Shoulder issues are quite common in Gyms. You would be hard pressed to step into any Gym across the country, spend a day there and NOT here 5+ stories of bum shoulders, things they can’t do because of their shoulders or just watch guys and gals rubbing their shoulders during a training session.
It’s not because the coaches aren’t doing their job. We work diligently to find ways to help make our Athletes’ shoulders stronger so they can combat the posture most people find themselves in today: the dreaded Quasimoto look!
So here’s the reality, shoulders are mechanically unstable allowing humans to do incredible things like whip a baseball 90+ miles per hour or do incredible routines on rings 9 feet off the ground in gymnastics.
But, we often think of shoulders as isolated joints needing to be strengthened separate from the rest of the body.
Bro #1: “Bro, I need to hit my rear delts today.”
Bro #2: “Yeah bro, I gotta knock out my shrugs to get my traps.”
Bro #1: “I figure if I’ve been doing rear delts for the last 4 months that 2 more months should clear up my shoulder pain, right bro?”
Bro #2: “Yeah bro, my traps have gotten huge over the last 6 months so I figure I’m one or two workouts away from being able to press overhead without wanting to pass out from the pain.”
We have to look at the bigger picture. Last week, I talked about the lats and how important they are for looking good but also feeling good, particularly in the shoulders. Similarly, the pecs are massively involved in almost any arm based movement that isn’t isolated like a biceps curl or tricep pushdown.
But, we often get so focused on doing more weight that the mechanics breakdown, thus causing accessory muscles to try and do the work of the pecs. And they can’t so there will be a negative consequence at some point.
So, here’s a great warm up for a pressing day or an accessory lift to crush your pecs after your pressing has been done: Dumbbell Squeeze Chest Press
Now the key is to actually create a squeeze during the entire movement range. Pushing the Dumbbells into one another will immediately activate your pecs and keeping that squeeze will help them stay involved through the range of motion you are capable of.
As you get better at creating tension properly, the range will improve and so will your ability to use your pecs.
The wonderful side effect of all of this: less shoulder pain and a greater ability to do all the fun throwing/swinging/twisting movements you used to do “back in the day”!