A Study on Shoulder Injury Prevention You CANNOT MISS – Isokinetic Training and Other Stuff

I recently got an email from one of you About Lifting readers who we can call “Brian”:

Hi there, I’m not having trouble with training. My diets dialed in. I’m prolly just
like any other lifter, I wanna get huge n strong. Equal parts strength equal part
muscle. I’m making good progress. I’m like most in that in a juggle…. Job, family,
gym, and then friends. I love your site. It has helped with info on shoulder. I’ve
Corrected my position/angle problem and the pain on my cuff has subsided. Thank you.
I’m a reader of ABOUTLIFTING for life!!! See you around.
CLEAN BULK FOR LIFE!!!!!!! Brian G(I will not reveal his last name)

Sent from my iPhone

First off I would like to thank you guys for supporting my articles and I am really glad that their helping people out around the world!

With this one Brian was referring to one of my most recent posts on the Quick Fix To Popping Shoulders. There I provided a detailed explanation (together with an amateur drawing 😆  ) on the correct angle to put your shoulders on as you do overhead presses.

You see those damn shoulder joints have the most mobility among all your other joints but to do that, the body has sacrificed durability with that we mean that shoulder joints are more like “floating” joints. The only thing that attaches your arms to your upper body is basically a group of ligaments and muscles which are better known as “rotator cuffs”.


Take a LONG HARD look:

anatomy shoulder joints


Other joints of your body are connected bone to bone, that is not the case with your shoulders. You can say that shoulder joints are one of the most fragile joints in your body which is the reason why millions of athletes and lifters around the world suffer from different types of shoulder injuries and some of them are career ending.

The worse part of that is rotator cuff injuries may take years to recuperate and in most cases NEVER! If so you may need to undergo surgical intervention and there is no guarantee that you will get 100% of your strength back (IF surgery is successful).

That is why I would like to keep you guys posted here in the studies. I have done my homework and searched around and here is the best one you surely shouldn’t miss:

Effective ways of restoring muscular imbalances of the rotator cuff muscle group: a comparative study of various training methods

Br J Sports Med 2004;38:766-772 doi:10.1136/bjsm.2003.009548


Background: Many studies have compared different training methods for improving muscular performance, but more investigations need to be directed to the restoration of muscular imbalances.

Objective: To determine the most effective training for altering strength ratios in the shoulder rotator cuff.

Methods: Forty eight physical education students were randomly assigned to four groups (12 per group): (a) experimental group who carried out multijoint dynamic resistance training for shoulder internal and external rotation movement (pull ups or lat pull downs, overhead press, reverse pull ups, push ups) (MJDR group); (b) experimental group who exercised the same muscle group using dumbbells weighing 2 kg (isolated group); (c) experimental group who followed an isokinetic strengthening programme for the rotator cuff muscle group (isokinetic group); (d) control group who had no strength training. Testing was performed in the supine position with the glenohumeral joint in 90° of abduction in the coronal plane, with a range of motion of 0–90° of external rotation and 0–65° of internal rotation at angular velocities of 60, 120, and 180°/s. The test procedure was performed before and after the exercise period of six weeks.

Results: One way analysis of variance found no differences between the groups for the initial tests. Analysis of variance with repeated measures showed that the strength ratios in all the experimental groups had altered after the exercise period, with the isokinetic group showing the most significant improvement.

Conclusions: Isokinetic strengthening is the most effective method of altering strength ratios of the rotator cuff muscle.

This study has basically shown two points:

1) Isokinetic exercises are best for shoulder strengthening and thus injury prevention and avoiding imbalances (which lead to injuries)


2) Training your shoulders and rotator cuffs is always better than not training them – as initially there was no significant difference regardless of what method they used.

First of all, what is isokinetic training? There “isotonic” muscular contraction wherein muscles contract without a change in tone, there’s the isometric contraction wherein muscles tense up but don’t really shorten (like when you’re pushing against a wall), there’s “concentric” contraction wherein your muscles tense up and shorten at the same time, and there is eccentric contraction where muscles contract as they lengthen (keeping tension as you get the weight down). We have defined those terms in this post.

This one offers a great definition of ISOKINETIC Training:

Isokinetic exercise in Medicine:
isokinetic exercise i•so•ki•net•ic exercise (ī’sō-kə-nět’ĭk, -kī-)
Exercise performed using a specialized apparatus that provides variable resistance to a movement, so that no matter how much effort is exerted, the movement takes place at a constant speed.

exercise or a program of exercises to increase muscular strength, power, and endurance based on lifting, pulling, or pushing variable weight or resistance at a constant speed.
any specific exercise of this type.

The researchers showed that they achieved great results with isokinetic training, so there you have it. There are specialized machines which makes you do just this but as you know I’m not really a fan of buying fancy equipment and making you spend thousands of dollars so we’ll just tackle pretty much how can we do that with basic gym equipment?

The point of isokinetic contractions is “CONTROLLED REPS”

With that we recommend 3 seconds up, 3 seconds at top, then 3 seconds down with your rotator cuff exercises. We cited some rotator cuff workouts here and I do recommend that you do them religiously:

Rotator cuff exercises


You won’t need much weight with that perhaps you will be doing some reps with just 2kg dumbbell or resistance (the illustrations sued cable but you can also do them with dumbbells), but that is not important. Don’t be ashamed. You will just be showing to the whole world that you know what you’re doing.

Funny story: every time I go to my gym I seem to impress some newbs whenever I do some killer compounds like deadlifts, squats, shrugs, etc at how I do them (although my numbers are far from impressive in powerlifting terms) but still I get some stares wherever I lift (basically I think because almost NOBODY deadlifts or squats these days, that is why they seem surprised whenever somebody hits even the 200-300 pound mark with these – WITH GOOD FORM).

But what surprises them more is when later on near the end of my workout I tend to do very slow reps with VERY light resistance. Most of the times I do isolation like that and sometimes they just catch me doing rotator cuff training, simple as that. But you can bet that I get 100% muscular stimulation and activation! So guys, till next time – Eat your eggs, and train your rotator cuffs, people!

A-Lifter- Don't forget to leave your comment/feedback below.  If this article was helpful, I am sure our book Real Talk Muscle will help you even more in your quest for muscle gain. Check it out you can read the first few chapters as well.
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