For anyone who has tried to bench press cars, military press a village, and builds round shoulders that would make Mr. Olympia look small knows how quickly the shoulders can become aggravated. Boulder shoulders is a goal for many of us who body build, powerlifting, CrossFit…

For anyone who has tried to bench press cars, military press a village, and builds round shoulders that would make Mr. Olympia look small knows how quickly the shoulders can become aggravated. Boulder shoulders is a goal for many of us who body build, powerlifting, CrossFit, and more. It is no question that the shoulders take a beating, almost every day you are in the gym. If you neglect the pain in your shoulders and just try to “fight” through it, let’s just say it doesn’t end with you benching a new personal record.  More severe and debilitating shoulder problems could develop. When a primary shoulder impingement syndrome occurs, it normally happens at the subacromial joint because of either structural or mechanical factor. The mechanical factors can happen because of capsular tightness, humeral head depressor weakness, or subacromial crowding. Seeing how cooldowns or proper warm ups are all but extinct in the average gym, a mechanical factor could be the cause.

Capsular tightness is a common mechanical problem in impingement syndrome and can occur at the posterior, anterior, and inferior parts of the shoulder. If you ever see someone trying to stretch their shoulder by crossing their arm across the front of their body; tightness of the shoulder joint capsule is normally the cause. A tight joint capsule is caused by unbalanced movement, the capsular connective tissue that has lost the ability to lengthen due to decreased critical fiber distance and abnormal collagen fiber cross-linking. This causes the abnormal orientation between fibers. Meaning their ability to glide is impaired and causes joint stiffness. This can lead to more tightness and stiffness if you act like nothing is wrong.

While there are many different ways to confront capsular tightness. Using an ice, heat, rotator cuff strengthening, and capsular stretching exercises are a common way to try and fix the problem. However, if you only mask the problem you will most likely never fix anything. A Posterior Shoulder Stretching and Strengthening Program will be an extremely helpful way of starting to fix the problem.

Lateral Deltoid Stretch
Bring your arm across in front of the body. While holding the elbow with another arm, gently pull the arm across chest until a stretch is felt in the back of the shoulder.

Sleeper Stretch
Lie on your side (on a flat surface). Bring involved arm across in front of the body (elbow in line with your shoulder). Push down on hand toward table until a stretch is felt in the back of the shoulder.

Overhead Triceps Stretch
Raise the involved arm over and behind head, elbow bent. Grasp elbow (or wrist, if needed) of the involved arm. Pull gently until a stretch is felt in the triceps.

Towel Triceps Stretch
Hold the involved arm over the shoulder with a towel over and behind the head. Grasp towel with the uninvolved arm from behind. Slowly pull downward until a gentle stretch is felt in the back of shoulder and triceps.

lying on the ground internal shoulder stretch
Lie on a flat service face down and place one hand behind back as far as possible. Try to relax into the stretch. Use a small pillow between upper arm and floor if the stretch is too intense.

Dumbbell Lying Shoulder External Rotation
Lie on side with legs and grasp a dumbbell. Position your elbow against side and forearm across the belly, bent at 90 degrees. Lift the dumbbell by rotating shoulder. Return to the start. Flip over and continue with opposite arm.

Dumbbell Lying Shoulder Internal Rotation
Hold a dumbbell in one hand and lie on the mat. Position upper arm close to the body while bending your elbow 90 degrees with a dumbbell held upright above the elbow. Lower dumbbell toward the floor until slight stretch is felt in the shoulder. Lift dumbbell toward body by internally rotating shoulder until forearm is vertical. Flip over and continue with opposite arm.

Serratus Anterior Dumbbell Punches
 Lie on back with your arms straight and extended. Move one arm up toward the ceiling as far as possible, until you feel a slight stretch in your upper back. Repeat on other arm and rotate from one arm to the other.

Dumbbell Lying Rear Lateral Raise (Thumbs up)
Lie chest down on the elevated bench while holding a dumbbell in each hand. Raise upper arms to sides until elbows are shoulder height and keep your thumbs upward. Lower and repeat.

Dumbbell Shrug with backward roll
Stand with arms at side (with or without weight). Raise shoulders upward towards ears and then roll backward. Lower and repeat.

Conroy, Douglas E., and Karen W. Hayes,. “The Effect of Joint Mobilization as a Component of Comprehensive Treatment for Primary Shoulder Impingement Syndrome.” Http://www.jospt.org/. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy®. Web. 10 July 2016.

Han, Yung, and Seung-Ho Kim. “Posterior Shoulder Instability.” Shoulder Arthroscopy (2013): 201-17.Medschool.vanderbilt.edu. Vanderbil Sports Medicine Knee Center and Shoulder Center. Web. 10 July 2016.