T Nation

Shoulders are Killing Me. Help!

Sunday 8/24

Hey guys, I need some advice on my shoulders.

After going 4 weeks heavy on bench, I definitely need to de-load this week. Here’s what’s going on:

I hit a heavy 2-board press yesterday (Saturday). I singled a very hard 285 (which I did 4 weeks ago), and missed 295 (which was my goal and I was suppose to make).

My shoulder is killing me. I’ve never felt this much pain in my right shoulder. The anterior delt is just throbbing pain. The pain began immediately about 1 hour after my bench workout.

I did some band pull aparts and attempted a push-up but the pain was so bad just getting in that position that I didn’t even attempt one. 24 hours later, my shoulder still hurts.

I’ve been taking naproxen sodium (Aleve) every couple hours.

I think I did this to myself by:

  1. allowing my elbows to flare on 295, hoping I would get the weight

  2. going too heavy for 5 weeks now.

I was planning on hitting a heavy squat workout tomorrow (Monday 8/25). I now think I should completely skip squatting and just do heavy leg pressing.

My questions:
What can I do to accelerate recovery?
What should I avoid?
Any other tips?

Please help!!!

So far my plans are to:

  1. Skip squats --> do leg presses
  2. Do lots of facepulls, cable rows
  3. Skip all triceps extension work
  4. See how I feel next saturday, and if healed up, maybe do a very, very light bench press and work on form and just pump some blood into the areas.

What else should I do??? Please help. Any and all advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Ok, I’ve been sitting here in my apartment doing scapular wall-slides with a band and band-pull-aparts. Yeah, this shit is bugging me and I’m going nuts!! I want this thing to heal!

So guess what… the wall slides with a mini-band (I’ve never done them) for reps of 15-20 have my forearms burning!! Seriously weird. My forearms are burning.

And just yesterday I came across this:

Perhaps my forearm/bicep strength is holding back my bench and killing my shoulders???

I don’t know, but I’m down to try anything!

And what do you guys think about wall slides? I’ve never done them before until today.

rotations with 5 lbs for the rotator cuff,

ice it every hour for 20 minutes a piece for two days then u can use heat if ud like,
go to a theripist they show stretchesi cant explain that help alot

i had tendinitis in mine from volleyball
this could be ur problem so i suggest just talking to one

The injury to my shoulder doesnt seem as bad, but I got it the same way as you. For me it was painful enough that I had to stop working out for two weeks. I did just like bignate said, but didnt go to a therapist. Which if its that painful you should.

If you do incline bench and overhead press with a bar I would switch those to dumbells. Then you’ll only be flaring those elbows on one exercise.

Anybody ever use Tiger Balm?

A friend at the gym gave me some. I rubbed it all over my shoulder before my leg workout and my shoulder felt great. No pain at all.

Of course that was a several hours ago. My shoulder is good and hurting now. I think I’m gonna rub some on and wear a t-shirt to bed.

What are your recommendations regarding hot/cold treatment?

I’ve been icing my shoulder for periods of 20 mins. about three+ times a day. I don’t know if this is helping.

I know that cold reduces swelling (the shoulder looks a little swollen) and inflammation, while heat increases bloodflow but may increase inflammation. So how do you balance these two techniques?

Any and all advice is appreciated. Thanks.

If it’s still hurting and looks swollen, I’d seriously go see a doc. Shoulder injuries are a serious matter when it comes to training. Hopefully it’s just a bad strain or sprain, but I really would get it checked.

fyi, half life of Naproxin is 12 hours, so take it every twelve hours not every couple of hours.

Rest that shoulder, come back slow.

Well, I don’t think it’s that bad that I need to see a doc. I just need to stay away from the weights, be smart, and come back slow.

Truth is, doctors really can’t diagnose something that easily. Unless it’s something severe, like a torn ligament, they’re really only guessing, and they’ll just tell you to cease any aggravating activity for indefinite amount of time. Not really helpful.

Back in January my knee was hurting. I saw a doc. He said to get an MRI. Without insurance, an MRI costs $1,200. Yep.

I came back, told how much the MRI cost. He told me it’s a good time to be in the MRI business. He said just to take naproxen sodium everyday for 30 days and stop squatting.

I popped naproxen for weeks, went light on squats, and my knee was fine within a few weeks. Haven’t had trouble since.

Shoulder hurts a little today, but I think it’s getting better. It’s only been 3 days. I’m just being a bitch and whining about it cuz I wanna lift and get stronger.

Stick to game plan: don’t bench this week and play it by ear.

try front squats, find a safety squat bar, keep pushing up glute ham raises,… just don’t switch to the leg press, figure something out.

find some cheap fish oil and take 20-30grams a day for a week or 2.

try decline bench, trying arching more.

switch to a sheiko style program and get away from heavy singles for 3-4 months. Westside is awesome, but it sounds like your joints can’t handle it right now.

Shoulder rehab exercises/treatment:

  1. video of George Halbert doing a great shoulder exercises

  2. Internal & external rotation exercises

  3. Shoulder stretching exercises

  4. Supine press

  5. Anti-inflammatory rubbing ointment

  6. Joint supplement: http://www.usplabsdirect.com/catalog/SuperCissus-Rx-p-58.html


  1. Avoid singles
  2. Try triples
  3. Reduce volume & weight



Cuff Complex, I had a bad shoulder and used this to help strengthen it. I also found a local ART doctor and had him work on it. The ART was the best solution, but the Cuff Complex works to keep things tight and strong. I think the Cuff Complex can be found on EliteFTS.com. I have a copy saved to my computer for all occassions.


That George Halbert vid is interesting. I never thought of doing rotations while lying on an incline bench. I’ll have to try those.

I’m definitely going to start incorporating rotator cuff drills and other prehab type exercises into my training regimen.

I posted a question on EliteFTS regarding my lagging bench strength. Here is Jim Wendler’s response:


[quote]Larry10 wrote:
try front squats, find a safety squat bar, keep pushing up glute ham raises,… just don’t switch to the leg press, figure something out.[/quote]

I have been doing tons of front squats while my shoulder is healing. I figured out a way to do GHR in my gym recently and have been doing them too. I did throw in leg press to work the glutes (we have a Hammer Iso Leg Press which, combined with a wide stance, works glutes nicely).

Funny thing was, after about 6 weeks without back squatting and only front squatting tiny weights, my first back squat session was stronger than ever!

I put it down to the core strengthening I got from seriously pursuing front squat gains (and improving my planks and standing cable abs)

How are you doing on Naproxin? My old doctor prescribed that stuff to me and I found out I was allergic to it; it was very hard for me to breath while taking the 500mg doses. My new doctor prescribed me Relafin for the pain, as I was diagnosed as having early stages of arthritis in the shoulders.

See your doctor and get an x-ray. You could have some damage to your shoulder area or even be developing arthritis or any of the other -itis conditions.