pinch a BlackRoll between your wrists.
Exercise 5 starting position (side view) backside shoulder stretch.
Exercise 5 End position (frontal) backside shoulder stretch. You let your whole back and shoulder hang relaxed in the position.

Strengthening the shoulder

This exercise is my personal favorite exercise and I almost always use it in the patient's shoulder program. This shoulder complex exercise can be performed per arm, is functional and addresses all important muscles, you do not need a break between sets if you turn 180 ° after each set! 2 versions for the front and 2 for the rear.

Exercise 6

Exercise 6 starting position back game from above. Palm to shoulder.
Exercise 6 end position rear part from above. Palm to the wall.
Exercise 6 starting position front part from above. Back of the hand to the wall.
Exercise 6 end position front part from above. Back of the hand forward.
Exercise 6 starting position back game from below. Back of the hand forward.
Exercise 6 end position rear part from below. Back of the hand to the wall.
Exercise 6 starting position front part from below. Back of the hand forward.
Exercise 6 end position front part from below. Back of the hand forward.

This exercise is a completely different rotator cuff exercise and comes from science.

Exercise 7

Exercise 7 Starting position Rotatory Pulley Exercise. The Theraband must not turn on the doorknob. Crouch slightly. Turn the entire torso and shoulders to the end.

Exercise 8

Exercise 8 Shoulder Rotation Press start position
Exercise 8 End position shoulder rotation press with internal rotation.
Exercise 8 End position shoulder rotation press with external rotation.

About the article series

The series of articles with Simon Deussen takes up climbing-specific health topics at regular intervals. Training tips are presented by the Bouldering hall minimum und dem Gasswerk climbing center.

About Simon Deussen

Simon Deussen is a climbing physio and MSc manual therapist and owner of the Physio Vision practice in Zurich. As a passionate climber, he knows the needs of climbers from his own experience.

www.physio-vision.ch

Simon Deussen's injury prevention tips

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Credits: Cover picture Pavel Blazek