Shoulder Pain and Pull Ups …. It’s All In The Prep Jun 04 2020

Pull ups are often used when progressing upper body strength in the gym. However it is not uncommon to experience shoulder pain during pull ups, especially when you are new to the exercise, so why does this happen?

The shoulder is made up of a ball (humeral head) and socket (glenoid fossa) joint which prioritises mobility over stability. The Rotator Cuff muscles act together to stabilise the humeral head during shoulder activities so it is important to maintain rotator strength and activation. The muscles which act upon the shoulder blade are also very important in maintaining proper shoulder function as they will determine the position of the shoulder socket. These muscles include Trapezius, Serratus Anterior, Rhomboids and Pectoralis Minor.

The most common cause of shoulder pain with pull ups is shoulder impingement. This is when the rotator cuff tendon and shoulder bursa are compressed under a bone on the shoulder blade.

Common factors associated with shoulder pain during pull ups:

  • Lack of rotator cuff strength or poor muscle activation
  • Technique errors
  • Lack of core strength
  • Poor shoulder blade control
  • Underlying shoulder instability
  • Reduced shoulder or thoracic spine flexibility

We asked Georgia, Head Personal Trainer at Pull Ups and Pilates with G, the most common pull up errors that she sees when she is training clients:

  • Overworking the Upper Fibres of Trapezius
  • Rushing the Descent
  • Too Much Volume with Poor Form

Georgia’s Top 3 Pull Up Preparation Exercises are:

  1. Scapula CARs:
  2. Y Hold:
  3. Banded Ws:

Join Georgia’s class ‘The Preparation for Pull Ups’ which focuses on shoulder joint stability and shoulder blade control. Book onto class online:

Shoulder impingement is not limited to people who perform pull ups, it is a common problem in overhead athelets, occupations involving repetitive upper limb actions, postural dysfunction and over the age of 40 where it is associated with degenerative pathology.

If you are suffering from shoulder pain it can be easily assessed and treated online with a proper rehabilitation exercises and expert video analysis. Book in with us today!

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