T Nation

Shoulder Pain Deadlifting


My brother got some pain in his right shoulder on a 1RM deadlift tonight. (the arm that was facing forward in his mixed grip)

He says it's happened before. (I believe in the same shoulder too) Both then and this time it went away after a minute or so. He said it felt like a pull or like "a muscle being out of place"

The pain is in the shoulder around the glenohumeral joint and radiates about halfway down the side of the arm. EDIT: He says it was actually on the front of the arm. But near the top, not the bottom.

This makes no sense at all to me and I've never heard of anything like it. Any ideas?


That's an easy one. Palms forward in a (heavy) dead means

(a) he might be trying to curl the bar which would give him biceps pain (might not see any movement, but the activation might be there). A 50 lb. unilateral curl would be awesome. How much was on the bar again?

(b) he might not have the shoulders properly retracted, in which case the biceps is trying to stabilize his shoulder joint during the lift. It's harder to keep shoulders in position with a supinated (palms forward) grip This could cause radiating pain down the arm exactly as described. Had it before myself from bad overhead lifting form a few years ago.

The biceps can't stabilize the shoulder well and it certainly can't do it and assist with the lift. Oh and yes he is on the verge of pulling or straining something which will probably end his deadlifting, possibly forever (if he blows out a shoulder, that is).

I never DL with alternating palms. Had a biceps tear once and golly do they suck. Get him to do some heavy-ish rows (chest-supported, palms facing to his rear) where he really pulls the shoulder blades back and holds for a count of 3 at the top to activate everything. Then try again. Have him switch to palms facing back, really lock down those shoulders before starting & lock out those triceps before the lift.

Course, I'm not a trainer nor a medical doctor nor do I play one on teh Interwebz... YMMV

-- jj


Thanks for the advice! He was lifting 320. (very well, I might add)

He's been slacking on assistance work recently (rows being part of that) so that makes a lot of sense.

Case closed, I'd say! Thanks. :slightly_smiling: