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“I feel something moving in my shoulders when I do my Bench or OverHead Presses… Should I Be Concerned?”

Hey, fellow gym-goers!

It’s getting colder and darker, I’m seeing more and more people at the Alaska Rock Gym and Alaska Club locations.  While I love to climb, lift weights, and go running outside, I also love helping others learn HOW to lift weights RIGHT and optimally for their joints.  

Sometimes I look at other gym-goers and think to myself, “Oh no…” 

Knowing how to lift weights with correct biomechanics will not only stimulate your muscular growth and strength optimally but also protect your joints, tendons, and ligaments from overuse injuries by performing the same improper biomechanics pattern.  

I hear people complaining to me that they hear or feel “something moving” in their shoulders when they’re actively lifting weights above their head while doing a seated military press or supine bench press.  The first thing that comes to my mind is muscular imbalance and compensatory strategies. 

Before I dive into what exercises to incorporate and prevent this from happening, I want to say a disclaimer, that since I don’t know you, I don’t know your history, I don’t know what your compensatory strategies look like, and I don’t know which muscles are imbalanced – it’s still crucial to have a full evaluation with your physical therapist to identify what muscular imbalance you may have and how to improve your lifting techniques. 

Let’s talk about shoulders!  When the shoulder feels unstable, it’s likely that the muscles of the rotator cuff are not strong enough to keep the head of the humerus centered at the glenoid fossa.  Like I wrote previously, the shoulder joint is just a golf ball and pin! 

For bench pressing and overhead pressing – the most important thing about this is where the shoulder blade is positioned so the glenoid fossa can serve as a “platform” for the humeral head, the entire arm, and the weight to sit on top of the hand, loading into the shoulder joint. 

The second important thing is the rotator cuff muscles are trained well and properly to activate, reposition, and stabilize the humeral head in all directions while it is loaded upon the glenoid.  The Trapezius and Deltoid and Serratus Anterior all work together to raise your shoulder above your head, those are BIG and MAJOR muscles.  But before the big men get stronger, we need to call in the smaller men of Rotator Cuff to increase its awareness of its role, strength, and integrity.

The BIG MEN of Trapezius, Deltoid, and Serratus Anterior all working together.

The LITTLE MEN of Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, and Subscapularis working together to center and stabilize the humeral head upon the glenoid fossa.


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