3 Tips for Working Out With Bad Shoulders | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

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.

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...
Must See
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,083,698
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 7,134,231
Michael Jordan: Mind of a Champion
Views: 542,814

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: University of Kentucky Views: 297,020
Add Core Power for Basketball With Damian Lillard's Med Ball Throws Views: 4,255,927
Path to the Pros 2015: The Journey Begins Views: 28,363
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Outsmart Injury With These 4 Predictive Tests

Every athlete wants to avoid injury . Prevention can be difficult when there is no crystal ball to tell us when, where, how and why the injury will...

How to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field

Evan Gattis's Protection-Enhanced Catcher's Helmet

Tips for Working Out With a Hand or Arm Injury

The Future of Sports Injury Rehabilitation

Basketball Players: Prevent Ankle Sprains With These 3 Exercises

What You Need to Know About Tiger Woods' Back Injury

Why Strengthening This Muscle May Fix Knee Pain

5 Bodyweight Exercises to Prevent Baseball Injuries

4 Sports Massage Techniques to Relieve Tight Muscles

2 Ways to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

5 Exercises to Prevent ACL Tears

Quarterbacks: 4 Tips to Keep Your Throwing Shoulder Healthy

5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Muscle Injuries

Achilles Tendon Ruptures: Prevention and Recovery

3 Ways to Prevent the Most Common Hockey Injury

How to Treat Piriformis Syndrome

3 Causes of Recurring Hamstring Injuries

Impressive Advances in ACL Rehab

How to Bench Press With a Shoulder Injury

6 Simple Tips to Prevent Knee Injuries

7 Ways to Fix Back Pain

How to Prevent Baseball Injuries During the Off-Season

The Secret Weapon Powering Stephen Curry's Resurgence

10 Ways to Fix Back Pain

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Hamstring-Focused Workout

How to Prevent Injuries With 3 Yoga Poses

Eliminate Elbow Pain with These 3 Methods

Coaches: Prevent Injuries With the Recovery Management Tool

Connective Tissue: The Key to Preventing ACL Injuries

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

Bulletproof Your Body with 5 Easy Injury Prevention Exercises

5 Tips to Intelligently Train Through Lower Back Pain

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

The 8 Most Dangerous Exercises for Your Shoulders

Pectoral Tendon Ruptures and Injury Prevention

Predicting the Impact of DeMarco Murray's Hand Injury

6 Ways to Prevent Common Sports Injuries

6 Steps for Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

How to Train With Running Blisters

4 Strategies to Prevent Tommy John Surgery