If you frequently exercise, play sports, or lift weights, you’re bound to get an ache or pain that makes daily activities a pain in the glutes. The shoulder joint is one of the most commonly injured areas due to its natural large range of motion (ROM), versatility, and use in almost everything we humans do. A lot of people who run into an acute injury or develop an overuse injury in the shoulder tend to just stop using it in hopes that it will heal on its own. Unfortunately, sometimes inaction can be worse for the shoulder than controlled action. There are a lot of small muscles, tendons, and ligaments that help the shoulder function – making pin-pointing an exact cause for your pain on your own quite difficult. If you continue to resistance train through a nagging shoulder injury (as many people do), try to focus on these few points while lifting to allow your shoulder time to strengthen without extending your injury. 1. Watch your ROM. If a lateral shoulder raise above ear-level hurts, but shoulder-level doesn’t, don’t go to ear-level. Seems obvious, but I see people trying to train their upper body while consistently going through too great a ROM on every rep – just “working through the pain” because they don’t think they’re going to get anything out of it if they don’t do it as they normally would. If it hurts, don’t do it. Reduce the ROM on the exercise to a point where you CAN comfortably do the lift. If ANY point throughout the ROM hurts, then ditch it until your shoulder is back to better health. 2. Do your prehab. Prehabilitation is preventative rehab – it’s done before your workouts and even when your shoulder isn’t acting up. This includes things like internal/external rotation, “I”, “T”, “Y” raises, and shoulder distraction with a resistance band for stretching the shoulder in a different and more effective way. Do your prehab 4-5 days per week, before training sessions, until your shoulder starts to feel better. Try different types of prehab exercises to find out which types work and which ones don’t. 3. Go light. Especially during exercises that have given you trouble in the past or make you a little uncomfortable with a painful shoulder, you can always challenge the muscle with a lighter weight that won’t cause you pain or prolong your recovery. Focusing on the tempo of each rep, focusing on the eccentric portion of the lift, and/or reducing rest periods with light weights will all increase the intensity without needing to increase the weight. 4. Listen to your body. All three of these things have worked with clients of all ages within a matter of 1-3 weeks, but if the injury doesn’t start to get better after ~1 month of focusing on safely strengthening and stretching the shoulder, see a health professional to make sure there isn’t something serious causing your pain. Shoulder Distraction Video Joe is a high school hockey and tennis coach, strength and conditioning coach, personal trainer and business owner from Minnesota. He strives to coach others to be their best selves - through sports, fitness, and habit-based nutrition coaching. lifetimelean.com