The gym is a place where there is a lot of potential to aggravate your shoulder pain and even cause it. There is a lot of misunderstanding with how the muscles in the shoulder work and their ranges of motion. Each muscle has its duty and role to play in shoulder stability and gets misused. Imagine trying to rehabilitate or fix shoulder pain when simple exercises are creating a very common problem.
Mostly I see this during chest exercises, but this mistake can be applied to a lot more. I was at the gym the other day when I noticed a young boy doing bench press exercises and minding his own business when a random person (know it all and non- trainer) came up to him and completely changed his technique because he “thought” is was wrong! He said to him “you have to go lower and bring the weight all the way down to your chest”. Let me explain to you what happens when you bring the weight down to low.
When we bring our arms too far back we are no longer working the chest and putting massive strain on a far weaker muscle in your shoulder called your anterior deltoid. Two different muscles with different levels of strength. The minute you start to load that anterior deltoid with all the weight you start straining your AC joint, transverse ligament and shoulder joint capsule. Once you start to put the wrong pressures there your chest exercise turns into your main cause of shoulder instability. So if you decide to drop the weight down to your chest, make sure your know what you’re training and apply the weight accordingly.
So how far do you go? Go find yourself a wall and lean your back on it. Then bring your elbows back until they touch the wall. Any further back than that, you stop using your chest.
This is a very common mistake I see and needs to be stopped. If you train and have shoulder problems that you just can’t get your shoulder pain right, please check if you’re doing this. It can save you a lot of grief in the long run!