The Best Exercises for CrossFit Shoulder Pain

by Onward Physical Therapy | June 28, 2022 |
The Best Exercises for CrossFit Shoulder Pain

Are you struggling with CrossFit shoulder pain? Shoulder pain is one of the most common injuries we see limiting CrossFit athletes in the gym, but that does not mean you need to continue dealing with it.

We often find that the large muscles in the shoulders (lats/delts) get overworked and the smaller muscles in the back of the shoulder are not working efficiently to complete movements. Targeting and strengthening the rotator cuff and upper back into overhead positions can help pull symptoms down and get you back to performing your workouts pain free!

Here are our top 3 exercises to help combat CrossFit shoulder pain .

Top 8 Exercises for CrossFit Shoulder Pain

Side Lying Trio

The side-lying trio is one of our favorite ways to get the rotator cuff warmed up and force the back of the shoulder to work through a full range of motion. For athletes with Begin with light weight for external rotation for 10 reps and then drop the weight to complete the second and third movements for 3 reps.

Serratus Wall Slides

We love to use the serratus wall slide to begin working back overhead while retraining the smaller muscles to work together. Make sure to press the shoulder blades forward and keep the elbows tucked under your wrists as you complete the movement.

Scapular Angels

The scapular angels force the muscles around your shoulder blade to be working the entire time while going overhead. Make sure to maintain tension pulling on the bands throughout the entire movement.

90/90 External Rotation Negatives

The external rotators of the shoulder play a large roll in both pressing and pulling and can easily get aggravated with Crossfit movements. Use these negatives to increase the strength and mobility of your shoulders.

Prone PVC Press

This will challenge your shoulder and upper back mobility in order to complete this through a full range of motion. Adjust the width of your grip on the PVC to reach behind your head and make sure to keep your low back from arching.

Kettlebell Arm Bar

The kettlebell arm bar is a great way to force the shoulder stabilizers to work hard while moving through a range of motion. One often overlooked component of CrossFit shoulder pain rehab is the stability needs in the shoulder joint.

Bottoms Up Kettlebell Press

Continuing to challenge the stabilizers while working into a full pressing motion is the key here. The weight will be light, but should feel challenging to maintain proper form through the entire motion.

Half Kneeling Landmine Press

Get back to pressing heavier loads without shoulder pain with the landmine press. The barbell being secured at one end creates stability and allows you to progress heavier weights comfortably.

Need more help?

Still dealing with shoulder pain during Crossfit or other exercise? Schedule an appointment today to get back to performing your best. Our physical therapy clinics across the country specialize in helping fitness athletes get back to the barbell after tweaks!