How to Beat Shoulder Pain (and Still Lift)

If you’re fighting shoulder pain to get under the squat bar, give these compression techniques a go.

When you've been lifting a long time, sometimes you get hurt. When my old shoulder injuries get aggravated, it takes everything I've got even to get under the bar.

My physical therapist friend, T-Money, worked out some excellent compression techiques to improve mobility and external rotation through the shoulder. We use knee wraps for these as they are nice and long. If you can get hold of them, the Gripper wraps by Inzer are perfect for this flossing of the shoulder. The rubber grips onto you nicely but it doesn't cut in as much as Voodoo Floss.

Here's how to do it:

  • Test external rotation.
  • Prop your arm up on something.
  • Start at the top of the shoulder.
  • Wrap around the shoulder, applying tension at the top.
  • Wrap your way out and down the upper arm.
  • Tuck the end in and pick up your other wrap.
  • Start at the top of the shoulder again.
  • This time work your way into the shoulder.
  • Place the shoulder into a thick band from the front and work the external rotation, with a friend if possible.
  • Wrap the band over the wrist and work on strengthening the rotator cuffs.
  • Place the shoulder into the band from the back and work the external rotation again.
  • Retest external rotation.

I got around thirty degrees more external rotation in five minutes of work. And I stretched nothing! The true test is always getting under the bar, and that felt better too. If you have shoulder pain, give this a go. Then get yourself back under that squat bar. I'll see you on the platform!