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September 19, 2013

Injury Report: Shoulder Tendonitis or Strain

If you find that you have shoulder pain that lasts longer than usual DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness) of 24-48 hours, then you may have put excessive strain on your muscles.  One of the most common injuries in weightlifters is Rotator Cuff Tendonitis or Strain.  Here is some basic information about this injury and how to self treat it if you feel you may have it.

Anatomy: The Rotator Cuff is made up of 4 muscles whos main actions help raise your arm out and to the side.

  • Teres minor
  • Subscapularis
  • Infraspinatus
  • Supraspinatus


Causes: Overload / Excess Stress on the muscle; Poor posture / form while lifting

Signs & Symptoms: Pain at shoulder, pain raising arm out or overhead, pain lying on that arm.  If you have weakness and snapping, you may want to consider seeing your Physician to do further testing for more serious damage.

Initial Treatment: Rest and ice.  The term “-itis” means inflammation so you must decrease the inflammatory process by using ice and not overworking your shoulder. You should not workout shoulders directly until symptoms die down. You may do further damage if you jump right back into your workouts too fast. So give your body time to heal and then slowly/progressively return to working out the shoulder.

Further Treatment:

  • Don’t sleep on the injured arm
  • Massage the back of your shoulder blade
  • Ice 15 minutes after workouts
  • Improve shoulder posture by standing up tall with shoulders down and back, and gently strengthen your rotator cuff muscles (because the problem is faulty mechanics of the arm gliding in the socket).
  • Slowly build back up to your normal weight, only if symptoms are improved. Do warm-up sets before lifting heavy again. This may take several weeks.
  • Always Avoid:
    • Upright Rowsex1
    • Incline Bench Pressex3
    • Decline Bench Pressex2
  • Exercise Modifications:
    • Bench press only with narrow hand grip
    • Shoulder Press only anterior (not behind head)
    • Lat Pull Down only anterior (not behind head)
    • Squat with bar in front if on your back hurts your shoulder.

Exercises to rehabilitate:

ex5 ex4 ex6 ex7 ex8

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