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Jun 25th, 2015
I hope you can help me. I recently bought some dumbbells with the aimn to develop overall body strength (I’m a 34 year old man and I’m from an endurance background – cycling).
I began a weights routine, but after about a month, I have developed some pain in my left shoulder. I’ve looked at some diagrams of the shoulder online and, if I had to guess, I’d say that the pain is in the centre part of the lateral deltoid. The pain seems to be localised to quite a small area and it isn’t particularly excruciating – if I push my fingers in though it feels sore, like pressing into a bruise or knotted muscle. It doesn’t stop me from moving my arm around, but the pain has lingered for a couple of weeks and it is uncomfortable to lie on that side in bed.
I think I may have caused it by using weights that were too heavy too soon. One of my exercises was the ‘shoulder shrug’, which I remember felt like it was jolting my shoulder down with the heavy weights.
I was wondering if you had any ideas what I may have done and whether there are any stretches or exercises that I could try to fix it and stop it from happening again? I’d like to carry on with my weight training, but I think I will use lighter weights from now on, then gradually build up.
Thanks for your help.
The Guru Responded:
I think you’ve developed an impingement, which is most likely related to doing too much too soon.
I think where you feel your pain is however not where the problem lies and despite being painful and knotty, is a bit of a red herring.
To allow your shoulder to work at full tilt under load you need to make sure the movement starts from a stable platform. These are things like adequate movement in your thoracic spine and keeping your shoulder blade stable when your arm is under load.
As you’re from an endurance cycling background I’d bet my last dollar (!) that you’ve got a really stiff, tight and flexed thoracic spine from spending all that time on a bike….
Having the above doesn’t allow your shoulder to sit on a stable base, especially when under load. I think this is what you need to change.
Try mobilising your thoracic spine on a towel or foam roller, start doing some simple rotator cuff stability work and drop you weights right down.
Form is king. Being pain free is key.
Will thanks the Guru:
Thanks for your reply. What you said makes a lot of sense, I’ve seen a physio in the past for a different issue, but I remember them commenting that my thoracic spine was stiff.
I am going to work on mobilising my spine and stabilising my shoulder joint with the exercises you suggested. And I will start using much lighter weights for now and will slowly build up.
Thanks for you help!
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