An example of overhead pressing and more, after shoulder pain

Posted on October 7, 2016

(Last Updated On: May 20, 2017)

One reason I want to share some of Jason’s story is because I’ve had enough people contact me in the vein of “Do you do anything workout oriented? Can you help when it comes to getting stronger? I have X, Y, Z going on, but also want to get in better shape.” Some are under the impression I never make exercise more intense than an Enya song.

Helpful, but not a workout.

Helpful, but not a workout.

Not true!

Jason first contacted me in January 2016. He had multiple things he wanted to address, but I’m going to focus on the upper body here. These are some of the comments he’s made on his shoulder, before we started to really work on it. (The lower body was more the focus initially.) [extra comment from me]:

“I’m a recreational bodybuilder / strength trainer / weekend warrior / whatever label you want to call it.  I’m 29 going on 30 and have been at this religiously since I was 15.

I want to be able to “mindlessly” just push weight instead of worry about some of the issues outlined below.

I have some right shoulder issues as well…You articles on anterior humeral glide apply.” [the front shoulder moves too far forward, too often. More info.]

“the right anterior delt is regularly sore. [front shoulder]

“Shoulder soreness has varied over the weeks. At it’s peak, I’d say generally humeral head [shoulder joint] as you alluded to. I only get it during exercise, never during activities of daily living. During shoulder rotations, it felt deep in the posterior delt area (posterior humeral head?) [back of shoulder]. During lateral raise,

shoulder abduction

it’s medial & anterior delt area [inside and front shoulder]. It’s definitely anterior delt during closer grip floor press [bench press exercise but on the floor]. Any time I’ve felt shoulder discomfort, it’s felt like I’m working a sore muscle. Never sharp, sudden, or pinpoint focused.”

“I tried out floor press today. I definitely have a deficiency keeping the right shoulder blade still as I fatigue. Towards the end of a set, I get some discomfort from the pressure of the top part of my right shoulder digging into the floor. Knowing that my right shoulder tends to drift forward to complete a set, I’m going to say it’s medial [inside] portion of my shoulder blade digging into the floor.”

Simplifying: Jason was primarily having problems during various types of pressing, primarily in the front of his shoulder.

Rather than more words, let’s show what he’s been able to do.

Overhead Pressing used to be a problem, and many feel it’s something which should be avoided for those either with shoulder pain, or with a history of it. But we not only did it, we focused on it, while he was having problems, eventually loading it intensely:

Next, pressing of a more horizontal type used to be a problem too. Rather than show a video of a bench press or something, I thought it’d be more fun to show something else, and give Jason something different to work on, considering his extensive lifting background. Variety is the spice of life, no?

Alternating arms is a nice way to vary things up, get a feel for if there are any differences between shoulders, and you sometimes will feel a bit of ab work from the weight trying to pull you off the bench, as the abdominals help keep the torso stationary.

Ok, we’ve done an overhead press, an incline press, now a strictly horizontal press:

That is a TOUGH exercise. You can see based on how much I was letting him have his elbows out, we’ve gotten to the point we’re not worried about the exercise bothering his shoulders anymore. A common, often worthwhile, thing to do with those having shoulder issues when pressing, is bring the elbows in.

Elbows out on left to elbows in on right:

Longterm though, many lifters aren’t happy with that, because they want to hit their pecs. Ideally, you get to where the shoulders are good enough the elbows can flare at times.

Jason saying how that wider elbow alternating pressing felt:


Would I want him doing this all the time? No. Is it fine to do sometimes, particularly when muscle size, the pecs in this case, are a desire, and when the shoulders are feeling solid? Yep.

I actually didn’t like how his hips were sagging some. To help with this, we elevated him.

Finally, as you can see, Jason is breathing more than woosahs, lifting more than shots of wheatgrass, and he’s a muscular dude. Yes, I work with these types of people too!

Jason took part in the remote client process. Check it out


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Posted in: Shoulder Pain