Shoulder pain is a huge problem among not only bodybuilders and power lifters but for the general public. Shoulder pain is so common because the shoulder is naturally unstable. You would think this instability is bad, but in actuality this instability allows for the shoulder to be one of the most mobile joints. If the shoulder were very stable, this amount of mobility that exists at the shoulder joint would not be possible.

The most common reason for shoulder pain is not from injury, but rather from muscle imbalances and poor posture. This poor posture is something gradual that develops over time.

I always tell people that the world is a “forward” world. Think about it. Rarely do we reach behind ourselves or retract our shoulder girdle, but we are always reaching out in front of ourselves.

The reality is that most people sit for long hours slumped over at a computer screen while reaching forward for a mouse or keyboard. This same posture can be associated with driving or sitting on the couch watching TV.

When a person constantly is in a certain position the body adapts. The muscles that are shortened become tight and dominant, while the muscles that are stretched become loose and weak. As a result, a shift in posture takes place. The dominant muscles will pull the bones out of place and the weakened antagonist muscles continue to grow weaker as they stay in a stretched position.

In the case of the shoulder, the muscles that internally rotate and protract the shoulder girdle become dominant. The muscles of the back that externally rotate the shoulder and retract the shoulder girdle become weak.

The result is a rounded shoulder posture.

postureIn this illustration you can see the rounded shoulder and forward head posture that I speak of in the first example.

As a rule of thumb, you want to strengthen weak and stretched muscles and stretch chronically tight and dominant muscles. This rule can be applied to any muscle imbalance you have throughout your body.

Another way to develop this posture is to have a workout program that is dominated by pressing movements. This is a common mistake among bodybuilders and men who want to develop their upper body. When you over develop the chest, front of the shoulder, and other internal rotators in relationship to the muscles of the back, a rounded shoulder posture is inevitable.

When a person is in this postural position, the shoulder does not sit properly in the socket. This can lead to impingement issues, neck pain, a limited range of motion or even a subluxation of the shoulder.

If you suffer from this very common problem check out this video I created addressing this issue. Fixing this problem takes time, but it is of vast importance if you want to live pain free and continue to see gains and progress from your workouts. Take the time to fix the problem and in the end you will be better for it. Think long term. It might set you back a bit short term, but 8 months from now you will far surpass where you would be if you continued to facilitate this problem. Sounds like a no brainer to me!