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Last Updated on January 7, 2021

Don’t let shoulder pain keep you on the sidelines. These techniques will keep them healthy and strong.

Stop Pain, Make Gains

Shoulder injuries suck. They can impede training, cause obnoxious nagging pain, and severely hinder your ability to do the YMCA at your second cousin’s wedding. A study from the American Academy of Family Physicians found that an estimated 20% of the population will suffer from shoulder pain at some point in their lifetime.

Thankfully, most shoulder issues are preventable. Unfortunately, most people would rather drive cross country with ABBAs greatest hits on loop than attempt a prehab exercise. Perhaps you are a “bench press every day” outlier with shoulders that would make a Cirque du Soleil performer envious. For the rest of us, chances are some prehab and soft tissue work would serve your shoulders well.

Here are six moves that you can put into a warm-up or training session that can get your shoulders moving, presses improving, and YMCA skills grooving.

1- Face Pull

Face Pull

Recent training wisdom advises doubling your pulling to pressing volume (example: 20 DB rows to every 10 DB presses) to “save your shoulders.” Like other fitness “laws” there may be a little truth to that, but don’t freak out if your ratio isn’t a strict 2:1. The face pull is a great exercise that can develop your upper traps, enhance posture, and balance shoulder musculature.

How To Do It:

Attach a fitness band to a sturdy base at shoulder level. Grab the loose end of the band and walk back until you feel tension. Straighten your arms and let your shoulders come forward slightly. Retract your shoulder blades, squeezing your upper back as tight as you can. Pull the band in toward your face and hold for a second. Straighten the arms back out and repeat for 20-25 reps. This can be done as a filler, or as an exercise all by itself. 100 reps each upper body session should have you standing tall and proud. This exercise can also be done with a rope attachment at a cable station.


2- T-Spin Twist

muscular shoulders

Posture is huge in shoulder function. Knuckle dragging cave trolls in a constantly flexed upper back position (kyphosis) may experience more shoulder issues than their ramrod straight counterparts. Hunching forward doesn’t just make you look like a human question mark. It also brings the shoulder blades forward, diminishes sub acromial space, and prevents the shoulder from functioning as intended. The fix? Twist. Move the T-spine and reap the benefits of standing straight and moving the shoulders more freely.


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