T Nation

Strained Rotator cuff.. GRRRR..

Damnit. I was benching early this morning, didnt warm up, didnt stretch, never have, now will.

Put some weight on the incline bench, (which i normally always do, wasnt going for max or anything, i would call it medium to heavy weight) started it, struggled, it hurt. Went over to the deadlift, before deadlifting, theres like this sharp pain in my right rotator cuff.

Left one feels totally fine, right one feels strained. How do i cure this ?

I didnt bench or do any dips during the rest of my workout, and I feel pretty frustrated right now.

Theres a piece of frozen corn on my shoulder. PLEASE HELP! :frowning:

HA, welcome to the club! Hey Zeb here’s another one.

O.k. nate, time to start strengthening those external rotators!

Lay off the bench and oh presses for a short time, at least until you can balance out your strength in the upper back and delts.

You need to look up an ART practicioner in your area. It will not heal properly on its own, it will scar. I had this happen, and 4 ART treatments had me good to go…


“didnt stretch, never have, now will.” DON’T START NOW!

Stretching before lifiting can actually cause injury. You would MUCH better off doing a warm up of jumping jacks, jumping rope, jogging etc just to get the blood flowing. Do one or two warm up sets then start your work sets. Not stretching before may have saved you from a more damaging injury.

No wonder why those guys at EliteFTS warned against overhead pressing…

determined nate, hold on this will be a long one. This is a rotator cuff rehab program put together by a physiotherapist friend and myself. if you do these every second day for a month or so it will be like you never had pain to begin with. and the whole thing only takes between 5 and 15 min so its not like its a huge strain on your time. (my friend used this on his shoulder when he hurt hid cuff doing db bench with 120’s). These thirteen exercises are done as one huge superset no more than 10 reps per set and no rest in between.only one set per session. start very light like 2-3lb dumbells and only move up in weight when it gets way to easy none of these exercises should be done with more than 10lbs ever! here’s the superset: forward db raise up to shoulder height,
db flys (just like for chest only standing up instead of sitting down),shoulder shrugs, standing chest flys again this time start with your palms up(hands in front) and go to palms down(as your hands move out to the side), shoulder shrugs again only this time piching forward, standing chest flys again this time palms down in front and as you go out to the side go to palms up, shoulder shrugs this time pinching back, upright row, thumbs down-arms at 45 degree angle to body delt raise, upright row with military press, normal lateral raises, hammer curls, overhead tricep extensions.these exercise alone work your rotator cuff from every angle but here are some more common ones. 1)Interal rotator cable pull 2)External rotator cable pull 3)sitting down-external rotator cuff raise with elbow on knee(1db) 4)standing external rotator cuff raise(w/db’s) 5)laying external rotator cuff raise (with db’s). Be sure to stretch your shoulder out as much as possible too. You don’t have to do all of these exercises all the time;either the first 13 or the second 5 but not all 18. get lots of vitamins and minerals-always good for recovery. Also a really strong tiger balm is good to rub on the shoulder before or after these exercises to help warm up the joint and reduce pain. All of this stuff is cheaper than ART too. Matt Furey also has some good stuff on shoulder rehab. Also cheape than ART. hope this helps. PM me if you need clarification on some of the exercises.


He did this while performing “Incline Bench Pressing.”

There is certainly one very good reason to do any form of Bench Pressing: it will keepy the ART practitioners in happy! :slight_smile:


IBP is overhead pressing in a way. It’s fine as it’s not done ALL the time and with DBs with palms in neutral position. Maybe 3 weeks block every few months. 62 and Coach X explained these in details at eliteFTS Q&A section.

I would say that you have to look at the degree of the “incline” before a judgement can be made. I agree that if it is a steep incline it is more like overhead pressing. Lower incline more like a Bench Press.

I’ve got to disagree about the comment about not stretching before lifting. PGA, I know you know your stuff, but I daresay Ian King would disagree with you.

I’ve been using Mr. King’s “The Lazy Man’s Guide to Stretching”. I stationary bike or walk on the treadmill for 6-8 minutes then do a full stretching routine for about 10 minutes. Then I start my primary lift for that day and pyramid up in weight.

If I didn’t follow this routine, I can guarantee that I would be injured today.


This moron go straight into a medium to heavy weight WITHOUT any warmup!!!

Don’t blame it on OHP or BP, this could have happened on any exercise.

Not warming up is just plain stupid!

Nate, hope you learnt something from it??

Your injury is PROBABLY a minor, partial tear. IF that’s the case, time will heal it. “Time,” probably means months, not weeks, during which you avoid every movement that causes even a slight twinge of pain at the injury site. After all the pain is 100.0% gone, start the lifetime project of building rotator cuff strength, using a “Shoulder Horn” and/or the many rotator exercises that have become popular lately.
There’s a slight chance that the injury is a full-thickness tendon tear. The usual clue is that, even after a LONG layoff, very light pressing movements will cause the pain to recur within two days or less. If so, time will NOT heal it, EVER. Get health insurance, an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in shoulders, and an MRI. If your options are either surgery or life with a fucked-up shoulder, don’t waste time looking for “natural” ways to avoid the surgery.
I learned all this the hard way, through several injuries that started over 30 years ago and substantially trashed my delts. Hopefully, you won’t repeat my screwups.
Strength & courage,
“Coach Joe”

I hate to blaze on people but I could not resist this one…Thank you Dr. Joe for the diagnosis of “full thickness tear.” Too many people post medical advice that they perceive to know thanks to their own injuries. Full thickness tendon tear = rupture of the tendon. If this occured at one of the external rotators of the cuff it would be obvious. He would lose the ability to actively externally rotate his arm. Recovery would be in the form of an open procedure to re-attach the muscle to the tendon.

“There’s a slight chance that the injury is a full-thickness tendon tear. The usual clue is that, even after a LONG layoff, very light pressing movements will cause the pain to recur within two days or less. If so, time will NOT heal it, EVER.” -Coach Joe

How do you know it was your “rotator cuff?” I bet Eric Cressey just spit on the computer screen. It could be a million things. Labrum, pec, delt, anything. Judging from your mix of exercises, you probably dont really know what it is.

Thanks for the responses guys.

I iced it down heavily this morning, and then I was standing in a hot shower for a while. I think its maybe a minor tear, nothing too outrageously painful, just these twinges.

As for me not knowing whether it is a rotator cuff injury or not. You know, i really dont know whether it is or not. I suspected it, becuase I read that rotator cuff injuries are the most common injuries, especially when dealing with benching, over head presses things like that. But who knows? Maybe its not a rotator cuff injury.

As for not taking a warum up set, in the current program I’m doing I never took a warm up set and was fine. Prior to this program, I would do warm up sets maybe 50% of the time, the other half I wouldnt and I would never get injured. It seriously feels like im getting old.

And Yes, the program Im doing incorporates deadlifts and incline bench presses on the same day, I didnt make this crap up myself, a reputable fitness mind did, not me. So please dont criticize my “mix” of exercises and conclude that I dont know very much.

Once again, thanks for the responses. Im gonna rest it pretty good this weekend, lay off next week, see how it feels and take it from there. The shoulder hurt pretty bad this morning but its feeling ok right now, so I’m hoping nothing to serious happened.

I did read Eric Cressey’s article “Cracking the Rotator Cuff Conudrum” and I am for sure going to implement some of the exercises he suggests. But, rest for now!

And I will defintely start building my rotator cuff muslces from now on!

I dont think acute rotator injuries are that common in the average trainee.

Yes, Goldie, I did just shit a brick when I read that.

Nonetheless, I’m quite confident that we can diagnose this one pretty easily. It’s obviously genital warts; I’ve seen hundreds of incline pressing-induced cases of genital warts this week alone!

Acute rotator cuff injuries are actually pretty common, especially in ballistic deceleration settings (e.g. overhand throwing).

Three of my rotator cuff tendon injuries–leading to three separate surgeries–were each described by two different orthopedic surgeons as being “full-thickness” tears. They were not detached, presumably because they were not full-WIDTH tears. From the depths of my medical ignorance, could I confirm or refute these diagnoses? Nope. That’s why I got the pricey second opinions.
The take-home message is that a long layoff doesn’t necessarily heal all wounds. You’ll find someone in almost every gym who can’t do pressing movements, because he has been nursing a shoulder problem for decades, including year-long layoffs. Are these cases all rotator tears? Idunno! I do know that there comes a time when patience is no longer a virtue, and it’s time to get the damned thing fixed.
Strength & courage,
“Coach Joe”

I know that they are common in the average athlete. Ive done it more than I can count with both shoulders. But mine was in sports. I dont see it being that common in the weight room with the average trainee. maybe i should have said it that way.