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Healing a rotator cuff injury – Paul´s testimonial

A few months ago Paul contacted me, worried about his rotator injury. Not everyone hires me to lose weight. Today we can say that he is fully recovered. He is not a blogger, but I have asked him to describe his experience to share it with you. Here it is.

“To share my experience is not a compromise, it is a pleasure.

I started young playing sports. Being an athlete is a lifestyle and a philosophy. It´s taking your day as a challenge, seeking to overcome.  My dictionary doesn´t contain the word “surrender”.

After a nasty blow dragged by a wave, I felt some discomfort in my shoulder. At first, I thought it would be temporary. But I was wrong. Months of rest, ice, pills… nothing worked.

After reading Google´s answer, two years without physical exercise, I decided to contact Chape.

To sow hope in the heart of a demoralized is not so easy, so…

I will never forget the first thing Chape told me: You have not an injury, you only have a weak point and you need to strengthen it.

That phrase sums up his philosophy: He does not accept defeat. He knows he is able to accomplish anything with determination and effort.

I followed his routines. First and most difficult, trust him and myself. Once done, I got up from the couch and went to the gym. Tailored exercises allowed me to have fun with the advantage that I was recovering my injury.

After three months, I started to get better. 7 months later my shoulder was stronger than ever. When I’m hanging in a harness, I do not remember which is the injured shoulder. I will never forget the lesson: with effort and faith in ourselves no injury will last forever”.

I want to thank Paul publicly for these nice words about me and tell everyone that, if you need help to recover from an injury, here I am!

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Tips for Achieving Better Upper Body strength by Justina Triasovaite

Hello, dears!

Today I´m pleased to introduce you a new blogger and friend, Justina Triasovaite. She is a certified female personal trainer and also runs justinatraining.com, a site with useful information for those who are interested in general fitness and body transformation. A committed health and fitness fanatic, Justina is very passionate about helping people transform their lives.

London based, she´s offering first class free with each package! If you live in London, you shouldn´t miss this opportunity.

Without further delay, I let you read her refreshing tips. Enjoy!

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This article will reveal what it takes to build up strength in your upper body, including your shoulders, arms, chest, back, and core.

No matter where you choose to train – at the gym, in the park or in your own home, there are a lot of useful tips provided in this article that can be beneficial for building your upper body strength.

Ok, let’s get started!

Home and/or Park: A Great Start!

Have you ever thought of improving your upper body strength right in your own home, right in your terrace or garden, for example? There are different ways of getting stronger and it doesn’t necessarily require you to go out to the gym – just get started right at home or in any suitable park. In my opinion, the best place to train during spring-summer months would be outside – in a park or in your own home, maybe in the garden area. Fewer excuses and more exercise!

1) Best Exercises for Getting Stronger Upper Body at Home or Park 

  • PRESS UPS

Press ups involve the majority of upper body muscles, which is great if you are trying to strengthen your upper body. What is more, these exercises improve your posture, enhance your cardiovascular system and help to prevent lower back injuries. Press ups do not require any additional equipment so you can do it right in the middle of your living room or terrace.

  • DIPS

Dips are isolation exercises that work miracles for strengthening your arms and gaining powerful and defined triceps. They can be performed at the gym on a special machine or simply at home using a chair or a bed frame. Although I think it is much more fun to do your dips outside – just find the right spot (e.g. a bench). Try this out today!

  • PULL UPS

Pull up exercises are compound movements which add strength to the whole back and arms. Nobody says they’re easy, but what you gain is most definitely worth it: by doing pull ups, several large muscle groups (back, arms and shoulders) work simultaneously. What I love about these exercises the most is that they don’t require expensive equipment – you can order a pull-up bar online and hang it above your door frame. Time to get thinking about this.

  • RESISTANCE BANDS

Resistance bands are amazing tools for working out at home with your own body weight with a goal of strengthening various muscle groups in your body, including your upper body. Most of these bands come with a special hook which allows using them on your door without damaging it. It should also come with thorough instruction regarding all of the exercises you can perform using these bands. Easy and fun!

2. Best Exercises for Getting Stronger Upper Body at the Gym

Say hello to the rowing machine as soon as you enter the gym, as this is the best exercise you can do to strengthen your upper body and build a great back. It doesn’t really matter which kind of rowing machine you choose – seated, standing, assisted, or single arm rowing – the benefits of these type of exercise for building a strong upper body are simply undeniable.

Another great exercise I highly recommend trying out is a shoulder press – machine, free weights, barbell or dumbbells – everything goes when we are talking about those beautiful and strong shoulders.

Don’t forget that a strong chest is the key to a strong upper body, so the chest press should become one of your favorite exercises as well. Choose a bench or a machine, dumbbells or bar – everything is suitable for your goal as long as you perform the exercises correctly.

And last, but definitely not least, a must exercise for everyone – pull down or pull ups. Pull down is a great machine for beginners if they want to build up their back strength and move on to pull-ups. Pull ups and chin ups work miraculously in building the so-called “triangle back”, which is often part of my clients’ wish list!

3) General Tips for Upper Body Strength

  • Carry the shopping bags yourself. This simple activity can highly influence the strength of your upper body. Forget shopping online: carrying your purchases daily will be a great exercise for your upper body and will also help you improve in the exercising field.
  • Get involved! Play outdoor games which put resistance onto your upper body – basketball, netball, tennis, badminton. This is a fun and easy way to build strength in your upper body.
  • Include Isometric Contractions (also called isometric exercises or isometrics). These are the type of exercises, in which the joint angle and muscle length do not change during contraction. These exercises are well known for making your upper body muscles stronger. One tip – try holding a pillow right in front of you while keeping your arms straight… Not so easy, right? ☺ Try it for a couple of days and increase your holding time gradually – you will see how much stronger you will feel in a relatively short period of time.
  • Don’t forget the core! The strength of your upper body highly depends on the strength of your core, so don’t forget to include a variety of exercises that help to strengthen the muscles of your core. My favorite core exercises are various variations of the plank as well as leg raises – these work best for strengthening core muscles. Tip: always add one or two exercises that help to strengthen the core at the end of your training sessions.

Continuous Hard Work Pays Off!

To sum up, continuous hard work and the right choice of exercises definitely pays off, leading to a well-trained upper body, built up strength and an improved physique.

There is no need to invest in expensive machines or training equipment: there are plenty of exercises available that require only your own body strength. Easy!

Even your everyday activities, such as carrying the shopping bags, can strengthen your upper body, so definitely no excuses!

 

 

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Resistance band Squat and press

Stand on the band, hips width apart. Grab a handle in each hand and stand up straight. Contract your abs, bracing your torso. Pull your shoulder blades down and back. Your head and neck should be aligned with your spine. Do not allow the back to arch. Maintain these engagements throughout the exercise.

Inhale and start with a squat, flexing the knees and hips to lower your body. Descend as far as possible, maintaining good posture in the spine, hips, and knees.

After fully rising to a standing position, press the weights overhead by extending the elbows and flexing at the shoulder as you exhale. Repeat.


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Lying Lateral Shoulder Raise

This is an incredible exercise for working the lateral deltoids. If you have back problems this is ideal because your spine is straight and relaxed.

Anchor your band to the door at your knee height. Grab a handle in each hand and lie on your back, away from the door. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Keep your spine straight and your head aligned.

Exhale as you contract your deltoids and move your arms horizontally until your elbows are in line with your shoulders.

Inhale and slowly return to the starting position. Repeat.


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Resistance bands rear deltoid row

This exercise targets the rear shoulder. You want to do this exercise to keep your shoulders balanced.

Anchor your band at the bottom of the door. Grab a handle in each hand, keeping your back straight and knees bent. Your arms should be extended.

Exhale and pull the band towards your chest bringing your elbows out and holding them on for a few seconds squeezing tightly.

Inhale as you go back to the starting position. Repeat.

 


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Standing dumbbell front raise

This is a classic shoulder exercise. It focuses on the anterior head of the deltoid.

Stand holding dumbbells lightly touching thighs and palms facing your thighs. Your elbows should be straight or slightly bent. Your feet slightly wider than hip distance. Contract your abs, bracing your torso and pull your shoulder blades down and back. Do not allow the back to arch. Your head should be aligned with your spine.

Exhale and slowly raise the dumbbells up in front of your body. Your elbows and upper arms should rise together and lead the movement ahead of the forearms and dumbbells. Raise the dumbbells until your arms are level with your shoulders, parallel with the floor. Do not allow the back to arch. Keep the wrists in neutral, do not allow them to bend.

Inhale and gently lower the dumbbells back to your starting position in a controlled manner. Keep your elbows straight and neutral grip position.


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Cobra pose

The Cobra pose sStretches muscles in the shoulders, chest, and abdominals. Also, decreases the stiffness of the lower back.

Lie on your stomach on a mat/floor with your hands under your shoulders and fingers facing forward. Legs should be straight and toes pointed.

Engage your abs to support the spine. Gently exhale. Press your hips into the mat. Lengthen the torso and curl your chest away from the ground while keeping your hips stable. Keep the shoulders rolling down and back. Hold this position and take 3-4 deep breathes.

Inhale one more time and gently lower your upper body back to the mat, lengthening the spine as you descend.

As the length of arms differs, individuals may often lift their hips off the mat as they fully extend their arms. In this case, limit the extension of your arms to keep the hips on the mat.

If you experience any pain in the low back with this movement, stop the exercise immediately.


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Resistance band Shoulder press

The shoulder press is a very commonly used exercise which can be performed with dumbbells, a barbell, band (as shown here), or a resistance machine.

Anchor your band at the bottom of the door.Grip a handle in each hand and stand up straight. Keep your back and head straight, and your chest up.

Bend the elbows and position the hands just above shoulder height.

Exhale and push your hands above your head, straightening the elbows.

Inhale and slowly return to the starting position.

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Dumbbell Reverse Fly

Reverse dumbbell flyes strengthen the posterior shoulder and upper back. Strength and development in the rear shoulders and thoracic spinal muscles improve upper body posture, function, and movement.

Hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing your body, and your knees slightly bent. Keeping your back flat, bend forward at the hip joint.

Exhale and slowly raise the dumbbells up, forward and out to the sides until your arms are almost level with the shoulders, maintaining a slight bend in the elbows and squeezing your shoulder blades together.

Inhale and slowly lower the dumbbells back to your starting position. Repeat.


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Alternate front dumbbell raise

This is a popular exercise for the anterior deltoid. It isolates shoulder flexion.

Stand holding dumbbells lightly touching the front of your thighs and palms facing your thighs. Your elbows should be straight or slightly bend.

Engage your abs and pull your shoulder blades down and back. Keep your spine in a neutral position. Your head should be aligned with your spine.

Exhale and slowly raise one dumbbell up in front of your body until your arms are level with your shoulder. Your elbow and upper arm should rise together and lead the movement ahead of the forearm and dumbbell. Do not allow the back to arch or the wrists to bend.

Inhale and gently lower the dumbbell back to starting position.

Repeat with the other arm.


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