3 Tips for Working Out With Bad Shoulders | STACK

3 Tips for Working Out With Bad Shoulders

June 11, 2012

Must See Sports Injuries Videos

For many athletes, constant hitting, throwing and pushing leads to shoulder injuries and chronic pain. If you’re dealing with shoulder issues, it’s important to take precautions while training. The last thing you want to do is aggravate an injury while you’re trying to get better for your sport.

If you’re dealing with bad shoulders, but you still want to make strength gains in the weight room, follow these three tips:

Change Your Grip

Don’t feel confined to the standard grip for your lifts. For example, the Barbell Shoulder Press, Barbell Bench Press, and Barbell Front Raise are all great exercises, but their standard grips can aggravate shoulder injuries. In each of these movements you rotate your shoulders internally, which can be risky if you suffer from rotator cuff issues, impingement syndrome or tendon and ligament damage. Applying a neutral grip using dumbbells (palms facing each other) can be a shoulder-saver, because it allows the head of the shoulder to roll back slightly, preventing abrasions within the joint.

Ditch the Bench Press

Bad shoulders do not mix well with the standard Barbell Bench Press. Even with proper back position and a tight arch, there’s still a high risk of injury if you take the Bench Press through the full range of motion. The standard hand position for the Barbell Bench Press simply does not do much to protect the shoulders. Opt for safer alternatives like the Dumbbell Floor Press, Dumbbell Decline Press or Football Bar Bench Press (with neutral-grip).

You can also feel free to ditch the Bench Press, because it’s one of the less functionally applicable "big" movements for power sports like football, basketball and hockey. Lying flat on your back while pushing weight away from you doesn't develop all the muscles you need to block, push or fight for position while standing on two feet.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

Pull More Often

If you have a bad rotator cuff, the real issue most likely stems from the muscles surrounding the upper back and scapulae (shoulder blades). Add more back exercises to your workouts to strengthen these muscles and improve your shoulder health. Here are some good examples:

  • Face Pulls
  • Seated Rows
  • Inverted Rows
  • Dumbbell Rear Delt Raises
  • Pull-Ups
  • Trap 3 Raises
  • Lat Pulldowns

Make these pulling exercises staples in your program twice a week and watch your shoulder strength start to improve. For more tips on improving shoulder strength, check out this series on building strong and mobile shoulders.

Sports can make you athletic, but they won’t keep your muscles and joints healthy. With the right action plan, however, shoulder issues don’t have to be a disruption in the weight room.

Lee Boyce
- Lee Boyce is a strength coach based in Toronto who works with strength, sports performance and conditioning clients. He contributes to many major magazines, including...
Lee Boyce
- Lee Boyce is a strength coach based in Toronto who works with strength, sports performance and conditioning clients. He contributes to many major magazines, including...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

8 of the Most Ridiculous Off-Field Athlete Injuries of All Time

The 8 Most Dangerous Exercises for Your Shoulders

3 Ways to Prevent the Most Common Hockey Injury

Why a Sports Hernia Won't Ruin Jadeveon Clowney's Rookie Season

3 Reasons to Correct Your Weak Links to Prevent Common Injuries

How to Bench Press With a Shoulder Injury

How to Avoid Softball Pitching Injuries

Connective Tissue: The Key to Preventing ACL Injuries

Will Joel Embiid Be Able to Succeed in the NBA?

Why Strengthening This Muscle May Fix Knee Pain

How Cristiano Ronaldo Can Defeat the Witch Doctor's Curse

Predicting the Impact of DeMarco Murray's Hand Injury

Why Your Shin Splints Aren't Really Shin Splints

3 Ways to Protect Your Knees and Prevent ACL Injuries

Should Pitchers Ice After Throwing to Prevent Shoulder Injuries?

Maintaining Your Lower-Body Strength After Tommy John Surgery

Tips for Working Out With a Hand or Arm Injury

The New Rules for Cryotherapy: Why You're Icing Wrong

Basketball Prehab: Exercises for 4 Trouble Spots

Evan Gattis's Protection-Enhanced Catcher's Helmet

Does Loss of Sleep Have Same Effects as Sports Head Injuries?

How to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

5 Exercises to Prevent ACL Tears

Bulletproof Your Body with 5 Easy Injury Prevention Exercises

Tommy John Surgery 10 Times More Common Than a Decade Ago

4 Sports Massage Techniques to Relieve Tight Muscles

4 Exercises to Fix Bad Posture and Help You Move Better

How to Prevent Baseball Injuries During the Off-Season

5 Tips to Intelligently Train Through Lower Back Pain

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Hamstring-Focused Workout

3 Causes of Recurring Hamstring Injuries

Impressive Advances in ACL Rehab

What You Need to Know About Tiger Woods' Back Injury

Pectoral Tendon Ruptures and Injury Prevention

6 Steps for Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

4 Strategies to Prevent Tommy John Surgery

Where The Best Athletes Get Better

How to Train With Shin Splints

Quarterbacks: 4 Tips to Keep Your Throwing Shoulder Healthy

How to Protect Yourself From Heat Stroke This Summer

How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field

Outsmart Injury With These 4 Predictive Tests

Avoid Low-Back Pain With These 7 In-Season Exercises

How to Prevent Injuries With 3 Yoga Poses