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Posted on January 14 2020

Keep your shoulders healthy and injury free with these movements that keep you on the bench and off the injury list.
Shoulder pain Opens in a new Window. attacks even the best of athletes. And when it does, you stop exercising, you stop lifting weights, and your life turns into a series of ice packs, heat packs and pain relieversOpens in a new Window.. But even with an injury, there's no reason to completely stop all upper-body trainingOpens in a new Window..
In fact, by strengthening the muscles correctlyOpens in a new Window. you might actually get rid of the problem that's causing the shoulder painOpens in a new Window. in the first place. You just need to make sure you're using the right exercises specifically tailored to your body's movement mechanics in a way that won't aggravate anything. These moves usually have two things in common: (1) they limit the range of motion in your shoulder joint and (2) they require total-body activation to assist your shoulder in moving the right way.

If shoulder pain is wrecking your workout, use these seven exercises to continue to build your upper-body while giving your joints a breakOpens in a new Window.

1) Dumbbell Scaption

The dumbbell scaption works with your body. Instead of pressing overhead and pinching your joints, you'll only lift the dumbbellOpens in a new Window. to shoulder height and build the same muscles without stressOpens in a new Window. and pain. Also, you'll lift the weights slightly in front of you, which matches the angle of your shoulder blades.

Grab two dumbbells and hold it at your sides. Stand tallOpens in a new Window. with your shoulder blades squeezed together and your glutes tight. Raise the dumbbells to your sides and slightly in front of you (about 30 degrees in front of you). Repeat.

Bearded Man Light Dumbbell Scaption Shoulder

2) High-Incline Bench Press

Pressing directly overhead is difficult for most people with shoulder problems. It requires a range of motion (ROM)Opens in a new Window. at your joints that, unfortunately, a lot of guys don't have. Instead, remove pressure from your shoulders by pushing slightly less overhead with the high-incline bench press.

Set your bench to about a 70-degree angle so that the bench is more vertical than horizontal. That way, you're still pressing overhead(ish), but at a safer ROM

Incline Barbell Bench Press

3) Half-Kneeling Landmine Press

By placing a barbellOpens in a new Window. in a landmine, the bar becomes a lever and moves in an arc. This is a great alternative for people with shoulder issues because they don't have to press directly overhead. Also, by getting on just one knee, you’ll spike your core activation because of the instability challenge.

Get on one knee and hold the end of the barbell with the side that has the knee down. Squeeze your trailing glute and keep your entire body as tight as possible as you push overhead. 

1109 Landmine Jerk

4) Pullups

Pullups are the best bodyweight exercise to build a strong and wide back. You need the grip strength to support yourself and muscles in your lats and upper back to pull yourself up and touch your chest to the bar. Keep your shoulders squeezed together and your chest up the entire time—this ensures you use the correct muscles. 

Man Pullup Park Blue Skies

6) Tall-Kneeling Press

This is great for people with minor shoulder problems. For them, it hurts to use heavy machines and press a barbellOpens in a new Window., but for most other exercises, they're fine. With the kneeling press, they'll be able to press overhead without pain because it allows you to rotate your armsOpens in a new Window. and tense your body.

Get on both knees, squeeze your glutes, and pinch your shoulder blades together. Push a kettlebell overhead by imagining that you're pushing yourself into the ground.

Male Kneeling With Kettlebell