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Left Shoulder Impingement?

I tweaked for my left shoulder 2 weeks ago (Workout was based around Bench Press & Pull-Ups).

I have a feeling I did something during pull-ups vs the actual bench press but I’m unsure. My left shoulder has been a bit tender since that workout, but I just gave it some rest. Thought it was just a tweak.

Yesterday I tried to OHP. I was warming up with the barbell and everything felt fine. My warmups usually go 95x6, 115x5, 135x3, then move onto work sets. 95lbs hurt my left shoulder TREMENDOUSLY. I couldn’t even get to 3 reps and I decided to stop and call it a day. Since I’ve started lifting I’ve never felt pain in my shoulders at all. Yesterday was the first time in my life.

I can do squats (back/front), deadlifts(and all variations), and I can row without any pain. But doing any sort of press (even push ups) and chin-ups hurts TOO MUCH.

I looked online and did a few of those tests and based on those tests it seems that I have a shoulder impingement. I am more of an “overhead athlete” and overall my mobility is fine, but I think my lats are a bit tight compared to everything else. My right arm can raise (like a front raise) to the side of my ear without my ribs flaring. My left arm can only raise until neck height until I have really bad pain in my shoulder.

I don’t know if it’s a frozen shoulder or impingement. It hurts even when I try to reach back to my wallet.

The Hawkins test - I did this and my right arm can reach across and elbow can go up high with no pain at all. My left arm however hurts to reach across and can barely raise it 2 inches before it starts hurting like hell!

BASED ON THIS. My plan is to do a shit ton of mobility work for my lats, triceps, shoulders, pecs, traps and really hammer my range of motion.


My right shoulder feels just fine though. Should I just do a lot of front/side/rear raises, tricep push downs, to keep the triceps and shoulders somewhat strong? Should I do one hand DB Presses for my right arm and just do the other stuff for my left arm until its healed up?

I have no problem putting all my focus towards back squats, front squats, deadlifts, and rows for the time being.

This is my first BIG injury, so I’m a bit lost on how to work around it.

Any advice would be appreciated fellas!

Do not assume this is not a serious injury. “Working around” a torn rotator cuff tendon or some other tendon injury will not make it better.

If the pain doesn’t subside or go away in the next few days I would see a good sports orthopedic dr. He will probably initially do a physical exam testing your strength in certain ranges and then x-rays. You will need an MRI for soft tissue damage.

Dont let your ego get in the way of your health.

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Thanks man. I’m traveling for business right now, so I’ll have to wait 2-3 weeks before I get back into town to go to a doctor I trust.

It’s just weird because it’s only 2 movements that make my left shoulder hurt. Moving my arm inside (like reaching across my body) and moving my arm up (to reach for something above). There is absolutely no pain doing anything else.

But I will go get it looked at for sure, want to make sure I can press for many years to come. Guess it’ll be just squats, deadlift, rows and running until I’m all fixed up again.

Just dont want guys to make the same mistake I did.

I tore my RC in college and ignored it for years until I tore it for good. Had pretty much detached it, had bone spurs, arthritis, etc. Tore the other RC about 3 years ago so now I’ve had both repaired.

If you do lift, use neutral grips (palms facing) for dumbbell bench or chins, or shoulder presses. No barbell bench until you get diagnosed.

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For sure man. I’m in this for the long haul. Until I can see a doctor, it’ll be just lots of legs/back/core and conditioning. Anything that makes my shoulder strain or hurt is getting dropped right away.

-For relief, Band Lat Stretch or Band Shoulder Traction or Distraction.


In greater depth.

  • To restore full, controllable range of motion, Controlled Angular Rotations.


More in depth.

You probably won’t be able to get your arm all the way around. If you have trouble you can pause, lean your wrist/hand/elbow or arm against the wall and stretch or “figure out” the position or tight muscles.

To retrain the rotator cuff/shoulder stability muscles and strengthen the full ROM.

I hurt my right shoulder Tuesday. I was hanging from the rim for like a quarter second and something popped. I didn’t have any pain but an hour later it took a lot of will power to keep from dropping my 2 year old son.

Do you feel pain when you flex your elbow and supinate your forearm? Do a reverse curl and then rotate your wrist while flexing.

If there’s any pain then you might have a biceps tendon injury. That’s what mine is.

Call a doctor now. The good ones only see patients on certain days and are usually booked weeks out. I called mine yesterday and the first available appointment is Nov 1st. That might work out with your travel schedule but you could end up wasting a couple weeks if you wait til you’re done traveling.

In regards to training I’ll be hitting my left side only for a bit. I have one good arm, one good leg, and a half assed leg that I can keep training. I always figure there’s no reason to let everything fall apart just because one limb is out of commission.

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Back squats could possibly aggravate or maybe even worsen a shouder issue. Maybe stick to front squats and do GHR’s or something for the posterior chain until you figure out for sure what it is.

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I saw a doctor yesterday.

It’s a confirmed impingement in my left shoulder. Doc thinks it’s due to the amount of stress overall (lifting + ninja warrior training + high frequency) and the tightness in my shoulders/lats that caused it.

He use to train years and years ago for the “Ironman Triathlon” in Boulder, so he gave me some basic advice athlete to athlete.

I am going to test a few presses (neutral db pressing, CGBP, floor press, push ups, etc) to see if I can do any of that with no pain at all. Not trying to push heavy weight here, but just something I can do for like 4x8 that I can keep in my rotation until my shoulder fully heals up.

I have a list of rotator cuff exercises to do and will be doing for both shoulders and will be doing hot yoga every other day (modify any pose that hurts) to speed up recovery. His advice was not to just train one arm, because with the tightness I have, it’s only a matter a time before it affects the other shoulder.

Because of the type of impingement I have, squats and deadlifts are ok (as long as they don’t hurt), but all overhead work is out for right now. If pressing hurts, I will not pressing for some time. MINIMUM of 6 weeks.

So this a good time to REALLY focus on squats, deadlifts, and rows and conditioning in terms of lifting/training. Pullups and chinups are out of commission right now as well

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Thanks for sharing. I see my Doc next Thursday to figure out how to handle this biceps tendon problem. I felt my humerus shift in the socket today while carrying a 20 pack of Bud Light bottles to the house. I was using both hands too!

Glad you figured out what it was. What exercises are you doing for your rotator cuff? Just curious.

And have you done hot yoga before? I did it (regular yoga mostly, but hot occasionally) once a week for like 3 months a few years ago, and felt like my lower body usually felt ok. I hadn’t started lifting yet but was a very avid runner. Just wondering if you’ve done it before (or anybody else?) and feels like it’s beneficial for you. Looking to give it another shot to try to help my shoulders.

And btw, I’ve been on the forums for a year or so, and your profile picture makes me smile every single time I see it. Thanks for that :laughing: