• Eric Lau

Shoulder Pain after Shoulder Press

Updated: Mar 12

Have you injured your shoulder performing heavy overhead presses? Returning back to shoulder training after an injury can be tricky. Here is a series of exercises I prescribe to help my patient’s strengthen their shoulder so they can return back to pressing. The exercises uses different angles to rehab your shoulder during the early painful stage and progressively gets more challenging to overhead movements. Mild discomfort is normal when you begin each phase of exercise. You are ready to progress to the next stage when the exercises are pain free and you feel strong.

EARLY PHASE


Shoulder External Rotation in Side Lying

  1. Lie on your unaffected shoulder. Place a towel between your affected arm and your torso.

  2. Pull your shoulder blade back slightly. Holding onto a light dumbbell, externally rotate your shoulder turning the dumbbell toward the ceiling.

  3. This exercise is targeting the muscles in the back of your shoulder.

  4. Do 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.

Physiotherapist lying on his side demonstrating a shoulder external rotation exercise

T’s

  1. Stand up straight and pinch your shoulder blades back slightly.

  2. Holding onto a resistance band, lift your hands up to shoulder height.

  3. Pull the band apart forming the letter T with your body.

  4. Squeeze the muscles in the back of your shoulder as you perform this exercise.

  5. Do 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.

Physiotherapist pulling a band apart to demonstrate the T's exercise

MIDDLE PHASE


Isometric External Rotation Wall Slide

  1. Stand facing a wall. Stand up tall with your shoulder blades slightly pinched back.

  2. Hold a resistance band and pull it apart. There should be tension on the band and your hands should be shoulder width apart.

  3. Using the wall as your guide, slide your hands up and down the wall.

  4. This is a challenging exercise as there is constant tension on your shoulder during the entire set.

  5. Do 2-3 sets of 5-10 reps.

Physiotherapist demonstrating the isometric external rotation wall slide exercise

Overhead Scaption Raise

  1. Stand up straight with your shoulder pinched back slightly. Hold onto a band.

  2. Lift your arm up and to the side at a 45 degree angle.

  3. Pause before slowly lowering your arm back to starting position.

  4. Do 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.

Physiotherapist demonstrating scaption raise exercise

LATE PHASE

Overhead Press with Inverted Dumbbell


Performing an overhead press with an inverted dumbbell will challenge your shoulder to do the exercise slowly in order to balance the dumbbell. This will increase activation of your rotator cuff and other muscles that support the shoulder.

  1. Remember to perform this exercise with a light dumbbell.

  2. Stand up with your shoulder blades slightly pulled back.

  3. Lift your elbow up to the side at a 45 degree angle similar to the angle of the scaption raise exercise listed above. This will reduce the stress on your shoulder during the overhead press.

  4. Press the inverted dumbbell slowly over your head then slowly lower back down to starting position.

Physiotherapist demonstrating how to perform an overhead press while holding an inverted dumbbell

Overhead Dumbbell Press


After performing the inverted dumbbell press for a couple of weeks pain free. You can progress back to a tradition overhead press.

  1. Stand up with your shoulder blades slight pulled back.

  2. Lift your elbow up and flared out to the side.

  3. Press the dumbbell slowly over your head then slowly lower back down to starting position.


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