Solutions for Shoulder Pain

Another compilation of strategies & tactics I’ve learned past 12 years

FYI, this isn’t medical advice (although some of it could be), I cannot diagnose your specific issue over twitter

That said, some of these will definitely help you… 

1. Facepulls

I learned back in 2011 when I got TRX certified

The exercise is restorative, builds muscle where most people lack it, counteracts bad posture, strengthens the rotator cuff

It does A LOT. I consider it a tonic movement, it can help almost any shoulder issue 

It looks like this

I prefer it to be done with a TRX, but cables and ropes work as well, So can bands

its not a movement you ever do heavy, moderate to high reps

Start with doing 1-2 sets every day, 10-20 reps, for 4 weeks

2. Proper Strength Training IS Rehab

This is a concept/principle, not an exercise, but its one that you need to internalize

People have this mistaken idea that strength training “breaks you down”, and then prehah/mobility is how you stay healthy

This is false. 

Proper training SHOULD enhance your orthopedic health, not destroy it.

If your training has “broken” you in some way, you need to critically evaluate both your exercises and your beliefs 

3. Lateral Raises

In the spirit of the prior point, properly done lateral raises are the best way to develop the medial deltoid, and they contribute to the overall strengthen and integrity of the shoulder joint

Lateral raises have been for CENTURIES, millennia even

I actually discuss this at length in my Ancient Athletics thesis

Using hands weights and raising the arms out to the side gets you more powerful shoulders, and can be done with high frequency

4. Dead Hangs

These have been popular for awhile now

A point is often made that they “decompress” the shoulder joint, which is true, but they also stretch the ENTIRE fascial system of the body, from the hand down to the feet

As most people live in a state of chronic… 

tension, I think the movement has more holistic effect than “just” the shoulders, although the shoulders are the main joint that gets helped

Start with hanging with both arms 30-60 seconds, and gradually build up to one arm at a time

5. Do More Horizontal Rows

Crazy idea that is overlooked by nearly everyone: If Your upper back is REALLY STRONG, you are far less likely to have shoulder “issues”

Your scapula function is what determines shoulder function.

So train all the muscles that move the scapula

6. Bodyweight Rows

This is my favorite horizontal row. Its a great test of bodyweight strength, the setup is the same for anyone regardless of bodytype, and its the most biomechanically “friendly” row you can do

Aim to do 20 in one set

7. Chest Supported Row

Can be done with T-bar, machine, bench and DBs

Joint friendly, biomechanically works for everyone, and builds all of the muscles of the upper back

Simple rep scheme, 2-5 sets, 8-10 reps each set

8. Donnie Thompson Bowtie

This was invented by @superD3k

Its a great device, it puts your humerus into anatomical neutral and reinforces aligned posture

You can wear it while training, I highly recommend

9. Trap 3 Raise

Very fortuitous that Ben Patrick posted this video earlier today

This is a great movement for overall joint function and muscular integrity of the upper back

Do this twice a week, 2-4 sets of moderate reps 8-12 range

10. Train your Rear (posterior) Delts

Some coaches might advocate you dont need to train rear delts by themselves, but Ive had my clients do it for years with great results

Rear delts respond well to HIGH reps (10-20 range)

11. Press on a HIGH INCLINE not overhead

Not everyone has the anatomical structure to press straight overhead without pain/impingement

don’t force people into exercises that don’t work for them

If you want to press, try pressing from a high incline angle… 

John Meadows was a big fan of this, and he demonstrates a high incline smith machine press here

Again, these are all strategies Ive covered at length in my very excellent, informative, and unparalled newsletter

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