T Nation

Shoulder Imbalance

I mentioned this imbalance briefly in a post before but didn’t get too much input.

I’m dealing with an old skiing injury where I dislocated and broke the “ball” off at the end of the humerous where it attches at the shoulder socket. I was immobile with that shoulder/arm for about 5 months (this was 10 years ago). I went through moderated physical therapy…mostly stretching excercises to try and get full range of motion back.

I have since been plagued with a weak and signicantly smaller shoulder (my left…which is already the weak side). The front deltoid is the biggest problem and I have tried all the training tips with little success (i.e. - use DB exercises, lift w/ weaker arm first, use same weight as stronger arm). I have injured my rotator cuff now twice trying to “catch it up”.

Is it possible that the muscles/ligaments attached themselves to the bone differently after the injury preventing proper growth (this is a long shot…no idea really)?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. After all this time (pretty consistent training for the last 4 years), I feel like I am not making any headway.



Here is the right shoulder (bigger/stronger)

Im going to assume that the surgury was done by a competnent doctor and everything was reattached properly and there aren’t any un-fixed tears in any of the ligaments, labrum, or cuff muscles. I would then look at the stability of the shoulder itself, if there is any capsule laxity or general instability in the joint. You will not be able to get the area bigger/stronger in the presence of significant instability, it’s your bodies way of protecting the unstable joint. There could also have been nerve damage in the area from the injury. Obviously this is impossible to diagnose over the internet. Your best bet is to find a neuromuscular therpist and/or high level physical therapist to assess the shoulder. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and the therepist will do both. If ligament laxity is the problem you could always look into prolotherapy. Checkout www.bonesdoctor.com

Are you doing any rotator cuff work? If not you are asking for trouble by focusing on the front delts.

I recently purchased a Shoulder Horn for strengthening the rotator cuff, but I have not had it long enough to determine it’s effectiveness.

The literature that came with the Shoulder Horn described the shoulder socket as being like a tent on a tent pole. If one of the supporting wires is missing, the whole thing collapses.

Best desription I had heard.

I have a similar issue, but my left trap is more developed than the RHS. This is due to a subluxing of the shoulder joint.

I would have to concur with the suggestion of a neuro physio. It soumds as if you will have to teach the musle again.

The rotator cuff exercises ertainly would help.

search this site.

Whenever I have shoulder problems, the root always leads to the same two things - Flexibility, and rotator cuff.

My shoulder is very flexible in all external rotations, but is tight on the internal rotators. So i work on both, paying more attention to my internal rotators. Maybe you should do the same. If you look around and search on google you can find great ways to check your internal and external rotators. Like anything else they should be balanced. So make sure they are strong and flexible.

Start doing more stretches and see where it is you are lacking in comparison to your stronger limb.

One more thing i read an article here a while ago that said the weight you use on yor external rotations should be approximately 10 percent of you close grip bench press. Now im not sure what the exact percentage was, but i believe the article was titled achieving structural balance. Look into that, it shares a wealth of knowledge. Since i have doen that my shoulder’s have really leveled out, but now with baseball season my right side looks like its taking all the attention.