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    • #70194

      I must start by saying I’ve a whole host of mobility issues related with the entire neck/shoulder complex that starts at the scalenes and goes all the way down my lat. This is primarily on my left side, and between correctives and mob work from trainer, former PT, and from this website, let’s just say that I hit the gym early to work on them so I have as much range of motion as possible for my training sessions. I know Kelly says in one of his videos that it is best not to do this before training, but I’ve little choice in the matter.

      This is, however, about my RIGHT side – my left shoulder seems fine with pushups these days, my right bicep up by my shoulder gets down-right cranky. Indeed, it is so painful that I am taking a break from pushups for one week- but everything else feels fine…most of the time. I suspect that it is likely a weak rotator cuff and I am working on that. The pain is on the front of my arm and goes down a bit toward my elbow. Has anyone had experience with this and found it to be anything else? It’s been a problem for a long time, but it just got worse after a training session last week that featured bench presses… Hoping this won’t impact my participation in the Memorial Day Murph in a couple of weeks.
    • #71960

      Some mobs are fine to include in warm ups for your workout others are better following training. When it is something that is better done following training or at another time it is usually indicated in the video. What you are experiencing may have to do with your hand positioning.
      These  episodes will help:
      Pressing Mechanics and The Knee Pushup Up Disaster/Froning and Bailey Edition
      Movement Transfer Exercise: The Pushup & The Slingshot
      Episode 158: Normal Shoulder Have FULL Range
      Have you looked upstream/downstream of where you see the problem to identify other possible places that need work?

    • #71964

      Thanks for the episodes to look for, I’ve been going through the archives and there is a lot to choose from. I KNOW my left shoulder isn’t normal – and it may never be, but the right shoulder has been fine…before now. Of course it is possible that the problem is elsewhere. Thanks and I will check out the episodes.

    • #72001

      One shoulder may be compensating for the other.
      You can improve the condition of your left shoulder so it is closer to normal.

    • #72004

      Sadly I’ve been working with some fantastic physical therapists and a very experienced trainer who knows how to hone in on mobility issues for several years now…with very little lasting progress. I cannot gain strength in the left arm, at all, and whatever ROM I gain only lasts for a few minutes. It is very frustrating that I do pretty well with lower body work and anything over my shoulder, but sometimes I can’t even press a 10 pound DB over my head with that arm.

      Thankfully the right shoulder is calming down (whew), and I suspect you are right that the right shoulder is compensating for the left in pushups. Focusing on mobility work has helped my left shoulder in other ways though. Wish I could see Kelly – I suspect if anything short of surgery can help that shoulder he can. So I have his book and am working through the videos since that isn’t an option.
    • #72005

      Have you had anyone look at your hand& shoulder blade positioning in push ups?
      Contracting your butt and gut have an impact.
      You may consider purchasing a sling shot.!/~/product/category=3091155&id=13352662
      This has been the key for some as it shows them exactly where there hands need to be positioned.

    • #72075
      AvatarKristina Jones

      Is there a way to build shoulder strenght if you are lacking in internal rotation to complete a normal pushup?

    • #72076

      Kaitlin – yes, my position is right. The problem, I think, is that my good shoulder is over-compensating for the weakness in my left shoulder. We THINK that this is the source of the pain.

      Thomas – that is a good question. IS there any way to build shoulder strength when nothing in that shoulder complex works properly? I don’t know. Thankfully I can do anything below shoulder level which is comforting. Very thankful for the Mobility WOD, and I’ve a Pro membership so I can access all of his videos since actually seeing Kelly for this shoulder isn’t going to happen.
    • #72081

      Work on improving your IR that is the limiting factor.
      You need the bone in the back of the socket. It is in the front of the socket so you hit bone on bone much earlier which shuts things down.
      You need to clean up the position first. If its not in the correct position put it in the correct position.
      Position/technique are the place to start.

    • #72115

      It sounds like you are not creating torque.
      Push Up Butt Acuity Test (from BASL p 56)
      Get into the push up start position by making your hands as parallel as possible positioning your hands underneath your shoulders and pinning your feet together.
      Next, go through the bracing sequence: Squeeze your butt, align your rib cage over your pelvis and get your belly tight.
      Key is to make sure your wrist, elbow, shoulders are aligned and feet are together.
      If your feet are apart it is difficult to engage your glutes to stabilize the trunk.
      If your glutes are disengaged you can’t organize your trunk which could be the cause of the issue you are seeing at your shoulder.
      When your butt is offline you’re susceptible to spinal faults.
      A broken midline places additional stress on your shoulders.

      You need to create torque through your hands(hands straight as possible elbow pits forward) to stabilize your shoulders and thoracic spine. If your hands are in a position where you can’t create torque its hard to stabilize and generate force.

    • #72133

      Thanks Kaitlin – I will check this out. I had started putting my hands in the diamond position as that seems to cause less pain in my right deltoid – but then I can’t do more than (basically) scapular retraction – “little” pushups. Our coach has been training us to use the right position with our hand placement, but it may well be that my glutes aren’t engaged properly.

    • #72140

      Yes, your coach is is teaching the proper hand placement, but are you able to get into the proper position?
      Yes, if your glutes aren’t engaged this impacts other things in the system.

    • #72143

      Yes, I can get into proper position – and will pay very close attention to what my glutes and core are doing. I KNOW they are strong – I can hold an 8 minute strict plank position – but of course that doesn’t involve moving…

    • #72152
      AvatarKeith Borg


      Sounds like you are doing a great job of being diligent.  If you’ve hammered on a bunch, have someone look at  your t-spine stiffness and make sure your neck is in good order (a phyiso/chiro can clear it).
      Make sure also that you aren’t loading your elbows first as you move.  I did a video with Rich Froning about this topic.
    • #72187
      AvatarKristina Jones

      Hey Kailtlin, trying to mobelize in the back of the socket. But when I lay on my back lateral distract the shoulder and put the weight in front of me i can’t let the shoulder sink in to the back of the socket, instead i feel the bone of my scapular push into the ground hard and painfull
      Can’t distract more without slipping aside…
      Any thoughts?

    • #72259


      Thank you for your comments! I DO have different neck issues – and I’ve been cleared to do anything that doesn’t hurt. The more I work the better my neck seems to be – if it hurts, I stop. Just recently completed almost 3 months with a physio for shoulder/neck issues. He is good, but couldn’t figure out why the deltoid in my good arm hurts in pushups and nothing else. 
      T-spine is more flexible than it was, for sure, still working on it and everything upstream/downstream that I can think of. Will check out the video with Froning and have someone look at my pushups to see if I am loading my elbows first in the movement.
      Thanks again!
    • #72260

      Kstar and Kaitlin – I wanted to add that my coach had me try your suggested pushup modification this morning where the chest goes down to the ground and then back up in two movements – kind of like inching up – but starting from a proper pushup position. He has been having me start from an inclined position but that was very slow and painful – and was more like a scapular retraction exercise rather than a pushup. 

      I was very surprised at how much easier this was than any other modification I’ve tried! NO shoulder pain, NO restriction, and I was able to perform this more quickly than I expected. Thanks!
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