Deadlift, Impingement, and Tight Neck?

Ive been dealing with shoulder impingement in both shoulders off and on for the past 1-2 years. It never develops into pain, and ranges from numbness to a dull ache, and sometimes headache.

Recently, I believe I figured out part of what the problem is. Deadlifts have always been one of my favorite lifts, but recently I stopped doing them, and started focusing on front squats. I also have been doing more horizontal pulling and pushups instead of bench.

The impingement didn’t completely go away, but was very minimal. I then noticed it quickly get worse after including another deadlift workout.

So heres what I know:

*Deadlifts, pullups, and farmer’s walks make it worse. Also, standing shoulder press seems to make it worse, while high incline press does not.

*It is at least partially due to a lifetime of sitting in classrooms and at a computer. But im working on correcting this one.

*Shoulder dislocates with a broomstick may be helping it.

*My traps and neck muscles seem to be very tight, and have some tender spots if I dig in with my finger or a tennis ball.

*Working out usually makes things better. A good dynamic workout, and im loosened up to where I have no stiffness or anything.

*Ive also stopped looking up when deadlifting and doing pullups, but i know my neck is still overactive.

Thats about all ive figured out. I know i need to keep my posture good, and stretch my neck and traps, but what else should I focus on?

Trigger point therapy of trapezius, scalenes and pec minor as well as brachialis. Scalene trigger points also make your upper back tight.

Buy “The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook” by Clair Davies. Well worth the $15.

yeah usually its trigger points in the upper traps or pec minors.

thanks guys, great advice, i’ll likely be investing that $15.

Is it something i can do on myself or have my gf do?

maybe you can also focus on scapula stabilisation if your scapula thoracic rhythm is wack. or strengthen your rotator cuffs, depending on where the problem lies.

Use tennis balls to start, then golf balls and cricket/base balls against the wall/floor for trigger point release :slight_smile:

When you are ready to get back into DLing, don’t do what I did this week and totally overload that area by adding too many chains to your max.

Bad, bad idea. I hurt. It didn’t happen that day, it wasn’t until evening the next day that the injury flared up.

Agree with the soft tissue work and shoulder and scap stabilisation. One thing my physiotherapist remarked upon today was my postural imbalance which was overloading my upper traps all day long, every day of the week.

Nothing I do will really help until I correct that. Given that I could have been writing exactly the same post as you a week ago, you might have a similar problem.

Yes stop loading yourself and get this out of the way before you start again.
Once you find your impingement getting better, load slowly and progressively - always evaluate till your impingement stops bothering you.

I had impingement but it has been gone for about one year now. Deadlifts were one the main things that fixed it.

Impingement would normally mean ‘bad posture’, especially with your mention of headaches. Short or tight upper traps and internal rotators, weak middle and lower traps and external rotators. Really, to train what’s weak, you need exercises that involve scapula retraction and depression i.e.lock out on a deadlift. Not to mention weak glutes, again - deadlifts.

Everyones different though. DL’s hit your upper traps a lot so if they are REALLY dominant then your going to have problems locking out properly and if your internal rotators are all restricted and lacking in ROM then you may be in that position (which I was in) where it causes discomfort to retract and depress your shoulder blades in any situation, never mind under load. So if DL’s cause pain just drop them for now.

I can’t recommend Magnificient Mobility and Inside Out enough for this problem (and in general). It’s your whole posture, not just the shoulders. MM will hit things from the ground up and I/O will take care of your upper body. There’s so much to consider and MM and I/O lays it out in way that you can just get straight to work with it all.


Things that helped me a lot:

  • Cable scarecrows (probably the most effective of all the things I did)
  • Band pull-aparts
  • Band pulldowns behind the neck
  • Wall slides
  • Foam roller and lacrosse ball work on the thoracic region, lats, and pecs. I still work on my upper back every day.