Shoulder injuries are likely to be an issue for people that lift forever. However you can put preventative measures in place to keep your shoulders healthy.

Most shoulder injuries occur through heavy pressing such as bench and military press. The reason it happens is because people will build up the deltoid and trapezius muscles but won’t do any work for the rotator cuff. Now this isn’t anyone’s fault – most people don’t know they’re there or what they do because they can’t see them. Without getting too technical they are a group of 4 muscles that hold hold the shoulder girdle together (scapula, clavicle and humerus).

Now the reason these muscles are injured is because no flexibility or resistance exercises are done for them. So what happens is that as you increase the load on your heavy presses the deltoid and trapezius muscles grow and the rotator cuff muscles are left behind. Since they are responsible for holding everything together they struggle to cope with the extra weight so they become strained or torn.

I recommend before any chest or shoulder workout that you do the following warm-up:

Shoulder circles (small 15 each way)
Shoulder circles (large 15 each way)

Using lightweights – 4-6kgs
Front raises 10reps
Lateral raises 10reps
Posterior raises 10 reps
Shoulder presses 10reps
Shrugs 10 rep
Rotator cuff external/internal rotation 10reps each way

It’s important that you focus when you do this warm-up as much as it is when you do your proper sets. I see people doing warm-ups all the time but are too busy chatting to their friends or looking about the gym. Make sure that your shoulders feel warmed up and ready for exercise. If they don’t then keep repeating this warm-up until they are.