Best Exercise to Ruin Shoulders

The Olympic Lifts (i.e. Clean and Snatch) are one of the best movements to improve strength, as the movements allow larger weights to be moved at very fast speeds. The benefits of these exercises are not only removed by using dumbbells (DB) or Kettlebell (KB) instead of barbells, but the DB/KB Clean and Snatch might be the most dangerous movement you’ll ever do in the weight room.

Ideally, Olympic lifts are performed with a barbell that spins as the athlete’s wrist turns over for the catch on the shoulders or above the head. When this barbell is replaced by a DB/KB, the shoulder muscles are at risk for strain as they must stabilize for the “unnatural” fall of the DB/KB at the end of the catch. The rapid stretching of these muscles and the forearm puts considerable stress on the elbow joint as well.

These problems are only compounded when the Olympic Lifts, centered on power development and technique mastery, are performed anytime over 5 repetitions as the 2 aforementioned goals are sacrificed to create injuries. If you’re training for power, use a barbell for Olympic lifts. If you’re training for strength endurance in the weight room, leave Olympic Lifts out of it.