Sharp Shoulder Pain When Pressing

Hi, Long time lifter here. I never do less than 10 reps to avoid injury. I have had minor shoulder issues in the past (mostly just popping, usually no pain) which is probably mostly due to being a side sleeper. I assume its minor shoulder impingement.

However, recently I went to pour the morning coffee and could not do it. That motion (pouring from a pitcher) caused major pain. Also, I bench press with dumbbells and have extreme pain in the front of the shoulder near the top of movement. Its getting better after about 1 month but very slowly. Is this likely something other than impingement?

I read up a bit on rotator cuff exercises and doing the test where you stand with arm bent 90 deg I feel no pain when pulling towards my body but some when pushing away.


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Similar boat. I’ve had almost that exact same experience (pouring motion).
Currently pretty debilitated by my right shoulder.


You’ve both mentioned pain when you move your arm Up, Forward, or Internally Rotate your shoulder.

And you’ve both mentioned no pain or even relief when you make the opposite motion, pulling your arm In, Back and down.

A real simple explanation could have tight muscles in the front of your shoulder pulling on your arm bones, restricting your motion and causing all your shoulder pinching impingement stuff.

If that’s the case, some easy stretches might help. Try this quick one.

If shortened pecs are contributing to your problem, you’ll feel a lot of tightness in your pec during the stretch (duh). But as that tightness releases, you might also feel a lot of tension you were unaware of in the front of your neck, in your bicep or forearm. And if your shoulders were restricted and this stretch helps, you might feel your shoulder blade sliding “back” around your ribs. And ideally you’ll feel tension, or contraction or maybe even cramping in your mid back muscles like rhomboids and low traps.

If you get something out of that little clip, here is the long version.


I haven’t watched the second video, but I hadn’t seen the stretch in the first video done like that, 20 seconds each medium, high and low.

Actually helped immediately with the thing I’m dealing with right now.

It’s not like I haven’t known and used this stretch in the past; just a temporary brain blip I guess.

Also I had some success (in the past) with this:

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That happens when you find stuff that stuff that works well! It’s so good you only need to do it a few times, then you just forget it.

That Starret/Thompson stuff is legit. Sometimes I’ll try to recreate the arm angle of the push/pull lift I’m doing and do a few reps against the band (really emphasizing the rotation) between sets of the real lift to keep it feeling “good.”


More good stuff from Tom Morrison.

The basic idea is to make sure you have all the shoulder motions, forward, backward, up, down the rolling forward and back.

Then you can use “Elevate, Pull Back, then Pull Down” to get your shoulders in the proper position.

From there you can do an isometric shoulder extension, pushing your arm behind you against a wall while pulling your shoulder “down” to relearn you to support your shoulder/arm with your lat muscle.

After that you make sure you can do the Forward, Backward, Up, Down, Roll Forward, Roll Backward while supporting your body weight in the pushup position. First against the wall if you need to, progress to kneeling then full pushup.

Now you’re ready for stuff like pull aparts, inverted rows and hand release pushups.

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