Operating my shoulders Operating my shoulders

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Thread: Operating my shoulders

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2018

    Default Operating my shoulders

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    Howdy. This is going to be altogether a little dumb, maybe I just have a psychological problem.

    I think I've been so worried about shoulder impingement that I've started to use my shoulder incorrectly when I don't have a barbell in my hand. When I do have a barbell, the book tells me what's good for me: I use correct thoracic extension and scapular adduction and depression and angle my humerus properly during the bench press; I upwardly rotate and slightly abduct and finally elevate my scapulae during an overhead press. No big problems, though I had a bit of pain in my left shoulder benching because of an asymmetrical elbow pattern. Suddenly, after blowing off training for a couple of months, I go to get under a barbell to squat, and I can't, particularly without extending my wrists even with just my fingertips on the bar. I have a sharp posterior pain in the same shoulder with no history of acute injury, perhaps around the distal insertion of the teres minor/major or subscapularis, or perhaps even somewhere around the acromion, I can't tell and it doesn't matter. I'm 34.

    I'm not asking about the pain, because I suspect it isn't an acute injury, and my question could be good for it either way. For lack of a better term, I think I'm mis-operating my left shoulder. The shoulder's pretty complex to me so I tend to think of it in terms of either the six independent motions that I can do with it or the muscles that I can contract to get it to move in certain ways. However, are there any combinations of these that I should be aware of that aren't healthy? For example, is it a bad idea to contract my lat while keeping my shoulder in flexion, straight up? Is it a bad idea to do that with scapular abduction? Or, is it a bad idea to adduct my scapula and contract my lat at the same time? Those are just examples. Some sort of bad movement pattern like that may be why I'm hurting myself trying to get under the bar, and maybe just overthinking about how to avoid impingement has led me into some poor movement patterns that I can stretch out or keep in mind.

    Hope this isn't too weird, I just can't put a definitive answer together myself, even with all the resources I have.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Long Island, NY


    I really think you are over thinking this. It is precisely having "all the resources" that is probably causing your distress. If you are getting sharp shoulder pain with low bar squat try widening your grip a few finger widths. Maybe post a form check focusing on the bar position on your back (maybe it's too low). Even better would be to get some coaching. If it's real bad switch to high bar. Unloaded impingement as you are moving your shoulders around in everyday life is completely normal and not something to be afraid of. Your technique for taking a cup out of the top shelf does not matter. Right now it is your fear and obsession that is driving your pain experience, not how you are moving your shoulder.


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