T Nation

Shoulder Snapped Up Beyond Belief

Several months ago I saw a physiotherapist to finally try and understand what was giving me shoulder pain. Despite me asking her to explain it in-depth to me, she wasn’t particularly helpful, but I was able to understand at the end was that I have

  • a tight neck/tight traps
  • a tight chest
  • weak low traps
  • weak rear delts
  • poor overhead range of motion

I’m avoiding barbell bench pressing, back squatting and barbell overhead pressing due to the pain it causes, and I’ve got a list of stuff to do, stretches and therapy alike (some from her, but a lot that I found on the internet, as hers weren’t particularly effective) Knowing that I get shoulder pain benching, sometimes from doing push ups, or even just trying to put the bar on my back (INTENSE pain with that) given what I’ve said is wrong with me, and with the T-Nation lot being pretty knowledgeable and probably being able to suggest other things that need addressing, could you guys just let me know if the following exercises are good enough to resolve these specific problems - my problems are quite extreme, so just getting confirmation from others that what I’m doing is useful will just be re-assuring.

Done on different days, sometimes before or after a workout, other times just throughout the day, would these bring stability and balance to my shoulders, and allow me to bench, squat and press pain-free? Thanks in advance, I appreciate having somewhere to talk about this.

You need to balance your pushing muscles with your pulling muscles. What pulling exercises are you doing? Along with the assistance exercises you mentioned above, I’d make pulling exercises such as rows or pullups my main lift until the strength ratio between pushing and pulling was close.

your situation is VERY typical. You can take comfort in the fact that it is definitely fixable, it just takes time.

What you are doing so far is good. I would do it everyday as a standalone workout. You should add in some thoracic extension work. You don’t have to do every exercise on the list every time, but don’t get lazy.

When you are in the gym train the shit out of pulls. Rows, chins, pulldowns etc. REally hammer the shit out of your upper back.

Pay a lot of attention to external rotation and upward rotation too. Your shoulders are stuck in internal and downward rotation, which you want to fix. When doing exercises like external rotations and prone trap raises (do lots of these) remember it’s about rep quality, not about how much weight you use.

Try switching to front squats. The sad fact is that you may never be able to bench again.

[quote]smallmike wrote:
You need to balance your pushing muscles with your pulling muscles. What pulling exercises are you doing? Along with the assistance exercises you mentioned above, I’d make pulling exercises such as rows or pullups my main lift until the strength ratio between pushing and pulling was close.[/quote]

I’m doing a very simple, primarily compound-based routines. My pulls at the moment are barbell rows on one day, with deadlifts, chin-ups and rear delt work on the other.

[quote]rds63799 wrote:
your situation is VERY typical. You can take comfort in the fact that it is definitely fixable, it just takes time.

What you are doing so far is good. I would do it everyday as a standalone workout. You should add in some thoracic extension work. You don’t have to do every exercise on the list every time, but don’t get lazy.

When you are in the gym train the shit out of pulls. Rows, chins, pulldowns etc. REally hammer the shit out of your upper back.

Pay a lot of attention to external rotation and upward rotation too. Your shoulders are stuck in internal and downward rotation, which you want to fix. When doing exercises like external rotations and prone trap raises (do lots of these) remember it’s about rep quality, not about how much weight you use.

Try switching to front squats. The sad fact is that you may never be able to bench again.[/quote]

Glad to hear that it’s fixable, although the potential prediction of never benching again kinda sucks. I can dumbbell bench alright, just not barbell bench, bt I guess we’ll see.

I’m already doing front squats (tried to test out back squatting the other day, definitely not doing that for a while) I don’t have access to a lat pull-down, or many things that might be helpful, since I lift at home, with a rack, bench, dumbbells and barbell. That said, I’ll definitely pay attention to my back and make sure it gets worked hard.

Thanks

Going back to what you mentioned about back work and lat pull downs, though, I’ve been thinking about getting a lat pull down attachment for my rack

http://www.powerhouse-fitness.co.uk/bodymax-cf375-latlow-pulley-attachment.php

It says it’s also a low pulley, so along with pull downs, I should be able to do seated rows and face pulls as well. Would it be worth getting this, or would barbell and dumbbell training be enough? I could probably spare the cash, but I’ve been saying to myself for a while that there’s no need to buy more equipment - I’m a habitual shopper when it comes to lifting equipment!

I don’t know the equivalent in American dollars, but if it allows you to do seated rows as well as pull downs, I say go for it. Seated rows are my favorite horizontal pulling exercise.

I have this same issue buddy. Overhead press and bench are no longer my friends, and back squat can hurt as well. I’ve been using pretty much all the same exercises as you to fix the problem , i also use band dislocations, and get ART once a week for the last 7 weeks. I have had some improvement and have recently been able to add in the occasional floor pressing variations. I find that the bottom portion of the bench causes the most pain, and so i avoid too much humeral extension and use the floor press… and even before the shoulder pain started i did not have a major strength imbalance from push to pull. my training has been pretty well balanced with a 2:1 pull to push ratio. for some perspective i could bench 345x1 when i was healthy at 185lbs and i 1 arm DB row 125lbs for 15-20 reps and could do a weighted chin up +145lbs.

[quote]smallmike wrote:
I don’t know the equivalent in American dollars, but if it allows you to do seated rows as well as pull downs, I say go for it. Seated rows are my favorite horizontal pulling exercise.[/quote]

£128 is basically $200. I might check with them if it’s possible to do seated rows when set up or if you need to buy something extra, because to me it doesn’t look like there’s a low pulley handle on there. That said, the idea of being able to do seated rows is pretty damn appealing, and lat pull downs would be pretty awesome too since I’m weak as piss on chin ups, meaning it’d be an effective way to also train a vertical pull. And who can forget face pulls?

[quote]EllisUFC wrote:
I have this same issue buddy. Overhead press and bench are no longer my friends, and back squat can hurt as well. I’ve been using pretty much all the same exercises as you to fix the problem , i also use band dislocations, and get ART once a week for the last 7 weeks. I have had some improvement and have recently been able to add in the occasional floor pressing variations. I find that the bottom portion of the bench causes the most pain, and so i avoid too much humeral extension and use the floor press… and even before the shoulder pain started i did not have a major strength imbalance from push to pull. my training has been pretty well balanced with a 2:1 pull to push ratio. for some perspective i could bench 345x1 when i was healthy at 185lbs and i 1 arm DB row 125lbs for 15-20 reps and could do a weighted chin up +145lbs. [/quote]

Damn, sorry to hear that you ran into problems even with that kind of strength. Impressive stuff, glad to see that you’ve found something that works for you! I currently do band dislocates too, good shout though.