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OHP and Shoulder Injury Issues

Hey everyone. I have been having some issues with ohp and shoulder/arm nerve pain/injuries. I have seen a doctor and was told a mixture of poor posture and weak secondary muscles in my back area. I have seen a physical therapist and started working on exercises but recently when ohp it comes back. I’m starting to think I am working with too much weight but most of the time I am working with an empty barbell. Would it be better to use light dumbbells and slowly work up to the barbell or find something else to do instead of ohp?

There’s no fast fix for shoulder issues but what iv found to help is hundreds of pull aparts a day. Grab a band and do them whenever you can. Do them in between sets when you’re training, even do them when you wakeup. Also Facepulls in the gym as well.

Benching/ incline benching and not enough back work is what usually aggravates my shoulders. My shoulders love overhead press though, it has dramatically improved my shoulder health.

Too much benching and not enough overhead work throughout your lifting career is also a big trigger for shoulder pain. Whats you’re form like? Here are some Cues i stole from a tnation article for ohp and if you’re not using them already then they could help.

  • Pack your shoulders. Keep your shoulders down and back.
  • Keep your core tight. Train the core for both strength and stability to maintain proper spinal alignment during your press.
  • Root your feet in the ground. Push your heels through the ground and clench your glutes to create tension in the lower body and ensure a strong foundation to press from. ( so like a standing leg press)
  • Push your body through. Push your body through to ensure proper lockout position. Your ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles should all line up at lockout. Don’t make it a standing incline press.
  • Get your elbows under the bar. Your elbows must be under the bar at the start of the lift to ensure you’re applying all the force directly into the bar and pressing in as straight a line as possible.

My ohp form is weak. I’ve dont the lift before and pushed my shoulders back but not enough. When at pt I asked about lifting again and they checked my form and did mention that I pull my shoulders back but not enough. I have been working on pulling them back and engaging the shoulders more. I keep my core tight and only find on hard lifts that I struggle to maintain it. I will try the pull aparts and face pulls.

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My “secondary muescles” were giving me problems too. I tried to Depress my Shoulders, and do Face Pulls and Pull Aparts, but it didn’t get the results I wanted.

The “secondary muscles” were so weak, other muscles jumped in, took over, and I still wasn’t hitting the weak stuff correctly. My shoulders still rounded forward.

Then I saw these;

Basically, the whole Lift is depressing your shoulders. It really allowed me to Focus on the specific area/muscles and back position I really needed.

After 4-5 weeks of Pull down type shrugs, face pulls and band pull Aparts were more effective.

Then I could do super light Delt Raises (with 5 pound plates held in my hands) for high, high reps, pain free. Rows and regular Pulldowns felt better and stronger.

After a few weeks of that I could do super light seated presses( with light kettlebells) for sets of 15-20 without pain.

It’s been a few weeks, now I’m doing pretty light presses for high reps, still pain/issue free.

So, yeah;

Practice/ Strengthen to motion and “secondary muscles” involved in getting your shoulder back and down.

Do your lifts with improved, stronger, better shoulder position.

Once you can Do them Pain Free, Do dumbbell presses, light, with proper shoulder/back position. Build some shoulder meat.

It would help to see your whole workout.
You may be over-working some areas and under-working others.
I am wondering if you are doing enough back work in general.

I will try those as it sounds like what I am experiencing.

So I was doing a split work out with one day being squat, bench press, barbell row, reve of ohp rse flys and curls. The other day was a front squat, ohp, deadlift, lat pull downs and ab work. Now my workout is the 5/3/1 program where I do either one main lift per day or combining lifts. So for ohp it would be with the deadlift or by itself. I do three warm up sets, three working sets and 5 sets of 10 reps as accessory work.