Whether you are a runner, weight lifter, swimmer or a regular gym goer, everyone has some sort of shoulder issue. Shoulders are used in almost every movement done for your upper body. Curls, Presses, fly, rows and the list goes on and you have some level of involvement of the shoulder joint to help execute any particular movement for your upper body movement.

Moving your arm to the side or on front and Oh! there you have some discomfort and restriction in moving the arm in the same direction or it is causing some pain in a nearby region like upper back or neck.

That’s an abused shoulder you have there. You go to a gym and see people training their upper body and you’ll see them doing most of exercises with a poor form which eventually leads to shoulder problem. This way they start recruiting more of other muscles that are supposed to be secondary muscles, not to act like the primary muscles to be recruited.


As I personally train people with joint issues and muscular imbalances and I come across so many issues that are mostly related to poor form than any other reason.We focus on arms, shoulders and chest muscles development but there is one important aspect to consider that we do most of the stuff in front of us like typing, driving and most of the people are sitting hunched on the desk all day long have their anterior deltoids, pectorals, neck extensors and latissimus dorsi muscles tight.

Lets look at the structure of your shoulder joint. Shoulder joint consists of – Glenohumeral Joint – Your bicep bone sitting in the groove. Acromion Clavicular Joint – Your clavicle bone or collar bone outer edge and then you have Scapula or your shoulder blade on the back. Now there are couple of muscles that play crucial role in shoulder movements. Primary muscles, which are your deltoids, ideally intitiates the movements.

Then there are certain muscles that plays important role in stabilizing the shoulder when you are hitting your upper body and those muscles are – Rhomboids, rotator cuff muscles and serratus anterior. These muscles gives good stability to the shoulder joint to isolate the right muscles With this equation we generally have restricted external rotation of the shoulder joint.

Training shoulders safely and effectively_2

The Fix – People generally will start straight away with the warm up for the targeted muscles not thinking about the warm up of the supporting muscles. So one would should definitely start with working their external rotators which are teres minor and infraspinatus muscles that are situated near and on the shoulder blade.

My personal choice is using a thera band or any resistance band, make sure to start with a light band. You can tie one end of the band, almost on the shoulder height and hold the other end and keep your elbow right under your shoulder and keep it fixed in that position as you pull the band out.

Apart from working these muscles I emphasize a lot on focusing on the shoulder blade stability by working on the rhomboids, these are muscles situated in between in the shoulder blades and are primarily responsible for retraction and stability of the shoulder blades. Controlled rowing motion with a slow tempo rate and holding it at the end will make you feel these muscles in your back.

Never shrug while working out your upper body unless you are doing some movement to develop your upper trapezius. So work on these muscles in general before you start your upper body workout and then move with the targeted muscles exercises. One more very important thing I want to bring your attention is to not let your shoulders roll in front while doing upper body movements.

This happens quite a lot and doesn’t take long for your shoulders to dominate other muscles. So never let your shoulders roll in front and in order to this you shall always feel some tension in between your shoulder blades but again not dominating as the aim is to the let the main muscle do all the job of lifting and moving.

If you have any questions related to this topic feel free to e mail me

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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
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