Surfing & Shoulders

Hey gang,

I’ve just gotten into surfing, and have the bug. My shoulders are taking a real beating, but at the moment I’m recovering pretty well & end up pain free within a day or so…

My question relates to an article I recently read on T-Nation by Paul Check regarding pattern overload which basically said not to exercise muscles which are already taxed heavily by the sport in question. With the goal of maintaining injury free shoulders, should I do any exercises whatsoever for them, or should I just maintain a good stretching program and give myself enough recovery?

Along the same lines, has anyone bought any of Paul’s books and found them to be useful in overcoming any injuries or postural/excercise issues they have?


I picked up the following exercise from another thread on this forum. My shoulder is injured, but this is probably good prehab too. Makes the shoulders feel awesome, pumped and loose.

[quote]This article is copied from another forum, and is written by a personal trainer who`s known as DC, Dante or “Doggcrapp”.)

How to cure shoulder problems (Trust me this will do it 90% of the time)

With a large towel or broomstick I want you to hold it with straight arms for the entire time of what i describe in the following movement–a large “rolled up like a rope” beach towel works good but honestly a longer broomstick (without the bristles) works best in my opinion.

Start out with it with a really wide grip (with straight arms) in front of you (on your quads) and with straight arms bring it up and overhead and then down and back to the middle of your back–STRAIGHT ARMS ALL THE WAY–this is going to be very difficult and hard the first couple times out and then will be “old hat” with time----and its going to be painful in a stretching pump kind of way—

i want 50 reps each time you do this–one repetition is from in front of your face (all with straight arms) to up overhead and back, and then down all the way to the middle of your back and then back up overhead to in front of your face again (again all with straight arms)–the important part of the movement is the area overhead that is really tight–do all of this carefully/slowly—

dont just whip it over and back—if your hand is slipping off the broomstick even with the widest grip, or you cant bring your arms over straight and the start bending on you, you have some serious shoulder inflexibility and need to work this hard and get up to speed (or you could just need a longer broomstick too)

–again do all of these revolutions controlled and carefully–push into the stretch as you go along toward the 50 revolutions, your chest will be pushing outward and your shoulders rolling back–your shoulders are going to blow up with so much blood its going to be incredibly painfull pumpwise–

Do this once a day at nite as many times a week as you can—sometimes I have people do it every single day—but every time you do it try to move your grip inward (thats the key)

----its going to be very hard to do but try your best to move your grip inward for the next 2-4 weeks and your range of motion with shoulders will increase dramatically and any impingement and the majority of other problems should be gone in 2 weeks–also try to move your grip in as you are doing the 50 revolutions

–start off with a stretching but relatively easy 10 to warm up some, then try to move your grip in even by a centimeter if you can for the next 20 revolutions and then at 30 try to move the grip in another centimeter–really try to push what you can do stretchwise once your warmed up here

–trust me this sounds easy but your going to be muttering “fuck you dante” after you get to your 25th revolution–Ive cured too many shoulder problems with this simple movement now its pretty ridiculous, and this and a menthol rub applied liberally daily and before sleep has cured alot of shoulder/bicepital tendonitis in trainees

—Heres a pic attached to this post so you can get an idea (thanks to a trainee of mine who cured his shoulders with this)–but remember the broomstick goes overhead and all the way back to the middle of the back (he just drew the start of the movement when you begin)[/quote]

Nice… thanks… but wouldn’t this movement tear away at the tendons or something when you go over the top?

I’m sure I’ve read stuff saying you shouldn’t perform large range of motion exercises with shoulders… like pullovers for your chest for example when you go too low behind your head…

That is an assanine exercise for someone with bad shoulders, or good shoulders for that matter. He wants someone with a bad shoulder to intentionally hyper-extend? Not smart.

Try to take it easy for a while. Then use a good warm up next time you go surfin’ (full range of motiion) and a good strech after. Use plenty of vitamins spec. vitamin C and enough good fats.

If you’r using compound movements I would not use too much shoulder excercises.

[quote]GymGeek wrote:
That is an assanine exercise for someone with bad shoulders, or good shoulders for that matter. He wants someone with a bad shoulder to intentionally hyper-extend? Not smart.[/quote]

Then why does it make my bad shoulder feel better?

When you say your shoulders are taking a beating do you mean the muscle is sore or are you having pain in the shoulder joint? I like to surf as much as I can myself and have had some problems in the past with shoulder tendonitis due to surfing and some overuse in the gym. I’m guessing that you’re a beginner at surfing so would bet that your paddling technique is quite efficient which can definitely lead to some joint discomfort. Often times you’ll see beginner surfers using a stroke that’s not smooth and inline with their body. It just takes practice. Head out on flat days and work on your stroke.

I haven’t had any problems with surfing and working shoulders in the gym although I’ve been surfing a fairly long time. I would definitely advise some light rotator cuff work though as a preventative measure for shoulder problems such as tendonitis.

Thanks bgl & others… I had the same feeling about stressing the shoulder joint…

I think the pain is more muscular… but you know how it is with your shoulder… theres so many little muscles inserting all over the place it can be hard to tell. The fact that i’m recovering from the soreness of the day in 1 or 2 days also says to me its muscular… I can feel tender tissue on my delts (mainly rear) for example.

I think I’m really feeling it because I’ll go out in to sets which are probably too big for me, but I still try to paddle out the back, I can’t make it, but im too stubborn to give up… so I’m paddling my arse off constantly. Damn good fun though =)

bgl have you or other surfers found you’ve gained any hypertrophy from the high repetition motion of paddling?


[quote]Vesson wrote:

bgl have you or other surfers found you’ve gained any hypertrophy from the high repetition motion of paddling?


Naaaa, it’s basically just a good source of cardio. Take a look at the build of your average surfer that surfs regularly and you’d be pressing things if they went 150lbs.