T Nation

Not Your Typical Shoulder Pain Thread

Hey guys,

First off, I did a search and all I found was people talking about impingement and stretches, but not really workarounds.

I was doing a push workout today, and I felt some pain in my left shoulder so I tried doing a few other things with light weight to see what motions were hurting it. Pressing motions hurt, but flyes and stuff were okay. If I benched on the smith machine with the bar touching close to the very bottom of my chest, it seemed to feel a lot better.

Does doing presses on this level i.e. with the bar coming down to the lower part of the chest decrease the risk of impingement and cuff injuries?

Also, are there any other chest exercises that would reduce the risk of impingement? I can do Flyes, but working with dumbbells on the lower plane is awkward though I could reduce the weight on the bells and get comfortable doing that. I don’t really feel any of these movements in my pecs really. I should probably concentrate more on flexing my pecs during the movement to recruit them more.

Doing seated military presses, incline db presses, and flat bench db presses felt awkward once the shoulder started up. I was doing broomstick stretches, face pulls, and other rotator cuff work in between sets of pressing movements.

Thanks for any and all advice!

Have you tried floor presses? I do them when my shoulder acts up.

Also, what kind of direct shoulder work are you doing?

Shoulder (delts) work: OHP, facepulls, lateral raises, and rear delt raises.

I started adding some rotator cuff work today in between sets of bench. This was just a cable external rotation. I also read shoulder savers pretty early on, and started doing broomstick stretches in between sets of benching and added scap pushups and scap retraction with DB’s to the mix. In addition, I’ve been doing overhead trap shrugs during OHP warmups/with light workweights.

I’m going to start adding cuban rotations and the other stuff from this article as well; http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/strong_and_healthy_shoulders

Thanks for the advice re: floor presses. I might give those a go. I’m still curious about benching closer to the lower part of my chest as it affects my shoulders. I think I might try doing that with free weight or smith bench. I think this is how it felt natural for me to do it on a smith late last year when I started benching again, and I had 0 issues with my shoulders. They started bothering me when I moved more towards doing stuff with free weights, to be honest.

I’m still curious about all this stuff, but I’m going to ask my PT about my shoulders when I go there next week.

My clavicles have always ‘popped’ out of the socket and my shoulders have recently started clicking more. Doing arm raises to the side causes a clicking sound/feeling. It doesn’t hurt, but I don’t think it should happen at all. I feel it especially when doing lateral raises and the like.

Apart from face pulls what other kind of pulling movements do you do?? Also please don’t underestimate the benefit of stretches although I do get your point about workarounds and certainly there are workarounds.
Its probably an imbalance issue hence adding , removing or modifying certain movements should fix it.
Please do elaborate more on what other movements you do especially for your shoulders eg. what kind of pulling exercises?

I do two push days and one pull day.

I think I might have to drop down to one pec heavy push day and only do CGBP for push the other day to hit triceps on the other.

This is what my two pull days look like.

Pull A:
Chinups (3xF)
DB row (3x10)
Shrugs (3x10)
Rear Delt Raise (3x10)
Seated Row (3x10)
DB Curl (3x10)
Lat Pulldown (3x10)
Lateral Raise (3x10)
Reverse Curl (3x10)
Wrist Curl (3x10)

Pull B:
Pullups (3x10)
Bent over Rows (5x5)
Behind back Shrugs(3x10)
Rear Delt Raise (3x10)
Conc Curl (3x10)
Lat Pulldown (3x10)
Seated Row (3x10)
DB Lateral Raise (3x10)
Hammer Curl (3x10)
Reverse Flyes (3x10)

Today, I dropped the lateral raise and did the exercises on this: http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/strong_and_healthy_shoulders

Cuban rotations with 20 lb db’s and the superset with 5 lb dumbbells.

I’m looking to find a workaround for the bench press that will be potentially less damaging to my shoulders and I want to find a bunch of strengthening rotator cuff/shoulder exercises that will enable me to make this not an issue.

I sent you a PM, hope you got it.
That healthy shoulders article is really good including the ‘tellekinetics’ linked article by jerry telle.
Review the idea of doing normal shrugs and lateral raise until you have built good - excellent shoulder strength and mobility. Am not saying don’t do them just postpone them and replace them with others to fix your shoulder first.
Also why would you do light weight over head shrugs?? The heavy ones should be your goal, its not just for warmup , it will help you tremendously with your OHP lockout.

Sounds like a fairly common type of problem to me. A search would definitely bring up good ideas. Find where cephalic_carnage describes proper bench setup (with scap retracted, etc).
When shoulders were bad I did not do lat pulldown/vertical pulling as I found it hurt me just the same. I experimented carefully with exercises, until I was left with just good ones I could progress on without exacerbating existing injury.

I’m guessing your shoulders are ‘forward’? I had to drop BB bench in favour of DB bench with a neutral grip (wrist facing obliques). My shoulders have been grateful. Other good things: Stretch chest and lats, though not aggressively (don’t force range of motion, the stretch should just feel nice). Warmup shoulders thoroughly, and do Ts and Ps (look up LYTP from Nick Tumminello) EVERY DAY.

PS face pulls are so underrated. Hope this helps


I’d never thought about my shoulder ‘orientation’ but my mom’s always yelling at me to stop hunching forward. They normally slump forward a bit. I’ve never tried db benching with a neutral grip, so maybe I’ll give that a go at some point. My benching didn’t bother me last time because I lowered the weight and increased reps and spent about 3x the time to get set up properly.

Also, I started a 5 circuit shoulder prehab thing by diesel crew that xydharth linked to. I’m going to be doing a circuit on every one of my workout days.

Haha, maybe I should start benching with a Trap bar!

[quote]ridethecliche wrote:
Haha, maybe I should start benching with a Trap bar![/quote]

Well mate, I have seen it done! However for me DB is superior as it allows me to slightly move the DB in towards my midline, as I squueze the pec near the top. I found bars that force me to move the bar in a curve that was not good for my shoulder health. The dieselcrew thing seems good, though like i’ve said before, I found some of the exercises to be harmful (such as Ys, as shown in ‘LYTP’). Find what’s good for you. Good luck with your situation!

Hell. I think I’ll try it on my next chest day with a trap bar, and possibly try db bench with my palms facing the obliques. I’ve never tried it that way. It shouldn’t change the pec involvment but if it works better for my shoulders, then that’s what I’ll do.

Thanks for the idea. I would never have thought of that!