T Nation

Shoulder Woes

Guys, I’m having a bit of a problem with my left shoulder and I’m wondering if it might stem from improper development. For the past year (probably more) my shoulder routine consisted of overhead work–dumbells, barbells, machines, whatever–and almost nothing else. Every month or so I’d work in some lateral raises and bent over lateral raises, plus any work I’m getting from some back exercises, but not much other than that.

Fast forward to today, and I believe I’ve developed the anterior head in line with the rest of my body, but it feels as though the lateral and posterior delts are lagging. Just recently I’ve had some discomfort in my left shoulder and it’s led to some issues…things like my bench not only stalling but actually going down, and a slight discomfort when doing overhead lifts.

I’ve taken a few weeks off the past 2 months, but it doesn’t seem to help. Now my questions are, 1) has anyone else experienced something similar to this? 2) Is it possible to develop the other two heads without the anterior firing (as I heard that an overdeveloped anterior head actually hinders the development of the other two because it takes over most of the work)?

  1. Is this worthy of a visit to the doc (as I said, it’s a mild discomfort, and it hasn’t gotten any worse the past few months, it just hasn’t gone away)? Certainly I’m the only one who can TRULY answer that last question, but I’d love to hear from some people who’ve had similar issues.

As always, thanks for the help!

What is your military press?

Heavy lockouts are good way to focus a lot of stress on the lateral head.

Are you doing any external rotator cuff work?

Well, I doubt pain would come from a developmental imbalance of your shoulder heads (I’m no doctor mind you), most guys who train are somewhat disproportional. I rememeber reading an old (I mean OLD) article on here about Should Impingement Syndrome (SIS), try a search on that

-Stu

[quote]wsk wrote:
What is your military press?

Heavy lockouts are good way to focus a lot of stress on the lateral head.

Are you doing any external rotator cuff work?[/quote]

I never max out, but my 5rm is 185 on military presses, seated dumbell raises are 75’s for 5.

As far as rotator cuff work, I’ve added external rotations with cables for the past month. I’ll continue to do that and I’ve decided to stop all overhead movements for a few weeks.

Where in your shoulder do you feel the pain? does it feel like a pain in the muscle? or Joint?

More likely you need some time off, or at the very least time away from presses. How much time did you take off before?

A muscle imbalance can cause pain but not directly. It may cause something like a change in technique that would cause shoulder impingement, then the reason for your pain is impingement not the imbalance. If you simply add lateral raises and rear delts but continue to do presses with the impingement it may continue to get worse.

If you feel pain in your regular daily activities that doesn’t go away when you stop lifting you should see a doctor. Otherwise you may just want to use the various shoulder articles on this site. Read all of them they are pretty good.

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
Well, I doubt pain would come from a developmental imbalance of your shoulder heads (I’m no doctor mind you), most guys who train are somewhat disproportional. I rememeber reading an old (I mean OLD) article on here about Should Impingement Syndrome (SIS), try a search on that

-Stu
[/quote]

Thanks, Stu. I’ll do a little search tonight for that article.

[quote]Airtruth wrote:
Where in your shoulder do you feel the pain? does it feel like a pain in the muscle? or Joint?

More likely you need some time off, or at the very least time away from presses. How much time did you take off before?

A muscle imbalance can cause pain but not directly. It may cause something like a change in technique that would cause shoulder impingement, then the reason for your pain is impingement not the imbalance. If you simply add lateral raises and rear delts but continue to do presses with the impingement it may continue to get worse.

If you feel pain in your regular daily activities that doesn’t go away when you stop lifting you should see a doctor. Otherwise you may just want to use the various shoulder articles on this site. Read all of them they are pretty good.[/quote]

Air, thanks for the response. It seems the pain is in the joint, though as I said it’s pretty minor, so it’s hard to tell.

I’ve previously only taken a week off at a time from overhead work. I think, as I mentioned before, I’ll take a month or so off from overhead work and focus on developing the lateral and posterior heads.

I’ve been reading up on some of the shoulder articles on here, definitely some good information. Most of it is training info, but there’s some good stuff on rehab and the mechanics of the shoulder joint that I’ll focus on.

Yes most of it is training information but alot of the exercises are known rehab exercises for different shoulder injuries and shoulder problems. The reason I mentioned them is that I didn’t feel like going through the exercises.

While its good to develop lats and rear delts, I would think you would decrease your pain faster if you work on your shoulder flexibility. Band Pull downs, dislocates (maybe, though I don’t like these), pull overs, push-up+, and circles… When you bench for a while don’t bring the bar to your chest just to where the elbow makes 90%. Or stay away from it totally and use corner press.

Good luck though