Grip Strength and Shoulder Pain - How do they affect eachother?

Most of us are probably aware that good grip strength is a fundamental prerequisite for the successful execution of many functional activities as well as sports. We need a strong grip to lift and hold our kids, carry groceries, throw balls, grip bats, rackets and during various other tasks in our daily lives, but did you know that as you grip an object you automatically activate some of your shoulder muscles?

The Rotator cuff is a group of 4 muscles that surround the shoulder joint and function to increase its stability. Many overuse injuries of the shoulder have been linked to poor rotator cuff activity.

Researchers have been able to link grip strengthening to improved shoulder rotator cuff muscle function, implying that improved grip strength could lead to better shoulder strength and reduced shoulder injuries. A recent study proved that the electromyographic activity (i.e., muscle response or electrical activity of the muscle) of rotator cuff musculature increases significantly during certain handgrip tasks.

If you’re struggling with shoulder pain, some grip-based exercises can provide training for the shoulder without causing too much pain or discomfort in the shoulder.

Therefore, actively training grip strength components can help as part of a strength and conditioning program as well as in rehabilitation programs. Grip strengthening exercises using barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, ropes and plates can be used to improve shoulder strength.

Talk to your physiotherapist for more information and advice on what exercises will best suit your needs.

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