Q&A: Eric Cressey

Mike Tyson

In boxing, where are most of the forces in the shoulder distributed during a typical punch (right hook)? Where is injury most common?

Just as is the case with a tennis serve, javelin throw, or baseball pitch, you’re going to see some crazy velocity of shoulder horizontal adduction and internal rotation with big shoulder distraction forces and rapid scapular protraction and elbow extension.  So, you can bet that the posterior rotator cuff, scapular retractors/depressors, and the biceps (at both the shoulder and elbow) are going to be work pretty darn hard to decelerate a lot of the velocity that originated in the lower body and core.

In our boxers, I watch for a lot of the same things I watch for in an overhead throwing population: internal rotation deficits, scapular instability, and a lack of elbow extension.  My experience has been that they tend to present with a lot more diffuse biceps issues as opposed to true elbow or shoulder problems.


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  1. MR,
    Any chance you could get Eric's and/or Mike Reinold's take on the use of pull-over machines in general vis-a-vis shoulder integrity?
    I've been wondering what some of the brightest minds on the shoulder think about it in a very broad sense relative to that particular exercise ever since my gym got a Nautilus Nitro Plus Pullover not that long ago.
    Obviously the movement would never replace chins, pull-ups, rows, deadlifts, etc., nor would it feature prominently, if at all, in many athletes programs. And clearly a person needs to have good scapulohumeral mechanics, the ability to resist lumbar hyperextension/check the ego and not allow lower back to hyperextend as a substitution pattern during the stretch portion of the lift, and a host of other things before even considering it's use, but I am mostly curious if there is anything inherently "wrong" or potentially harmful about the machine pullover in and of itself.
    As a lifter who is mostly focused on staying as healthy as possible and then maximizing the aesthetic aspect of training, I basically was looking for some very educated input on whether this movement is sound enough to warrant a place in the tool box or if it deserves to be tossed on the scrap heap because there is something inherently wrong with the mechanics of the movement.
    For example,

  2. I took a self-defense class from an ex-military guy long ago. He taught us to punch straight with the fist held vertically because it is a faster, simpler punch. A street fight is not the same as a boxing match. But anyway i think this style of punching (roughly, think of it as close grip neutral benching vs. regular grip) will present different forces and shoulder issues.
    But then no one who punches this way competes so it's probably a moot point.

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