T Nation

Shoulder Injuries-Need Help!


Two non-related injuries, one from rock climbing, the other from overuse at work (carpenter), I have nagging injuries in both shoulders. Specifically, pushing motions are particularly painful. I'm looking for suggestions on workouts and supplement regimens for this situation.
Essentially right now I am just trying to stay focused on lower body lifts (deads, squats, calf work) and core movements.

Any suggestions on a work out/supplements that would possibly speed recovery and maintain gains, or is simply backing off the best solution? Any T-Nation workouts you know of for just such a situation would also be greatly appreciated.
Help me out ladies and gents!! Thanks.


What kind of pushing? What kind of pain?

If you're not working out in the gym to counterbalance your rock climbing, that could be considered an overuse injury too. It's similar to the people who have problems with their shoulders from doing nothing but bench press.

What is your typical workout scheme? What gym exercises aggrevate your shoulders? Are you on any kind of stretching regimine?


At this point the best thing you can do is get evaluated by a doctor to determine the nature and extent of the injuries as well as the best course of action.

Injuries often don't go away by themselves and they can get worse with time when not treated properly, so be smart have get a medical opinion.


One more thing.

No one can properly diagnose an injury without seeing you in person, so it's going to be tough to give much advise on how to best handle your injuries beyond the basics of rest, ice, and anti-inflamatories.

Good luck.


Graphics man,

I mainly stick with heavy lifts and low rep ranges, typically focusing on the big three. I find that with work I can't do much more than that without overtraining. Most of CW's training programs that have this focus have worked very well for me. The gym exercises that aggravate my shoulders are those such as bench press, shoulder press or any other kind of overhead pushing exercises. Back squats also cause pain in one shoulder because it forces the shoulder back behind the head. For some reason this angle torques the shoulder.

Deadlifts, front squats, chin ups, bicep -tricep curl/extensions all don't seem to cause any pain.

I've been trying Arnica and ice the last few days, with some minimal results.

Thanks for the input, hope to hear more!

Point well taken. I'll have a doc look at them.


I've had a shoulder with cortisone injected for rotator cuff bursitis and tendonitis from bench pressing. It would hurt to warm up w/ 135. This sucks for a powerlifter that can bench 300+ pounds.

Here is what I did that allows me to bench pain free:

1: Scapular retraction - when I bench now, I purposely pinch my shoulder blades together, and keep them as such throughout the range of motion.

2: External rotations - There are several variations, you can do these with dumbells, bands, cables. Use all of these and DON'T go heavy. Keep the reps from 15-20.

3: Reverse flyes - do these bench over with dumbells.

hope this helps



I've tweaked my left shoulder several times over the years playing basketball and, most recently, doing Power Snatch. I had similar problems pushing after that. I could slowly get through a bench workout, but the day after it would kill. I couldn't do a lot of things rennovating my house (like painting, sanding, drywalling, etc.) b/c it hurt to lift and push a lot.

What helped me was really hitting my upper back and rear shoulders. Lots of rowing: Upright rowing, cable rows with a rope pulling to the face, bent-over rows, rear delt flys would work good too. Hit external rotators hard too. There are several good articles on t-nation about shoulder health and posture. I can't remember all of them, but the "Neanderthal No More" series has a lot of good excercises and info.

You mentioned that you deadlift. Depending on your particular technique and what muscles you focus on squeezing, it can be more or less effective for your upper back. Also, lots of pull ups (like from your climbing) can be harming more than helping shoulder problems because of the way pull ups can draw your shoulder blades down and forward (winging them a bit) which isn't good for the shoulder capsule. So while these are both back workouts, they don't necessarily focus on the areas needed for healthy shoulders.