T Nation

Shoulder Cracking


Is it normal for the shoulders to make "cracking" noises? From what I notice I am pretty much the only person I know that has this issue. They're not painful but they're a little(just a little) bit uncomfortable.

It seems to happen when I move my shoulders, for example when gesticulating or when I haven't moved them in a couple of minutes and I think they crack a bit more often when moving them on a longer ROM. They've done this before I started lifting and the training doesn't really seem to have any impact on the "cracking" noise.

I don't do any shoulder pre-hab(I suppose it's probably a good idea to start with some of EC's stuff) and my training in the last month has become more overhead pressing dominant with almost no benching(I bench PL style).


I am a beginner as well and I was having some trouble with my shoulders too. I could hear cracking and crunching noises (sounds of shoulder death as I like to put it) with any direct shoulder work, over head pressing and eventually it spread to bench pressing as well, esp. when I did it first thing in the morning.

I am lucky enough to have the benefit of a trainer and he had me stop any over head presses and direct shoulder work for a week, until it stopped aching. I took alot of ibuprofen to deal with the inflammation and eventually he ended up taking all direct shoulder work out of my routine.

So far the sounds of shoulder death have stopped and bench pressing isn't an issue anymore either

I don't know if this helps you at all but it is working for me so far. good luck.


Both of you should search for and read Eric Cressey's "Shoulder Savers" series of articles. They are on this website in the articles area.


I have the exact same problem. It is most likely harmless.

I can also crack my knee and elbow joints, my neck, my spine (by twisting), knucles, etc.

You might just have loose joints like me.

The difference being I have always had this and it has only gotten more noticable (in my shoulders) since my strength training has over developed some of the major muscles (pecs) which tends to pull my shoulders foward.

I also sit at a desk all day at work which makes it worse.

I went to a doctor and asked his professional opinion of course and he said it was nothing. Then I went to a physio and he said it was also nothing but has given my some exercise to strength the shoulder muscles.

If this is something accute with you (that is it just started happening all of a sudden) - GO AND SEE YOUR DOCTOR!

I combat the rolled foward shoulders by incorpating some horizontal pulling movements (rows) into my training. I have not noticed a difference yet however.

I'm not sure if I would call this "shoulder death". There is a difference between a painful grinding and cracking (like you do your knucles).