Quick Fix for Popping and Painful Shoulders – The Correct Arm Angle when Doing Overhead Shoulder Presses


The angle that you set to flare your arms during a bout of overhead shoulder presses is very important. The significance of which holds the difference between injury and longevity. Today that is what we are going to focus on.

I wrote before on a very (potentially) painful experience when I was doing overhead presses. With a very light weight I noticed my shoulders popping as I lift the bar overhead. This is going to be serious problem. With that I was forced to lay low for a while from any type of shoulder presses or from time to time I just relied on dumbbells for pressing overhead (since dumbbells provided more natural angle for the shoulders thus making it less dangerous) – which were not bad at all but off course we all know that the barbell provides a stimulus which cannot be replicated by anything else.

But the thing that we forgot to discuss in the “popping shoulders” article was the importance of properly angling one’s arm flare as he presses the weight overhead.

This is important, take a look at this illustration below:

correct angle of shoulders when doing overhead press

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Figure A is wrong and injurious. Flaring your arms 100% will also 100% cause shoulder degeneration and injuries. I have been doing it that way for a very long time with significantly heavier weights than I can hoist right now (I was stronger when I was active on the varsity team back in college, with no job, kids or responsibilities) before the symptoms of shoulder degeneration became apparent to me and that is when my shoulders began popping whenever I do overhead presses.

Figure B is the CORRECT way to flare out your shoulders during overhead shoulder presses. Flaring your shoulders like the one in figure B is the QUICK fix to popping shoulders. You just need to decrease the andgle of your flare a little.

I tell you; when I did it that way all of the popping DISAPEARED and thus my joints were able to recuperate from the damages that have accrued before. The thing about flaring your shoulders 100% wide when you press is that it really does a number on your shoulder because it puts it in a very lousy angle plus heavy resistance from the bar itself damaging your shoulder joints and rotator cuff more and more every time.

With that don’t forget to regularly train and condition your rotator cuff and make yourself safer and safer from shoulder injuries. The exercises are also written ON THIS POST (visit it, it’s very important). Here are some rotator cuff conditioning exercises:

Rotator cuff exercises

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Remember that your shoulders are like floating joints and they are only attached to the torso by a group of muscles called the rotator cuffs. The shoulders are made that way with a “false joint” for the purpose of mobility thus it can rotate 360 degrees unlike your other joints that can only move up to a certain angle. And for that very same reason that it is very VERY prone to injury. Thus care is needed and you must take your time to do those rotator cuff moves for at least 3 times a week – although you shouldn’t do them BEFORE doing any other upper arm move. They should be done AFTER your workout or on their own separate day.

Take note that serious injury with the rotator cuff would require surgery and a long layoff and at that point even adjusting the angle of your arm flare would be useless for you. There have been thousands of promising athletes who ended up badly just because of rotator cuff and shoulder injuries and most of them end their career (in most instances even BEFORE they began having a career) so please take care of your shoulders. Eat your eggs, people!

A-Lifter- Don't forget to leave your comment/feedback below.  If this article was helpful, I am sure our book Real Talk Muscle will help you even more in your quest for muscle gain. Check it out you can read the first few chapters as well.
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