Pittycent, I’ll try help you as best as possible (might be a bit of a read).
In the past I’ve experienced severe shoulder impingement which lead to pain and difficulty with any chest (bench press) and shoulder exercises (shoulder press). I saw all my gains disappearing before me and it got so bad I couldn’t even abduct my shoulder and lift my hand to wipe my face.
Through further research and undergoing therapy I can proudly say my shoulder is stronger than ever and I would recommend rotator cuff exercises to anyone entering a gym. They only took me about 20 mins to do, and after a few week I noticed a significant difference.
#In easy terms, the rotator cuff muscles - subscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and teres minor- stabilise the shoulder and work with the deltoid through movement. It allows you to lift your shoulder and place it in an overhead position. Repetitive overhead activity can result in the supraspinatus impinging on the acromium process.
In some people the shape of the acromium can result in impingement while others will not experience any injury. In other cases the supraspinatus is impinged between the greater tuberosity of the humeral head. The muscle is pinched when the arm is lifted. See here for further explanations: http://www.physsportsmed.com/issues/1997/06jun/wolin.htm
#Although strength exercises can build specific parts of the body, the rotator cuff is almost always neglected in strength training. Try targeting and training your rotator cuff and you wouldn’t believe how using a light dumbell can cause you to shout in a great burning feeling, not a tearing way, but a good burn as if you’ve lifted the heaviest weight to date. For most people, regardless whether they experience impingement or not, rotator cuff exercises would take about 15-20 mins a week. For more rapid recovery, I was directed to train these muscles every second day for a few weeks, and what a difference it made. See here for shoulder exercises focussing on abducted external rotation, external rotation and internal rotation (exercise 1,2 and 3): http://familydoctor.org/265.xml
External rotation shown here in exercise 7, and a variation of shoulder internal rotation shown in exercise 8: http://www.nismat.org/orthocor/programs/upper/upperex.html#Ex7
After picking up around 10kg (22lbs) dumbell weight or even less, and performing about 10-12 reps and a few sets of each exercise, I can say the feeling is like a muscle you’ve never worked before that’s growing and begging for mercy! You can also find you can perform the external rotation exercise (exercise 3 - in first link) can be performed sitting and using your other arm as resistance, or a wall as resistance.
For me, after a month of following the program, when it came to bench I found the initial movement of pushing the weight from the chest to be significantly stronger.
#Other exercises recommended by the sports physio included: standing facing a wall with arms at right angles to the body and clenched fists. Standing slightly from the wall and with elbows in tight, pushing as hard as you can until your shoulder experiences fatigue. This can also be done facing away from the wall, standing with your back to it and arms by your side, and pushing your clenched fists back towards the wall and holding the contraction until fatigue.
See this image: http://alpha.health.yahoo.com/images/health/hw/nr551549.jpg
Image explanation: These exercises are similar to each other but differ in the direction you push your arm.
- Flex: Stand facing a wall or doorjamb, about 6 in. (15.2 cm) or less back, so that your toes are touching the wall. Hold your affected arm against your body. Make a closed fist with your thumb on top and gently push your hand forward into the wall, holding for 5 seconds. The force when you push your hand against the wall should be about 25% to 50% of your ability.
- Extension: Stand with your back flat against a wall. Your upper arm should be against the wall, with your elbow bent 90 degrees (straight ahead). Your hand should make a fist with your thumb on top. Push your elbow gently back against the wall, holding for 5 seconds.
#I also made some minor adjustments to my technique and lowered my elbows slightly towards my body, about a 45 degree angle when performing bench. This engages slightly more use of your tricpes but reduces the chance of shoulder impingement.
#Finally, these articles provide some of the best information on shoulder stretching and avoiding injury I’ve ever read:
Hope that helps.