Forums Shoulder Bicep Pain

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    • #71169
      AvatarTravis Nissen

        Hi I’ve been experiencing  bicep pain/discomfort now for the last 4 months – especially when doing any pressing exercises. I also believe that my traps are very tight also as they seem to be constantly activated. .

        I believe that it may be caused by shoulder internal rotation and an inbalance between my chest and back strength (spending most of the day over a  computer wouldn’t help either).  As a result I have stopped all pressing and have instead concentrated on additional pulling exercises to try to strengthen my back. I feel no pain in my upper bicep and the connection between my chest and shoulder when pulling – but do feel pain when doing pushups etc.

        As a result I have also began stretching my chest more and trying to strengthen my rotator cuffs with face pulls and side lying raises.I wish to now incorporate some mobility exercises and have subscribed to your mwod Pro. 
        I have a couple of questions:
        a. Does my self diagnosis seem reasonable?
        b. What mobility wod exercises would you recommend? 
        c. When would it be Ok to incorporate pressing/chest work again? Can I start overhead presses which seem less painful or shall I wait until a certain level/threshold is passed?
      • #75411
        AvatarDaniel Lugn


          I am not an expert by any means, however I have had a very similar issue as you described and still deal with today. I work at a desk most days like yourself, though have moved to a standup desk which has made a big difference.

          Personally I feel your diagnosis is reasonable. Basically its upper-cross syndrome or as Kelly calls it in his book, Douche-bag shoulders. You seem to be on the right track strengthening the rotator cuffs and stretching out the chest.

          You could try the Best Shoulder Mob Ever and see if it works for you. Myself, I did not find the shoulder capsule mob helped, but I am also feel I my UCS had regressed quite bad before I realized what it was and started treating it. I found lacrosse ball massage work on the infraspinaitus and suprasprinatus, along with rotator cuff strengthening (wall arm raises, prone cobras, etc) really helped. If you Google Upper Cross Syndrome there are a lot of good videos outlining some of the exercises. Crossfit’s Journal also released an article on rotator strengthening exercises which was helpful too.

          Its a long journey to fix this issue, but persistence does pay off. Do you have Becoming a Supple Leopard? If you don’t, buy it. I found that following exercise descriptions as outlined in the book allowed me to return to pressing, however I need to stress that A) I had spent about a month ungluing my shoulders with a variety of MWOD mobility and physiotherapy and B) I do a lot mobility work prior to my workouts to make sure I have shoulder mobility before tackling it.

          Hopefully that helps and good luck 

        • #75412
          AvatarTravis Nissen

            Thanks Bradley. That is really helpful. I’ve got the book and am working through the exercises you mentioned.

            Have you recommenced pushing exercises? I don’t care too much about benching again, but really miss overhead presses. I’m getting tired of just squatting and pulling.
          • #75413
            AvatarDaniel Lugn

              To be honest I really just experimented to see what irritated the problem and what did not. For example I found that ring dips did not bother me at all in the beginning, so it became one of the main pressing exercises.

              As the issue got better, I add more and more pressing exercises. I avoided explosive pressing motions such as push press, thrusters, cleans and so on until the very end when I felt I had built up enough strength in my shoulders through more static movements like strict overhead presses, handstand pushups, etc. Also note I kept the weight very light to start and cant stress enough how important form is to avoid the problem returning. 
            • #75416
              AvatarTravis Nissen

                I have found this site to be helpful with remedial exercises .

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