Exercises to Avoid for Shoulder Impingement

Exercises to Avoid for Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder impingement is a standard cause of shoulder pain. It happens when the muscles that connect your upper arm bone to your shoulder catch or rub against the top of your shoulder. This can be caused by using your shoulder often, such as in swimming, baseball, or softball. When you lift your arm, the space between the muscles and the top of your shoulder gets smaller, which can cause irritation and pain.

Exercises To Avoid With Shoulder Impingement

To avoid making shoulder impingement worse, don’t do exercises that put too much stress on your shoulder joint. This includes overhead pressing, bench pressing, pulling exercises, and other similar movements like:

Overhead Pressing Exercises

Dumbbell Overhead Press:

The Dumbbell Overhead Press involves lifting dumbbells from shoulder height to an overhead position. This movement requires excessive shoulder elevation and can worsen impingement symptoms.

Barbell Overhead Press:

Similar to the Dumbbell Overhead Press, the Barbell Overhead Press involves lifting a barbell from shoulder height to an overhead position. The weight of the barbell, combined with the shoulder elevation, increases the risk of impingement.

Military Press:

The Military Press is a weightlifting exercise that involves pressing a barbell from shoulder height to an overhead position while standing. The overhead position and the wide grip used in this exercise can place excessive stress on the shoulder joint, aggravating impingement symptoms.

Read More : Why Are Bodyweight Exercises Harder Than Weights

Bench Pressing Exercises

Flat Bench Press:

Using heavy weights when doing the Flat Bench Press, which involves lying on a bench and pushing weights upward while keeping your elbows at a 90-degree angle, can put a lot of stress on your shoulders and make impingement symptoms worse.

Incline Bench Press:

This activity is done on a bench that is inclined, and it can be tough on your shoulders if you have shoulder impingement.

Decline Bench Press:

People with shoulder impingement may find it difficult to perform exercises that target the upper muscles, as they can still put pressure on the shoulders.

Pulling Exercises


If you’re not using the proper technique or if your shoulder joint is already damaged, you could experience impingement as the movement involves extending your shoulders.

Lat Pulldowns:

Doing too much shoulder extension and rotating your shoulder inward too much can worsen impingement pain.


As rows involve pulling weights toward the body while keeping the back straight, they also require shoulder extension and internal rotation, potentially exacerbating shoulder impingement.

Other Exercises To Avoid

Lateral Raises:

Lifting your arms to the side too much during Lateral Raises can worsen shoulder pain caused by impingement.

Upright Rows:

As this exercise involves pulling a barbell or dumbbell upward towards the chin while keeping the elbows higher than the wrists, it can cause impingement due to the internal rotation and elevation of the shoulders.

Behind-the-Neck Exercises:

Some exercises, like lifting weights or doing movements behind the neck, can harm your shoulder. They may cause pain and damage to your shoulder joint, so it is better to avoid these exercises to prevent shoulder impingement.

How To Modify Exercises To Avoid Impingement

When you do these exercises, make sure you do them correctly and move your body in the right way. For starters, you can begin with light weights or resistance bands and slowly increase the challenge as you get used to it. If you feel any pain or discomfort, change the exercises or take a break, or you can talk to a fitness expert or physical therapist for more help with adjusting the exercises to fit your needs.

Read More :What Is Corrective Exercise & Why Is It Important?

 Exercises To Include in Your Workout

With all that being said, some exercises can help your shoulder even if you have shoulder impingement. These exercises focus on maintaining and stretching your rotator cuff and stabilizing your shoulder blade.

Shoulder Blade Stabilization Exercises:

Doing exercises that stabilize your shoulder blades can make your shoulders work better and decrease the chance of getting hurt.

Wall Slides:

To do Wall Slides, stand with your back against a wall and move your arms up and down the wall, keeping your elbows, wrists, and back touching the wall. This exercise will help make your shoulder movements better by strengthening your scapular muscles.

Scapular Push-Ups:

To do Scapular Push-Ups, get into a push-up position and focus on moving your shoulder blades forward and backward. This will work the muscles that keep your shoulder blades stable and help prevent shoulder injuries.

Prone T:

To do Prone T, lie face down on a bench or mat, raise your arms out to the sides, and use the muscles in the upper back and shoulder blades to stabilize your scapula and ensure proper shoulder movement.

Prone Y:

Extend your arms at a 45-degree angle above your head to form a “Y” shape while lying face down. This exercise will help improve shoulder stability and decrease the risk of impingement by targeting the muscles concerned with the upward rotation of the scapula.

Rotator Cuff Strengthening Exercises:

To keep your shoulders stable and avoid impingement, it’s important to strengthen the four rotator cuff muscles, namely infraspinatus, supraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. These exercises will help you target those muscles.

Internal Rotation:

To do Internal Rotation exercises, you need a resistance band or cable machine. These exercises help you rotate your arm towards your body, which targets the subscapularis muscle. This muscle is important for keeping your shoulder stable.

External Rotation:

To perform external rotation exercises, use a resistance band or cable machine to rotate your arm away from your body. This helps strengthen the muscles in the back of your shoulder.

Full-Can Exercise:

Hold weights or resistance bands with your thumbs pointing up. Lift your arms to shoulder height. This targets the supraspinatus muscle, which is often involved in impingement.

Side-Lying External Rotation:

Lying on the side with your arm at a 90-degree angle and your elbow against your body and rotate your arm away from your body to work your external rotator muscles and improve shoulder stability.

Stretching Exercises:

Doing stretches can help keep your shoulders flexible, which can lower the chance of impingement and support good shoulder health.

Doorway Stretch:

This type of stretching focuses on the pectoral muscles, which can become stiff and lead to impingement.

Cross-Body Stretch:

The Cross-Body Stretch is a safe and effective way to target the often-neglected posterior shoulder muscles and improve internal rotation.

Sleeper Stretch:

To do the Sleeper Stretch, lie on your side that is not affected. Position your affected arm at a 90-degree angle in front of your body. Slowly push your forearm downwards to stretch your posterior shoulder and internal rotator muscles.

Anatomy of the Shoulder

Before starting the exercises, it’s important to know about the parts of your shoulder joint, as it is made up of the upper arm bone and shoulder blade (scapula). It also has a group of muscles and tendons called the rotator cuff that helps in arm movements and provides stability. Sometimes, a bony projection from the scapula called the acromion can cause shoulder impingement by pressing on the tendons and bursa.

Types of Shoulder Impingement

The shoulder joint is made of the glenoid fossa, a shallow socket located on the scapula, and the rounded head of the humerus. There are four primary types of shoulder impingement, which include anterior acromial impingement, posteriosuperior glenoid rim impingement, subcoracoid impingement, and suprascapular nerve impingement at the spinoglenoid notch. These types of impingements can cause discomfort, and it is better to seek medical attention if you have any symptoms.

Shoulder impingement is a standard cause of shoulder pain. It happens when the muscles that connect your upper arm bone to your shoulder catch or rub against the top of your shoulder. This can be caused by using your shoulder often, such as in swimming, baseball, or softball. When you lift your arm, the space between the muscles and the top of your shoulder gets smaller, which can cause irritation and pain.

Causes of Shoulder Impingement

Sometimes, using your shoulder too much can cause shoulder impingement. This happens when the tendons in your shoulder swell and get caught on your upper shoulder bone. It can also happen without any known cause. Overhead sports like baseball, tennis, swimming, or volleyball can have an effect.

Read More: The Difference Between Strength Training and Functional Training?

Symptoms of Shoulder Impingement

It is important to know the signs of shoulder impingement as some symptoms may include pain when lifting the arm, pain during overhead activities, weakness in the affected shoulder, and a clicking or popping sensation. If these symptoms continue or deepen, it is important to seek medical attention. If you experience pain in the front or side of your shoulder that may also radiate down your arm, you may have a condition that causes sharp, aching, or throbbing pain. This pain can become worse when you engage in activities that involve raising your arm or reaching overhead.

Signs To Look Out For

There may be other factors that might show you have shoulder impingement, which includes not being able to move your shoulder very much, having trouble reaching behind your back, having weak muscles, and feeling like your shoulder is getting stuck or making a grinding noise when you move it. If you have any of these signs, it’s important to talk to a doctor to find out what’s going on.

When To Seek Medical Help

If your shoulder hurts a lot or it’s hard to do things you normally do because of the pain, you should see a doctor. They can figure out what’s wrong and suggest ways to make it better. Sometimes, they might tell you to do special exercises or even have surgery.


With everything discussed, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional or a qualified fitness professional to ensure the exercises you choose suit your specific condition. Hiring a personal trainer who can make Online Zoom Classes is a win with all the buzz with daily work, as it can be hassle-free. We hope you have a good reading into how to take care of your health.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.