Let’s be honest: Shoulder pain is very common – and sucks big time. I think everyone in our hunchback desk warrior society knows it all too well.
Back in time, when my days consisted of World of Warcraft and Dota 2, instead of working out and blogging, I had often shoulder pain. And neck pain. And lower back pain. Sitting kills, man. 😀
Nowadays I am still in pain – but it’s different.
It’s because of the sports, not the lack of it. Now my shoulders hurt because me trying hard to get better in handstands. It hurts because of the unknown way it has to work and the sometimes crappy technique.
Therefore, I can imagine that you have quite a history of nagging aches and pains, too. Everything worthwhile comes with its very own sacrifices.
Prehab is important and saved my *** 100+ times. Despite some aches and pains, I’ve never been injured. And I hope, I can continue this statistic.
In this post, I want to show you my favorite tips, when it comes to avoiding shoulder pain before it is even there.
If you are lifting with crappy technique, no prehab work will save you from pain. Period.
And I don’t talk about a subpar rep here and there. I talk about people loading movements, they’re clearly not capable of.
So – do yourself a favor and be peculiar in your technique. When learning a movement you will suck in the beginning and your technique will inevitably be horrible. But that’s going to improve. I see this ATM while learning how to stand on my hands.3
The thing is that you shouldn’t load these movements while learning them. One great example here would be the squat.4 Learn the movement first. When you can bodyweight squat with proper technique – load it. Not the other way round.
A warmup shouldn’t consist of some random static stretches. Don’t be the guy stretching their hamstrings before chest day. A proper warmup should get blood into your muscles, get the heart rate up and be active.
As previously said – 10 minutes of well thought of prehab work before every session will go a long way. I am very big into warming up and truly think this is a big one, why I’ve never severely injured myself.
Your end goal to prevent shoulder issues in the first place should be to get strong. Strong muscles gonna protect you from injuries.
With strong, I’m referring to well-balanced and functioning muscles. Muscles your brain knows to activate when needed and get the job done. Real strength is a mix of pure power, mobility, neuronal activation, and many others.
Therefore, good programming is essential. You don’t want to do too much or too little. You don’t want to get big without being functional. You don’t want to be a flexy-bexy mess without much control.
My 3 favorite Shoulder prehab exercises
I learned from this one from my fellow FRCs.
The Swimmer is a great exercise that takes your shoulder complex through all possible movement patterns. It improves your mobility and neuronal activation in multiple positions.
The key here is to go-slow and control the whole movement through your shoulder blades. I would suggest doing 3x5r of real slow quality reps.
Use it in your warmup or to work on your shoulder. Once you’re comfortable with it, you can even consider using weight plates*.
Shoulder Pain is complex. If I knew a general fix – I would make millions selling it. But, it is that complex that such a solution will never exist. So – f*ck my millions. I think I will sustain this loss…
What’s more important than money – are healthy shoulders. Better be broke and do handstands, than be rich and can’t get my arms overhead, isn’t it? 😀
I hope you got some insights into what to consider when addressing your shoulder pain.
There are a lot of other great exercises out there, but I think these three cover a broad spectrum for general purposes.
I hope that you are now well-equipped with these 3 great exercises. They will save you some issues in the long run, promised. And that’s what we’re in for, isn’t it?
Feel free to try them out and tell me your thoughts on these movements – or if you have some even better in your arsenal!
One big issue for me is my overhead press. As a consequence, I went back all the way to the easiest variation of an Inverted Press and am building my technique up from there. It works great but I have to constantly remind me to leave my ego, before the gym. I could do more reps – but not with perfect form.
Although squats have nothing to do with shoulder prehab. Buut I don’t give a f*ck!