HOW TO WORK OUT if you have Shoulder Pain
Life happens, and so do injuries, but that doesn’t mean you should have to sideline your workouts entirely.
First of all: Can you work out with a shoulder injury? That’s a question you need to answer with your doctor or physical therapist. If you get the go-ahead to work out, heed any advice or exercise limitations your medical professional recommends.
There are several types of shoulder injuries, so getting the bottom of what’s going on is important. There are actual tissue damage injuries like a torn tendon/rotator cuff, and then there are overuse injuries such as tendonitis and bursitis, There are also wear and tear injuries that come with age that can happen, such as impingement issues and osteoarthritis. If you have been diagnosed with a TEAR, It is important to let your doctor advise your workout, NOT this guide.
As a starting point, you should avoid:
- Overhead BARBELL pressing exercises such as the Military press, Bench press and Incline pressing exercises
- Movements that compress the shoulder, such as downward dog
- Any dip variation
The only thing that heals you is your own body over time, and avoiding things that will exacerbate your injury are of the utmost importance. Here is a guide to exercises that avoid aggravating your injury, allow it to heal, and strengthen the uninjured parts of your shoulder.
ONCE AGAIN - if diagnoses with a TEAR - this guide is NOT for you - ask your doctor or therapist.
You’re going to need to take things slow, be consistent with your rehab, and ease back into workouts slowly.
Here are 3 tips for changing your workout regime while your shoulders recover:
Tip #1: Switch your grip.
If your grip is rotating your shoulders externally, you run a higher risk of injury. It can lead to shoulder impingement and rotator cuff problems. AVOID using a barbell, use a NEUTRAL GRIP and use dumbbells, cables or bands . This means your palms are facing each other, and it also means the tendon space in your shoulder is not narrowed so you can allow healing and avoid reinjury.
Trip #2: If your shoulder hurts, AVOID THE BARBELL
This doesn’t mean you can’t do chest or shoulder presses. It just means you shouldn’t do chest / shoulder presses with a barbell. The barbell puts your shoulder in and externally rotator position which causes tendon impingement. There are numerous other ways to do these exercises. You can use dumbbells as aforementioned, or try to incorporate more chest push-ups with narrow grip into your routine.
Tip #3: RESTORE your SHOULDER POSTURE - Perform more pulling exercises.
Rotator cuff injuries frequently arise due to a weak upper back. These upper back muscles help hold your posture in place and may be the reason you experience bad shoulder pain. When your shoulders are forward or hunched, the space under the acromion for your tendon is narrowed and can cause impingement and injury. You can work these muscles and restore your posture via pulling motions, such as rowing, high rowing, reverse fly with machine or cables, pull-ups, and pull-downs. Make sure to include these in your upper body routine for a balanced fitness program. Start your chest/shoulder day with 3 upper back RETRACTION exercises
Shoulder Rehab: Don’t Forget About ROM and STRETCHING
While you’re at it and if you’re suffering from a shoulder injury, make sure to focus on your range of motion. If the pain becomes severe, we also recommend seeking out the advice of your healthcare provider.
However, if you don’t move your shoulder, you may risk a frozen shoulder. Try passively moving your shoulder through each direction. This may involve the use of stretching and pulleys. You may also choose to use the wall to crawl your hand upward to stretch.
Furthermore, if the injury has just happened, and you would rather avoid the shoulder initially, focus on working out your core and lower body. Bad shoulders don’t have to ruin your workout. There are many other ways you can work up a sweat!