Health Hacks: I Have Shoulder Pain, What Should I Do?

In 2016 I had a shoulder injury that would not go away, it was one of the most annoying experiences of my competitive career. I could not train or workout the way I wanted to and it began to have a negative impact on my mental health. Being the stubborn athlete that I am, I did NOT take the proper steps to help improve the issue, it progressively got worse, until eventually major interventions had to be made.

My goal today is to help you prevent making the same mistakes and create a check-list to prevent and help you train intelligently through a shoulder injury.

First, shoulder issues can be caused by a variety of factors: 

  • Overtraining
  • Imbalance of pressing & pulling exercises
  • High volume of kipping exercises
  • Lat instability or injury

*Note – this is not a comprehensive or exhaustive list. 

If you’re experiencing shoulder pain, take the following action steps:

  • Notify your coach. Your coach will help you identify immediate action steps to help prevent further pain and to safely identify movements you can perform moving forward.
  • See a specialist. If your pain has been persistent for longer than two weeks and is significant or you’re confident you have experienced an injury, you should see a specialist immediately.

You can do the following to prevent or reduce your shoulder pain:

  • Stop or reduce the number of kipping exercises you are performing. Kipping is a beneficial tool for increasing the intensity of workouts, however, it can cause a lot of strain on the shoulder. If the shoulders are not strong enough to hold the shoulder blades stable, pain can start occurring.
  • Build strength by replacing kipping with strict exercises. If a workout calls for a kipping exercise replace it with a lower number of strict.
  • Practice patience. Work on being able to perform strict exercises before kipping. Many clients want to try kipping right away, but kipping too soon can lead to shoulder issues in the future. 
  • Strengthen your back. Add ring rows and bent-over rows to your training. These help strengthen and stabilize your shoulder blades.
  • Evaluate your workout plan. Shoulders do not recover as quickly as the lower body, if you’re performing the same movement several times per week you may not be recovering and healing properly.
  • Add shoulder stability exercises to your warm-ups and accessory work. The shoulder has a ton of tiny muscles that hold the shoulder together. Exercises like bottoms up presses & holds, lat pulldowns, seated banded rows and bent-over flys help strengthen those muscles and can help prevent or reduce shoulder pain.
  • Stop performing the exercises that are causing you pain. This may be obvious, but pain is an indicator that something is wrong. If you keep performing an exercise that causes pain, you’ll only exacerbate the problem. When you are no longer experiencing pain, slowly start adding the exercise back in with low volume and frequency until you build confidence back up.
  • Finally, keep working out. A common mistake is to give up on workouts entirely. You may not be performing the same exercises as you want to, but consistent blood flow will help reduce your pain and speed up healing time. Your coach can help modify and replace exercises to help you continue to workout.

If you’re experiencing shoulder pain or want a preventive game-plan, schedule a free consultation with one of our coaches! 

At Lincoln Nutrition & Fitness, we offer you both nutrition & fitness coaching, from personal training to group CrossFit classes we have the keys to help you reach your goals! 

Our personal trainers and group coaches value lifting weights, and using multi-jointed, functional exercises performed at high intensity. You don’t have to guess what to do! 

Schedule a free consultation with a coach to see how we can help you with your goals! →  I’M READY TO MEET WITH A COACH!

COACH PHIL KNIEP – Owner & CEO of Lincoln Nutrition & Fitness

Precision Nutrition L1 Coach

CrossFit Level 3 Trainer

Endurance Certified

Mobility Certified

Scaling Certified

3x CrossFit Games Qualifier

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