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Shoulder(s) Starting to Impinge. What to Do?


I started getting this pair in my left shoulder in the front just an inch or so to the left of where the collarbone inserts. Doing the military press motion caused pain. I also felt like it was much weaker than it had been. I felt like I could apply a lot less force with that arm.

This happened on monday, but right now it feels okay.

I don't want to make things worse so I'm trying to figure out how to deal with it. I'll ask my physio about it next time I'm there (which should be soon), but I was curious to know how people work with this.

Would the diesel crew shoulder rehab protocol still hit everything necessary?


Hey Ride,

I find that I start getting impingement when I don't 'set' my scapula/shoulder blades. The couple times I have had impingement I noticed it could be alleviated by keeping my upper back tight and sticking out my chest. I'm not saying full out scapular retraction (pinched blades) but just making sure my shoulders don't slouch forward the slightest bit so that the shoulder blades are closer together. Having said that, hunched over posture doesn't help either. This has only been my experience. I hope it helps.

If that doesn't help me I usually get some soft tissue work done.


Yeah, it really surprised me.

I was doing a bench and incline bench workout. I hit up cable flyes after that and my left shoulder felt a little weak.

Then I did a light weight circuit and I felt something funny in my shoulder at the end.

I remember maybe aggravating it over last weekend when I was home doing pushups/scap pushups with my sister. It hurt to sleep on the shoulder that night so maybe that did it in.




You probably already know this but I also ice massage the shit out of anything that comes up, especially shoulders.


I really think we should do a unified 'shoulder pain thread', almost everyone gets it, and for some reason, even more so at the moment.

Anyway, what quake said about scap retraction/depression is perfect. It's a must, at all times, if you are prone to popping/pain at the shoulder joint. Remember that imingement likely occurs due to muscular and postural imbalances, as well as predispositions like the bones' structure.

However, one issue I have realised recently is that I (and others) who are predisposed to shoulder pain have a far greater mind-muscle connection with upper traps than low/mid traps. This makes the issue worse, as when you think you are depressing/retracting you back, you may be contracting upper traps. Foam roll the shit out of upper traps on alternate days. The rest day is paramount. I have a trigger point map for shoulder pain if anyone wants it.

Also, work rear delts, low/mid traps and rhomboids with good contraction, physio-band style at first. Only stretch chest, triceps and shoulders in a way that allows you to do it scapretracted/depressed, otherwise the seemingly-harmless stretch will hurt you.

I tried taping to inhibit upper traps recently, works beautifully, promotes proper posture (at least in the short term). Tape from acromio-clavicular area, over the upper traps, down the midback, so that the two pieces of tape (from the two sides of your body) intersect at T-6 or thereabouts) on your spine.

I would also chill on chest flyes of any sort, at least for now, as these have the same effect as the stretching (if not cautious, they will fuck up your shoulder). Chest flyes are basically loaded stretches.

The diesel crew thing looks okay, but honestly, it looks like it was designed for somone who isnt injured. There are many movements whic could hurt someone in your position. There mustn't be a 'one-size 'fits-all' approach. The main advice i'd give is:

IF IT HURTS (YOU) DON'T DO IT. Whatever the movement may be, leave it alone. Do what you can, and i'm sure there's lots more advice you can find in the search box. Hope that helps for now. Good luck mate.

PS also watch how you sleep, please! Lie on your back, and don't fidget. Lying on an injured shoulder is not a good idea.


everything dannyrat said is good...he's given me tons of advice and great info. Check out the 2 shoulder rotator cuff pain threads on this forum too, should be on page 2. Good advice in there!


Good info in there dannyrat.

I always seem to develop lots of shoulder issues when the weights start to get heavy. I am now following along a proper shoulder warm up discussed in one of the other recent threads. I feel like there is a knot in my traps that needs to be worked out, and I think I am in the same boat you mentioned in regards to upper trap dominance. I will try and remedy this now.


One other thing: If you're doing upright rows, stop. They're fine for some people, but cause shoulder impingement in lots of others.


A while back Tate wrote an article on this site about "The Band Man": http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/the_band_man

There are some shoulder traction drills in it that really helped me when my shoulder was causing me problems. Give it a try and see if it helps, if you don't have access to bands strapping your wrist to a cable pulley might work.

They can also be modified for people that get discomfort from the standard barbell version. I like to attach two small handles to one cable so that each hand has a separate handle. That change along with not pulling quite as high removes many of the issues with the movement. I had problems with the normal version so I avoided upright rows for a long time, but since I started doing them this way I've been able to do them regularly again and my shoulders actually feel better than in a long time.

On the other hand, upright rows isn't really a vital exercise so if there's any uncertainty one might as well scrap it.


Yeah, upright rows always felt funny when doing them so I dropped them.

I'll start doing some more scap depression and retraction every time I'm in the gym. Will also drop flyes and add more rear delt lifts. I already do facepulls, but I'll add one extra set of standing rear delt rows.

I've found that doing BB military presses don't bother me as much as doing them with dumbells because I'm not going exactly over my shoulder when doing those. I'll do the complexes I like with a barbell instead of dumbbells from now.

Thanks for your help.