Gym Exercises to Avoid for Shoulder Pain Sufferers

When you are suffering from shoulder pain it is important to take care not to aggravate the injury. Gym exercises can cause unnatural motions that put added pressure on the shoulder.

If you go to the gym then you will need to take care to avoid certain gym exercises. Some gym work can cause more damage to the shoulder or be extremely painful.

Avoid the Military Press if You Suffer from Shoulder Pain

If you are suffering from shoulder pain then avoid doing the military press, especially if you have a rotator cuff injury.

The military press involves lifting two dumbbells straight above your head. This exercise puts the rotator cuff in an unnatural position that can lead to further injury.

Rather opt for safer exercises that do not compromise the position of your rotator cuff.

Bench Press and Shoulder Pain

Your shoulders were not meant to take such large loads as are put on them during the bench press.

This compression may be linked to arthritis and should be avoided if you suffer from shoulder pain. It also puts unnecessary pressure on the acromioclavicular joint and can cause damage to this joint.

If you do want to bench, then my advice is to never take the bar below the horizontal.

Too many people take the bar to their chest, which extends the shoulder joint and stretches the shoulder capsule under a great deal of load.

I work with some of the UK’s top weightlifters and power-lifters, and believe me I have seen many, many shoulder injuries due to bench pressing to the chest.

Wide Grip Lateral Pull-Down

Another gym exercise that compromises the position of the shoulder is the wide grip lateral pull-down.

The position that your shoulders go into when doing this lateral pull-down behind your head is actually the same position used to test for shoulder instability. This is just the mechanism to cause shoulder dislocation.

If you are already suffering from shoulder pain then you really should avoid this exercise to avoid further injury.

The Side Fly

Another weight-lifting exercise that should be done carefully in order to prevent shoulder pain, or avoided if you are suffering from shoulder pain, is the Side Fly.

If you bring the dumb bells too close together for this exercise then you can cause degeneration of the acromioclavicular joint and increase your risks of getting shoulder pain.

How to Prevent Shoulder Pain While Doing Gym Exercises

Gym exercises can be one of the most common causes of shoulder pain, especially if they are done incorrectly.

It is therefore important to learn the correct technique for these exercises and, if possible, avoid all exercises that bring your shoulders into a compromised position or get them to do work that they are not supposed to do.

If you are suffering from shoulder pain then avoid all exercises that place unnecessary pressure on your shoulders and compromise their position such as the bench press, military press and wide grip lateral pull-downs.

If you are not yet suffering from shoulder pain but want to prevent it then choose your exercises carefully and learn the proper technique for doing them. Consult a personal trainer or therapist.

I work with some of the country’s top weightlifters and power-lifters. In fact this year alone I have worked with three British Champions.

Hence, when it comes to exercise and lifting weights, it is something I know a lot about.


My advice is simple.

If you have shoulder pain, avoid the military press, the bench press and the lateral pull down.

If you don’t have shoulder pain, always maintain proper technique if you do these exercises. Remember if in doubt speak to your doctor or find a good personal trainer to guide you.




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