T Nation

Shoulder Injury Help

I know T-Mag has published a couple articles about injury prevention and rotator cuff health (ie. long live your bench) but I managed to injure my right rotator cuff and I was wondering what any of you folks had done in the past in similar situations. I have stopped all pressing excercises(sigh.) I am currently doing rehab excercises with very light weights. I have been continuing with back, legs, and some arm work. If anyone has some info, personal strategies they have used, supps etc. please let me know. Thanks.

Scan down a bit in this forum. I posted a very similar set of questions about a week ago and got some helpful responses… Shoulder injuries suck.

before I had my shoulder scoped, I went through rehab doing the normal rotator cuff crap 2x a wk for 4wks and it got increasing weaker. I did my own research and didn’t think it was rotator, I tought it was bicepital(sp) tendon. My Doc and rehab specialist thought cuff. To make a long story short, I talked my doc into scoping it, and I was closer to being right than him. Bicepital tendon was inflamed causing it to pop out of its natural groove making its own(due to me still training through the pain and rehab). He cleaned up the joint - I did my own rehab 1 wk after and w/ in a month Iwas back to pre injury strength.

In my case rehab made the situation worse. I would get an MRI to see whats going on w/ the soft tissue in there Doctors 9out of 10 times will claim rotator cuff when you have pain in the shoulder.

I’m sure Eric Cressey will drop by here and hook you up with a copy of his article “Cracking the Rotator Cuff Conundrum” (or just PM him, He’s a good guy)

I just went through the workout today outlined by Eric and I feel pretty good. It’s not a sexy work out but when you neglect the external rotators for so long you have to pay the price.

What kind of damage did you do?

Typically shoulder rehab involving only tubing exercises is a slow process for getting back to full activity.

The tough part of a shoulder injury is that some of the exercises are tedious and can become boring. People with chronic shoulder problems are typically those who fail to follow through and continue the exercises for a long time even once things start to feel better.

Here are some of my favorite R.C. exercises. Depending on the severity of your injury these may or may not be appropriate.

Swiss Ball Pushups- Feet on the floor, straight back, hands on the ball. Do sets of as many as possible. A fully inflated ball works best as it is unstable.

Variation- Get in the top of a pushup position with the elbows bent slightly. Straight back. Have a partner knock the ball around a little while you try to resist and return the ball to its original position as quickly as possible. Work in a range of 30-60 seconds.

Prone SB Flex/Abd/Ext
Lie on your stomach on a SB. Using approx 5 lbs. Raise your arms until they are parrallell to the floor x 10. Straight arm abduction x 10, raise the back x 10. Repeat 3-4 times

Shoulder Walk Ups
Using a box ranging in height from 4-8" get in the top of a pushup position with your hand in front of the box. Walk your hands one at a time onto the box, and then off again. Repeat 8-10x or go for time 30+ seconds.

The best method are manual resistance exercises (your therapist should know these patterns) in D1/D2 patterns as well as internal/external rotation. Be sure to work concentric/concentric as well as concentric/eccentric. 2-3 sets of each.

These will help with shoulder stability. If it is Biceps Tendonitis thats a different story.


There a several different kinds of rotator cuff injuries, not to mention a host of other shoulder injuries that aren’t related to the RC. I’d be happy to help you out (as mentioned above), but you’ll need to fill me in on mechanism of injury, location of pain, what treatments you’ve done, and exercises that aggravate the pain.

b dubs,
I agree with Eric you need to describe the specifics of your injury to receive the correct procedures for your specific injury as far as rehab is concerned. However, one method of treatment that I found to be effective no matter what type of injury it may be, would be accupuncture. I don’t know how open you are to alternative medicine, but I can tell you from personal experience this stuff works! If you need me to elaborate on the hows and whys of accupuncture PM me or email me at [not allowed on forum - MOD]

Thanks everyone for the help. Eric, I was feeling fine untill I was executing a single upright row while sitting on a flat bench while getting in position to do some lying tricep extentions. Sorry if that is hard to follow. But I believe that this one explosive movement caused my problem as i have never had any problems with my right shoulder in the past and I had already completed my bench and shoulder pressing for the week two days earlier w/o a problem. I felt a pinch and then nothing. I didn’t even notice it again untill the next night. This was three weeks ago. Pushups, bench, overhead press, and side delt raises are the main problems. Pulling excercises and rear delt work (bent over raises) and shrugs do not cause any discomfort. The pain seems to start in the medial area of my delt and causes a general pain that spreads out from there and can be felt almost to my elbow at times. thank you for your time. B


It sounds to me like you strained your supraspinatus, although I should be sure to note that I’m not in a position to diagnose you, especially in this context.

A little background on the supraspinatus from a PM I just typed:

It originates on the upper border of the scapula and inserts on the humeral head. The muscle assists the deltoid in abduction (raising the arm to the side, as in a lateral raise) of the humerus, although the muscle is capable of abducting the humerus without the deltoid’s assistance. In fact, the deltoid cannot become the prime mover of abduction until the arm has reached 15 degrees of abduction. In other words, this smaller muscle intiates the movement. The supraspinatus is of particular importance in preventing subluxation during overhead motions; this is why you see it injured so often in swimmers and tennis players. In fact, it’s the most commonly injured rotator cuff muscle.

I would recommend that you ice like crazy, avoid any exercises that aggravate the condition, limit overall upper body volume, and make an appointment with your doctor if the pain persists. An MRI might be in order.

Hope this helps. Take Care, E

Thanks for the help Eric, I’ll try the ice, rest for a bit and see how it feels. Then if it seems to be improving I will begin rotational/rehab excercises with very light weight again.