T Nation

Shoulder Workouts


I am looking to put together a program to toughen up shoulders for overhead lifts. I see a lot of great info here regarding fixing muscle imbalances / impingemets / flexibility etc. I do these now and they definitely help but when it comes back to increasing the weight again and driving heavier ( well, heavier for me ) weights overhead, my shoudlers consistently just seem to break down over the course of a few workouts and the pain returns and then have to repeat the whole heal/rest/rebuild process.

A lot of the info I have read regarding balancing/toughening shoulders seem to be lot more focused on shoulder problems related to benching. Believe it or not I have very little problems with my shoulders while benching, I just avoid benching too much as I don’t want to overstrengthen my pecs as that tends to exacerbate the overhead pressing/jerking problem. I am wondering if dealing with muscle imbalances stemming from overhead pressing/jerking might be somewhat different than counteracting those for benching?

Anyway, I also notice that being 45, I unforuntately just don’t have the muscle mass in my upper body / arms that I used to so at this point I’m also just wondering if maybe I should be toughening by doing some bodybuilding and focusing on hypertrophy in upper body and just shelve the OWL stuff long term. :frowning:

Anyway, I am looking for a program suggestion to “toughen” my shoulders so I can drive weights overhead consistently. Actually, because of this ongoing problem my overhead goals have become very modest indeed! If I could simply military press / jerk 100 lbs or so for reps consistently workout after workout without any “breakdown” I would be pretty damn happy as it would be real progress at this point.


How long is your “heal/rest/rebuild process”. I’ve been at it for a couple of months now, and I’ve seen some improvement but I’m not ready to start benching just yet.
Also, you might want to continue with the shoulder routine after you’ve decided to start working over head again.
Over head moves are more taxing on the shoulders than flat benchpresses.

Good question… maybe a couple weeks off until no pain during movement, then a couple weeks doing cuff flexibility/strengthening till feeling good, then re-introducing some very light movements for a couple weeks w/ no pain, then gradually increasing weight w/ no pain… and then boom! what i believe is impingement pain and it comes on pretty strong in both shoulders like a wave usually right after i release tension.

I have an appointement to try an ART treatment this week but I’m skeptical. Lately, wondering if I have some tears that might be the real cause of the impingement. I hear that after the age 40 the presence of tears is more likely.

I also hope the ART chiro will be able to evaluate the extent of cuff damage in addition to trying to clean up the scar tissue etc. I’ll let you know how the ART thing works out in case you’re interested. I’m kinda skeptical but I read about that bodybuilder ( Milos something ? ) and some others who’ve had great results with ART shoulder treatment but I guess it all depends on how much tissue damage has already occurred, etc…

I hope you are benching comfortably again soon!

Try the “8 Weeks to Monster Shoulders” article in the Archives. I have a “twinge” occasionally in one shoulder, and this was a big help!