Eliminating Shoulder / Elbow Pain

By: Coach Vince

If you are someone who is experiencing shoulder or elbow pain its most likely because you either lack proper mobility in the shoulder or proper strength in the shoulder.

Here is a great test to give you better insight into your shoulder mobility

Here is how you test proper strength. Each test is done with an 10/8# DB, 8 repetitions per arm @ 3010 tempo. If you want to learn more about these tests, please ask any coach for assistance.  The Upper Body Pull Assessment poster also goes over how to perform each of these tests and their importance.

  • Trap 3 raise
  • Powell raise
  • External rotation

If you failed the mobility test, then you most likely failed the strength test.

First assignment is to increase the range of motion of your shoulder. When doing the mobility test did you feel tightness in your lats, your upper back, and/or your shoulder?  Wherever you felt the tightness at is where I would start.  If you need mobility ideas, you can easily search on Youtube “mobility _________” and type in whatever you want to work on.  Of course when you’re at the gym please don’t hesitate to ask for ideas.

Once you have restored the range of motion in your shoulder then continue slowly working on the strength piece.  Perform each of the three tests multiple times a week with lighter weight until able to have full range of motion with 10/8#.

Your likely hood of being pain free is significantly higher when you have full range of motion and proper strength. Almost every person who has shoulder and/or elbow pain is missing one of or both of these two key elements.

Until you pass both of these tests or if you are wanting to minimize pain you are currently experiencing, I would recommend avoiding these exercises…

  • Hanging from the pull up bar (pull ups, toes-2-bar etc.)
  • Overhead movements (press, push press, split jerk etc.)
  • Excessive elbow flexion in movements that irritate or cause pain

Of course consult your Doctor if pain is sharp and/or chronic. Ignoring it or just pushing through it doesn’t usually end well.