Avoiding Shoulder Injuries in Weight Training: New Study

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Nelson Vergel

Founder, ExcelMale.com
Strength Cond Res. 2013 Sep 25. [Epub ahead of print]
Characteristics of Shoulder Impingement in the Recreational Weight-Training Population.Kolber MJ, Cheatham SW, Salamh PA, Hanney WJ.
[h=3]Source[/b]1Boca Raton Orthopaedic Group, 660 Glades Road, Suite 360. Boca Raton, Florida 33431 2Adjunct Faculty, California State University Dominguez Hills, 1000 E. Victoria Street, Carson, California 90747, (310) 892-4376, [email protected] 3Director of Rehabilitation, Southeastern Orthopedics Physical Therapy, 3404 Wake Forest Rd, Suite 201, Raleigh, North Carolina 27609, Phone: (919)-256-1524, Fax: (919)-256-1530, [email protected] 4Assistant Professor, University of Central Florida, Program in Physical Therapy, 12805 Pegasus Drive #262, Orlando, FL 32816-2205, Phone (407) 823-0217, [email protected].

[h=3]Abstract[/b]Despite reports implicating subacromial impingement syndrome (SIS) as an etiological source of shoulder pain among weight-training (WT) participants, a paucity of case-controlled evidence exists to support this premise. The purpose of this study was to determine if WT participants present with characteristics of SIS. Additionally, we investigated the role of exercise selection among those identified as having SIS. Seventy-seven (154 shoulders) men (mean age 28) were recruited, including 46 individuals who engaged in WT a minimum of 2 days per week; and 31 controls with no history of WT participation. Prior to testing, participants completed a questionnaire summarizing their training patterns. Upon completing questionnaire, two previously validated tests used to identify SIS were performed on both groups and included the painful arc sign and Hawkins-Kennedy test. When clustered, these tests have a positive likelihood ratio of 5.0 for identifying SIS when compared to diagnostic gold standards. Analysis identified significant between group differences in the combined presence of a positive painful arc and Hawkins-Kennedy (p < .001) test. A significant association existed between clinical characteristics of SIS (p ≤ .004) and both lateral deltoid raises and upright rows above 90°. Conversely, a significant inverse association was found between external rotator strengthening and characteristics of SIS.

Results suggest that WT participants may be predisposed to SIS.

Avoiding performance of lateral deltoid raises and upright rows beyond an angle of 90 degrees; as well as efforts to strengthen the external rotators may serve as a useful means to mitigate characteristics associated with SIS.
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Dave Barry

The upright row may predispose the trainee to subacromial impingement; however, one can perform the movement in a manner to markedly reduce the possibility of injury, thereby, making it a desirable exercise (for the middle deltoids) for many lifters. "Those with existing subacromial impingement who have pain during performance of the upright row are advised to elevate to an angle below the shoulder height that does not provoke symptoms or to avoid the exercise altogether." This advice mirrors the following advice, given by the article that Nelson presented that stated, "Avoiding performance of lateral deltoid raises and upright rows beyond an angle of 90 degrees."


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Im an avid gym goer. A past life guard, semi pro wrestler and snowboarder, Open Water ll PADI Diver, so Im in good physical condition. Initially started on Androgel AND WITHIN MAYBE 3-4 weeks began experiencing a deep shoulder muscle soreness. not joint, but soft tissue. I have looked around nad not found anything to indicate there is a connection between Androgel and soft muscle tissue reactions. Im 55 y/0, is it just my time <G>.


Nelson Vergel

Founder, ExcelMale.com

Is there any possibility that you may be working out harder?

Do you sleep on your side?

I have seen no scientific references linking testosterone replacement to muscle soreness in the shoulder. I am not saying it is not linked, just that I have not found a reference.


Active Member
My workouts are the same intensity, good question, but probably not relevant here. I do sleep on my side, but the major discomfort is on the opposite side of the discomfort. I appreciate your response, I also have searched for any reference to this and have not found anything. My Dr, has ordered an x ray, which, I have not performed, as I don't think this procedure will disclose much. But on that note, I am changing Dr's, I am seeing Alexander Del Rosario and will consult with him tomorrow about the shoulder issue. I am looking forward to the second f/u meeting tomorrow and plan on pressing for his plan on HRT.
THank you again for your response !



Active Member
Dr Rosario performed typical evaluation and what it comes down to is a strain that has developed due to nothing more than biomechanics. For some reason, during exercise I am placing more emphasis on the shoulder and not incorporating the proper chest <muscle> involvement. Being conscious of that and emphasizing correct posture and execution of movement I am virtually not having any issue. I did start to use a tens on the shoulder<s> and that works great.
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