Essential advice on pain free shoulder exercises!

Functional Shoulder Exercise

Front raises, lateral raises, above head shoulder press are all very common exercises designed to build and sculpt the shoulder muscles. A combination of these 3 exercises will assist in building the various muscles of the shoulder (anterior, middle and posterior deltoid).

As far as developing the shoulder muscles these exercises are absolutely ideal, they focus on the target muscle and by overloading these muscles with weighted exercise we are going to no doubt strengthen them and build them up.

However, as with the majority of exercises, how the technique is performed is absolutely crucial in order to achieve our desired gains, without injuring our self and setting our progress back while we recover from injury. Not to mention dealing with the pain and inconvenience of injury in day to day life.

At Functional For Life we are always encouraging our readers to be mindful of performing exercise correctly to avoid dealing with this completely avoidable pain. To assist with this:

Our tip for today is: When performing shoulder exercises externally rotate your shoulder

Why? I hear you say. Well… it all comes down to the anatomy of the shoulder joint where the upper arm (humerus bone) meets in the AC joint.

Shoulder rotation



In the above images we can see where the upper arm meets in the AC joint. The specific area of focus is the Bursa. This bursa is a small fluid filled sac that is designed to reduce the amount of friction in our shoulder joint as we move our shoulder around.

When are shoulder is internally rotated it can impinge this bursa and slowly break it down. Repeating this movement over time can lead to ‘bursitis of the shoulder

A painful and debilitating injury that can take weeks to months to recover from.

So how do you externally rotate your shoulder?

To put it simply, thumbs up will equal external rotation:

External Rotation

Internal rotation:

External rotation


Thanks for reading! We hope you take this advice on board if you are regularly training your shoulders. If you are after more tips and advice, check out our Blog. Happy training everyone!

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