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Shoulder pain is a common concern and is caused by chronic pain and repetitive movement. It’s such a vulnerable joint in our body because it has such a wide range of motion, we often use this muscle on a daily basis as we require it for most functional movements.

If you’re experiencing shoulder pain during your training, or just daily tasks – stop ignoring those signs and consider determining the root cause of the pain.

Test yourself for shoulder impingement:

Sit with your back being supported by a chair or a bench and raise the arm (of your sore shoulder) to the front and overhead as far up as possible. If pain is felt in your shoulder then impingement is most likely the cause of this.

Other signs and symptoms may be:

– Pain during overhead press, bench press, and shoulder abduction.

– Elevated scapula when doing shoulder abduction and overhead presses

Here’s a little background knowledge on the anatomy and functions of the SITS muscles (Rotator Cuff) and how impingement occurs:

There are four muscles that make up the rotator cuff muscles

– Supraspinatus

– Infraspinatus

– Teres minor

– Subscapularis

Besides performing medial and lateral rotation of the brachium (aka. internal and external rotation), the main action of these muscles is to stabilize the humerus into the glenoid fossa (socket of the scapula). Since the glenoid fossa is a very shallow socket for the head of the humerus, it requires multiple muscles to stabilize the glenohumeral joint.

The most common shoulder impingement is the compressive force occurring on the supraspinatus

tendon. This occurs when the other two rotator cuff muscles, infraspinatus and teres minor, are unable to depress the humerus posterior and resist anterior translation of the humerus as shoulder abduction occurs. As the brachium abducts, the deltoid and supraspinatus pulls the head of the humerus superiorly and anteriorly.

If the teres minor and infraspinatus muscles are unable to resist the anterior translation and superior

elevation of the humerus, the head of the humerus will impinge the supraspinatus tendon against the

clavicle and acromion.


Correct Motor Pattern:

Scapulohumeral rhythm

– The scapula should be depressed and outward rotated when the doing overhead press.

Deactivating upper trapezius is needed to prevent elevation of the scapula during overhead


– While performing bench press, scapula should be adducted but also emphasize on scapular

depression to reduce the head of the humerus from superior elevation.

Muscles that need to be strengthened:

Teres Minor/Infraspinatus – external rotation with band + towel

– Have the towel in between your elbow and the side of your body. Pinch the towel as

you perform external rotation with the band or cable machine. The goal is to slow your

tempo and control the repetition at very light weight.

Serratus Anterior – scapular push-ups

– When performing the scapular push-up, concentrate on the end range of motion of the

concentric contraction. You want to exaggerate the protraction of the scapula but also

maintain the scapulohumeral rhythm. Keep the scapular depressed at all times during

this exercise.

Lower Trapezius – PRONE V ARM LIFTS

Lower trapezius is one of the most neglected muscles as the mass majority focuses on upper

traps. It assists in scapular depression and is needed to perform scapulohumeral rhythm.

– Lay prone on a mat with arms stretched out overhead. Keep elbows locked and have thumbs pointing towards the ceiling. Adduct both arms slightly to mimic the “V” shape. Keeping the scapula depressed and elbows locked, raise both arms towards the ceiling.

While you’re working on correcting your movements, establishing proper movement patterns, and strengthening you shoulder joint, we recommend these exercises should be avoided:

– Overhead presses

– Bench press

Any variation of bench presses and overhead presses should be avoided before proper

scapulohumeral rhythm is obtained.

– Lateral Raises

Lateral raises needs to be avoided because the supraspinatus helps shoulder abduction,

especially at the starting range of motion.

 *Always start with a lighter wait to perfect the form of an exercise!