Exercises You Should Avoid If You Have Bad Shoulders

Although fitness and exercise is incredibly beneficial for us and is truthfully pretty essential if we wish to live a prolonged, healthy, and happy life, like most things in life, it isn’t without its risks. Exercise is not something that should be taken lightly, and it is certainly not something that should not be treated with the respect that it deserves. One wrong move in the gym and you run the risk of seriously injuring yourself or perhaps even ending your life. It may sound dramatic to some of you, but there have been countless people that have died in gyms all over the world due to sheer ignorance and negligence on their parts. When it comes to gym-related injuries, the shoulders, particularly the rotator cuffs are extremely at risk and if you are unfortunate enough to injure them, you will face the prospect of extreme pain, surgery, being out of the gym for months, if not years, and possibly never fully recovering. If you have bad shoulders, here are a few examples of exercises you should avoid.

Barbell bench press

Barbell Bench Press

Though the barbell bench press is an extremely effective exercise when it comes to building muscle mass on the chest, it unfortunately places a great deal of stress and strain on the rotator cuff and has been the cause of a number of rotator cuff injuries in gyms all over the world. If your shoulders are bad, instead, look for other chest exercises such as push ups, machine presses, or even dumbbell bench presses as they place less strain on the shoulders.

Dumbbell shoulder presses

Dumbbell shoulder presses are a staple part of most people’s deltoid (shoulder) routine but if you struggle with bad shoulders, these exercises are going to have to say goodbye we’re afraid. Dumbbell shoulder presses again place extreme stress and strain on the shoulders, and it is actually the initial act of getting the dumbbells into position before you begin the lift that causes most shoulder injuries. Choosing too heavy a weight can also potentially dislocate the shoulder, and that is the last thing you want. Choose machine shoulder presses or side lateral raises instead.

Behind the neck military presses

Whether standing or sitting, barbell military presses performed behind the neck are one of the worst possible exercises for anybody suffering with a bad shoulder. The movement does allow you to get a deeper stretch on the shoulders, but as you go that extra inch or so lower, the shoulders are forced to take the brunt of the weight as they become far more isolated which in turn is more likely to lead to a muscle tear.

Barbell upright rows

Upright rows develop the traps and the shoulders, but the problem is that many people tend to perform them using a barbell. This movement is so harmful because of the positioning of your hands and arms. This is known as internal rotation and it is bad for the shoulders because each time you move your hands and arms in this particular way, small tendons in the shoulder become pinched and trapped by the bones in your shoulders. You can sometimes even hear the bones crunching, which is not nice at all. EZ bar upright rows are slightly better due to the shape of the bar, but you would be far better performing front dumbbell raises instead.

Bench pressTraining