T Nation

shoulder screwing up my life again


History - partial supra tear more 18 months ago.

Everything had been fine for ~6 months then last week during mid trap raises (as per Alessi's The Weakest Link article) I felt a sharp twinge in the shoulder at the top of the movement, instant loss of strength, felt pain on the next rep and aborted the set.

External rotations are a little uncomfortable now too. Fairly consistent dull ache in the shoulder now - also felt an intermittent twinge during military press at the very bottom of the eccentric but otherwise no other triggers.

Any ideas? I'm exceptionally paranoid about my shoulder now .. the sightest twinge and I fear I'll be out of action for another 3 months as I was last year.


I'll try to be the first to say it:

Get ART.

In faith,


I've had shoulder problems in the past (never diagnosed - but once I couldn't bench or shrug anything more than 50% 1RM for over 6 months without pain).

However, what made a big difference in the life of my shoulders was doing something similar to the 100-rep protocol. Three or four times per day (nearly every day) I would do a couple sets of unweighted arm circles.

I started doing a set of 10 with arms straight out from sides and fists moving in a circle about 6" in diameter. Then a set of 10 about 18" in diameter. Then a set of 10 with full range. Then do one set in the opposite direction.

I worked up to doing a total of 60 reps 3 times/day.

It's important to find a "groove" that is pain-free. Try not to just bull through the pain for the first couple of reps until it loosens up. Find a way to do these so even the first rep has no pain.

You can experiment with arm-speed and hand position throughout the circle to alleviate pain and "clicking".

After a couple of months of this I was able to resume benching, and have been benching heavy (for me) and pain-free for two or three years now. My bench has gone up from an abysmal 200 to an almost respectable 285 in that time.

PS: I also discovered many rotator cuff exercises when I started reading this web-site about 18 months ago. I think they've been important in keeping my shoulders healthy as my numbers increase.

I hope this helps.


One of the greatest discovery's for me was the "shoulder horn". My left shoulder was destroyed from barbell bench pressing.

I use the shoulder horn twice per week with 15lb dumbbells and my shoulder has returned to normal. I gave up barbell bench pressing as I saw the damage it has done to me as well as many other trainees.

Instead of barbell benching I now do dumbbell bench pressing. I am able to handle a pair of 105lb dumbbells for a set of 6 reps. More importantly I have no more shoulder pain!

I also agree with TallBaldDave. I do arm circles almost every day before I train to loosen up the shoulder joint.

I know how injuries can make you feel. If its any consolation you are not alone. Hang in there and you will come back. Always remember it's not important to train the way any particular coach says. What is important is to listen to your own body and do what it says! train smart and you will train long.

Hang in there,



Thanks for the feedback.

I'd love to try ART but it seems Australia has barely discovered it yet - just the one listed in my state on the site and he's miles away. (Might give him a call anyway see if there are others not listed)

Completely forgot about those arm circles - was caught up in targeting this and targeting that (osteo & physio told me traps are weak, so Alessi's program seemed ideal - and it was til now) Just tried the circles and they felt good (hope diesel didn't see me :P)

Think I'll have to get rid of bar benching for good too .. had been easing it back in and doing ok but who knows, maybe that was the trigger and I just missed it.

Thanks again.


Just from my personal experience it seems that there are more ART practitioners in my area than are listed on activerelease.com. Keep checking around.


Ok done a bit more hunting and finally tracked down an ART provider fairly close to me.

They say he's a level 3, any idea where that fits into the grand scheme of things?


It's the most certification possible. I'd give him a try.