Do you have some wonky shoulders? Are you searching for some shoulder impingement exercises?
Well you have come to the right place.
Most people who sit at a desk all day or exercise are more likely to have shoulder issues (which you may find shocking because those are two opposite things!).
In this article I plan to give you some shoulder impingement exercises you can start doing today in order to improve your shoulder health.
I am going to try to break things down piece by piece so you can not only get the exercises you need to do but also understand why you are getting this pain in your shoulders.
This way you can not just do the exercises to help, but also understand why it happened to prevent it in the future.
This is working to fix the issue as opposed to just putting a bandaid over it.
That is why I ask you to make sure you don’t skip around this article and read it top to bottom. I want you to feel confident leaving this that you can truly take steps forward with your shoulder health.
Cool? Cool. Let’s dive in.
Shoulder Impingement Exercises
What Is Shoulder Impingement?
Before we dive into the exercises and how to fix it, let’s be sure you fully understand what shoulder impingement is.
Full disclaimer : I am not a physical therapist nor am I claiming to be one.
I am simply attempting to make this as simple and easy as I can for you to understand.
Shoulder impingement is essentially when your arm bones rubs viciously against the top edge of your shoulder.
There are muscles in between these two bones that get irritated and inflamed due to this pinching and rubbing.
This is what causes the pain in the front of your shoulder.
Before we cover the shoulder impingement exercises lets look at this a bit more in depth.
What Causes Shoulder Impingement?
You know now that your arm bone rubbing against the top of your shoulder is what is causing that pain.
Okay, so what is actually causing that?
Well, it is starting from your shoulder blade.
Your shoulder blade or scapula is the muscle that controls where your shoulder is positioned.
Tell me if you can relate to this position below.
You are sitting at a desk all day, typing away on your computer.
Notice how your shoulder blade is hiked up towards your ears and rounded forward?
This is what it looks like from a body perspective.
Again, notice how your shoulder blade is hiked up towards your ear?
This is the main driver of your shoulder pain.
If you remember what causes the pain it is the fact your arm bone is jamming against your shoulder bone.
When your shoulder blade is hiked up like this, you are not allowing for any room for your arm bone to move whether you are doing push ups, typing at your computer, shoulder presses, you name it.
So, How Do You Fix This?
This is quite actually the most important out of all the shoulder impingement exercises I am going to show you here in this article.
Before you go into any exercises for health, you must first learn how to “scoop your shoulder blade” under you to allow for more range of motion.
This looks like this below.
Compare this picture to the previous picture above where I showed you my shoulder blade hiked up towards my ear.
When you can control your shoulder blade to allow for more range of motion from your arm, this will cause less of the rubbing of the muscles against the two bones.
In turn, this will cause less pain. Yet without learning how to scoop your shoulder blade, your exercises are going to be futile and pain will continue to linger.
I would practice scooping your shoulder blade to learn what this feels like.
To do this get into a half kneeling position with your hands behind your back (this isn’t some weird thing, I promise).
I want you to push your elbow forward while keeping your hands behind your back.
This will push your shoulder blade up and forward, going into “bad posture”.
Then, pull your elbow back behind your body.
This will pull you into “good posture”.
I would look to practice this a few times throughout the day simply to get used to feeling where your shoulder blade is.
I cannot emphasize how important this is. These exercises we are about to do below won’t help anything if you cannot control your shoulder blades.
Shoulder Impingement Exercises : Top 4
Now that you have learned the importance of scooping your shoulder blade and how to do it, we can now move onto the exercises that might help you.
I am going to give you my top 4 shoulder impingement exercises I use with my 1:1 clients or Clubhouse members.
Band Pull Apart
The band pull apart is a staple in any healthy shoulder training regimen.
This exercise allows you to take your shoulder blades through a full range of motion while stabilizing them against resistance. This can strengthen your shoulder blades up fosho.
Reps : 8-15
Prone T’s are a staple I throw into any of my clients work. This can assure you are strengthening your upper back musculature with very low risk of injury.
Sets : 2-3
Reps : 6-12
Truth be told I had some serious shoulder impingement in my Younger years. This exercise right here helped me understand how to control and strengthen my shoulder blades more than anything other.
Sets : 2-3
Reps : 8-15
The snow angel is a staple in any healthy shoulder routine as it forces you to keep your shoulder blade positioning through an entire range of motion, up and down.
Sets : 2-3
Reps : 6-12
These exercises are 4 of my favorite shoulder impingement exercises, no question about it.
Yet again, I will remind you, unless you can keep your shoulder blade controlled throughout the range of motion, these exercises will be useless.
If you are doing the band pull apart for example and your shoulder are rounded forward or shrugged up towards your ear, then you are not getting any benefit out of the exercise.
You are actually probably just making things worse.
These movements should be done in a slow, methodical fashion.
You should really take your time to be diligent about moving through them with 100% total control of your shoulder blades.
If you cannot do that, then decrease reps or decrease the resistance.
Also there can be a few times of when you can perform these exercises.
A few options are below.
- before every upper body workout
- Every morning when you wake up
- 2-4x Throughout the day if you work out a desk
- In between sets of push ups, shoulder presses, chest presses, etc
Again, these are the staple of shoulder health, so you really can’t go wrong.
I would just caution you to not over do it. Meaning these movements again should be done with complete control.
If you are doing sets of 20 30 reps 10 times a day, you are going to over do it and not get the benefit.
Putting It In Action For A Push Up
Let’s take the push up as an example.
One of the most common exercises for people to get shoulder impingement on.
Here is what a “bad” push up may look like.
Now this is what a proper push up should look like.
My shoulder blades are scooped under, allow for proper range of motion for my arm bone to move freely through my shoulder joint.
Shoulder Impingement Exercises : Learn Something?
That was the low down on shoulder impingement exercises.
This is such a common issue amongst desk workers or avid exercisers alike.
I hope you were able to take something from this article and implement it into your daily routine.
If you have any questions you can drop them below.
Hope this helped and happy shoulder-ing.
3 Replies to “You Need To Do These 4 Shoulder Impingement Exercises”
Thank you, Eric. I’m sure this will be helpful for those with shoulder pain. You’re always helpful and full of great info and tips. I hope you don’t suffer from knee pain, but do you have any tips or workarounds for those who do? I can barely do squats due to bone on bone arthritis in both knees. Planks are out too as my knees slip in a plank position. What can I, and others like me, do instead of lunges, squats, and planks? Thank you! I adore you!
Hey Melody 🙂 Hope you are well!!
I actually wrote an entire article titled “The best workout program for bad knees” here on my website. You can head to the “articles” tab under “blog” and access that 🙂
I hope that helps!
This is exactly what I need! Sick and tired of a different answer every physical therapist I go to! Going to implement right away!
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