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Powerlifters with 'cured' Shoulder Issues

What worked for you? I’ve pretty much tried everything. Rotator cuff work, 100 band pull aparts a day, tons of mobility exercises, long periods of rest, rolling,etc. But I still get some pain deep in my right shoulder that seems to be effecting my bench greatly. I know my form could use work but I definitely do my best to keep shoulder rotation to a minimum, engage back/lats,etc. I have an orthopedist appointment (rescheduled) next tuesday.

I know injuries are part of the game. But this has been going on for too long and my lack of progress on pressing movements is starting to get to me. Until I get things sorted out I’ll probably stick to some board/foam presses.

I’m not too far along in the iron game, but what i did was all of the stuff the STB had in his article on elite. That cleared up literally all of the pain i had in my shoulder.

Shoulder dislocates. They help my naggy left shoulder stay happy.

CS

Definitely make a conscious effort to improve your technique by tucking your elbows, activating your triceps and all that jazz. I have had a ton of trouble with my right shoulder and I have found what works best for me are scapular wall slides(I believe these are explained in an article on this site by Eric Cressey), prone cobras, and stretching the pectoral muscles. I’d say the vast majority of shoulder problems stem from muscular imbalances, so increase the volume of back work, and possibly most importantly, make sure your actually activating the muscles in your upper back.

Tons of band traction, dislocations, pull aparts, “shoulder tornadoes”, face pulls, proper technique…those are my main shoulder prehab things.

Oh, and my shoulders mysteriously got better when I was done with football and wrestling. This was also the time I started pressing heavy.

A few years back, while warming up to bench, I tore my pec, front delt, and one head of my biceps. It was a straw-that-broke-the-camel’s-back situation. That shoulder had been bad for a while already due to sports injuries that included a torn supraspinatus, torn labrum, and separated AC joint. My shoulder pain started fading when I started adhering to a 2:1 ratio of pulling to pushing. I’ve also had good results from icing after training and getting regular work done by a neuromuscular therapist. My shoulder issues have been nearly completely fixed, with only minor problems popping up from time to time. But I should mention that AAS use has been tremendously helpful as well.

Several lifters I know have also seen improvement after prolotherapy, but I don’t know much about it and have no experience with it personally.

Thanks everyone. Even though I’ve tried plenty of these, I definitely learned some more exercises/mobility work to add to my list haha.

YTWLs

I found keeping most of my pressing on one day a week helped. Also, for most training using a high bar position , front squats, or ssb squats. Do most pressing with a close grip or a medium grip. I’ve found chains to be useful. Pause the bb with chains and you still get to work the bottom range. Military presses seem to help my shoulder health when I do them with a high volume and/or reps. Cutting pressing sets short as soon as form deteriorates and making up for the lost work with volume.

Also, in this order:
-warm the shoulder girdle (high rep band pull aparts from different angles, wall slides, band face pulls, etc)
-soft tissue work (foam roller, tennis ball, golf ball)
-traction
-stretching

Also, doing curls and other bicep dominated movements.

And of course the upper back strengthening that’s already been recommended.

If the pain is deep while benching, the problem may actually be your squat. Do you use a low bar position, and/or narrow grip? If you are off season, try a cycle of safety bar squats, high-bar (olympic) squats, or even front squats, and see if that doesn’t help. A tight narrow grip in a low bar position puts a tremendous amount of torque on your shoulders, in basically an isometric from a disadvantaged position.

My shoulders used to bug me all the time when I competed, and like you, I found nothing that really worked. Then I took a few weeks off of squatting after an ankle injury, and voila!! no more shoulder pain while benching.

Not being frail as a bird always helps, other than that consulting a professional especially one you respect for their opinion is always good

ive found doing a ton of volume for shoulders, ie 10 sets x 10 & doing 1 set of face pulls to failure every single day has taken away every bit of pain ive had.

Also check out mobilitywod.com if you have not already. EP 176,143,140,102,103,199,183,286,101,116,229,164,86,158,211,80,137 and im sure there is probably a few others.

hope the videos help.

Heavy/5x5 rear delt work. ART treatment. Heavily stretching the pecs and front delts after every upper body workout.

Likely something in your technique is agravating the injury. I had a bad case of supraspinatus tendonopathy, 135 lb warmup was agonizing. I had a steroid shot into the subacromial bursa. Went through PT as well. I do external rotations, scaption exercises. I think the most helpful thing was to retract my shoulders during the bench. I set up that way and keep my shoulder blades pinched together. This actually rotates the shoulder blades to open up the subacromial space. Of course, this would potentially help if subacromial bursitis/supraspinatus tendonopathy was your issue.

beef

What worked for me was doing 5 circuits of 30 second pec stretches followed immediately by 10 reps face pulls, for 5 circuits after I’ve finished benching. I was following a sheiko program at the time, and did the recommended pressing volume.

Among other things, adding high rep shoulder horn in my warmups has helped. If you don’t have access to the device, check out ~:45 sec here. I felt this one was worth passing on.

You guys are awesome.

[quote]jacob-1310 wrote:
ive found doing a ton of volume for shoulders, ie 10 sets x 10 & doing 1 set of face pulls to failure every single day has taken away every bit of pain ive had.

Also check out mobilitywod.com if you have not already. EP 176,143,140,102,103,199,183,286,101,116,229,164,86,158,211,80,137 and im sure there is probably a few others.

hope the videos help.[/quote]

I’d like to add mwod #5 to that list and tell from experience that those drills works like magic. It’s hard to realize how f***ed up you might be movility wise, but progress is quick if you commit to do some daily work.

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I would get an MRI, and lay off of the bench and shoulder presses for a while. Do the rehab work that is mentioned above to strengthen and heal your rotator cuff muscles/tendons. I had the same issues that your describing and I ignored them, toughed them out. Next thing that happened was a pop and a crack during bp. I tore my supraspinatus from the humerus. Get it checked out, take some time off of pressing movements. That’s my advice.