Shoulder pain during military presses.
This sounds like shoulder impingement syndrome. People who raise their arms over their heads, as with the military press, often irritate their rotator cuff muscles and tendons. The two previous surgeries have complicated your situation. Even successful surgeries will leave scar tissue in the shoulder joint. There are several things which should help your condition:
1. Pay strict attention to your posture. Try to keep your shoulders from drooping forward throughout the day.
2. If you haven't been doing so already, start performing scapular retraction exercises. Examples include seated rows and reverse flies.
3. Eliminate movements that aggravate your shoulders.
4. For the time being replace the bench press with incline bench or DB incline bench.
5. Do front, lateral, and posterior raises instead of the military press, at least for the time being.
6. Perform shoulder and chest stretches on a daily basis-but only stretch to a point that does not aggravate your symptoms.
If these measures doe not help over the next six to eight weeks, I suggest scheduling a visit with a sports medicine specialist. You may need more intensive therapeutic treatment.
Doug Lentz, CSCS
The rotator cuff muscles provide the stability your shoulder needs to perform the movements created by the prime movers of the joint. As you engage in a strengthening program that includes shoulder presses, your larger shoulder muscles become stronger and create a greater imbalance of strength between them and the rotator cuff muscles. To continue with shoulder presses, you could try altering your range of motion, the angle at which you press, and your hand position, any one of which may take the burden off the shoulder that had the surgeries. You can accomplish this using dumbbells instead of a machine, which has a fixed path of movement. As noted above, a regimen of rotator cuff strengthening exercises should be added to your program. A visit to an orthopedist would help you both receive a proper diagnosis and get more details on which exercises to add.
Greg Tymon, Med, CSCS
East Stroudsburg, PA