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Pain in Shoulder When Doing Pushups

by
author image Lindsay Kent
Lindsay Kent began writing professionally in 2009, appearing first at ProTrainer Online. She is a Certified Personal Trainer and a Certified Specialist in Fitness Nutrition. Kent graduated summa cum laude from the University of West Georgia with a bachelor's degree in English and received various accolades and scholarships from the Institute of English.
Pain in Shoulder When Doing Pushups
Shoulder pain during pushups can be prevented. Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

Oftentimes, pain felt during a workout or particular exercise move can be the result of incorrect form or technique, repetitive use or weak muscles that are having trouble supporting the movement. If the problem is not identified and exercise continues in the same manner with the pain persisting, this can lead to permanent injury. When doing a compound move like the pushup, it is essential to pay attention to your form and technique along with any pain signals your body might be sending.

Improving Shoulder Functionality

The shoulder joint has an amazing range of motion, more movement than any other joint in the body, according to The Sports Injury Bulletin. In the body's three planes of motion, more than 1,600 movements are possible. Experiencing pain in the shoulder could be an indicator of functional weakness, which includes both stability and mobility. Your stabilizer muscles provide stability to your shoulders during a weight-bearing movement such as the pushup. If these muscles are weak, there is not an even distribution of your body weight during the mobile part of the push-up, or the eccentric and concentric movement. Working on strengthening these muscles can help alleviate pain in the shoulder during the motion of the pushup.

Shoulder Joint Tendinitis

Tendons are the thick, rope-like cords that attach muscles to bone, and they can often become inflamed or irritated. This is usually because of the result of overuse or doing repetitive movements. Performing pushups several times a week can irritate the tendons that surround the shoulder joint, causing a tight, painful sensation. The best remedy for tendinitis is ice to reduce any inflammation or swelling and also rest. Performing other movements that work the same muscles may be necessary if the tendinitis or pain is recurrent.

Rotator Cuff

The rotator cuff muscle helps to provide the glenohumeral or shoulder joint with stability during dynamic movement. While there is no overhead movement that would cause a range of motion rotation injury during a pushup, acute tears can happen with this muscle during quick, powerful movement such as the pushup. This tear would be located on the anterior of the shoulder joint, and if the tear is significant enough, the arm may not be able to be raised. This type of tear can cause very sharp, acute pain for a few days and then subside, or it may just feel very tender. There are also chronic tears, which usually happen on the more dominant side of the body and usually develop in those age 40 and older. These occur due to weaker muscles and more wear and tear.

Injury Prevention

Performing three to five-minute sets using lighter weights is a way great way to train the muscles of the shoulder joint. While it is important to strengthen the stabilizer muscles, conditioning the muscles of the shoulder joint independently will help prevent injury or pain. Also, while doing the pushup, starting out performing the motion on your knees will redistribute your weight, alleviating some of the pressure off of your shoulders while you build greater strength in your muscles.

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