October 01, 2005
One of the paradigms in physical therapy is the notion that once range of motion (ROM) is restored, the patient is considered healthy. The American Medical Association quantifies the severity of back problems mostly on the loss of spinal ROM (McGill, 2002). While this is a laughable definition of “healthy,” we need not dwell on it because our goal is to pass by “healthy” faster than prunes through a goose.
Part of the definition of CrossFit is that sickness, health, and fitness fall into a continuum (see the “What is Fitness?” issue of the CrossFit Journal [October 2002]). A person with bad shoulders generally has weak, tight shoulders. A person with healthy shoulders (according to health codes) will have adequate range of motion, but not necessarily strength. Truly “fit” shoulders must be strong throughout the full range of motion. This article describes a progression of exercises that has been proven effective at restoring ROM and strength in the shoulders. A lot of doctors tell patients with shoulder problems to never lift anything over their heads. I disagree.
This article is not intended as medical advice. As always, we suggest that you consult a doctor, and then another doctor, until you find one who will sign off on this type of work.