Healthy Shoulders Are Worth Their Weight In Gold


When your shoulders have issues, the rest of your body will suffer.

Trust me. Been there, done that on MANY fronts.

Back in high school I remember feeling like someone was stabbing my shoulder with a knife every time I perform the dumbbell press with the elbows out. I had half a brain and tested elbows in and it worked.

In my mind 20s my brother and I wound up wrestling and I was in a precarious position and refused to let go. The result was a tear to the rotator cuff. It was so painful I was nauseated, I seriously thought I was going to throw up from the pain. I had never felt like that before and it took me 6 months to get back to normal.

Why did the rehab take so long?

I had NO information on rehabbing my shoulder. Back then, Doctors gave you the same ol’ feedback: “Just rest….”, “take 6 months off….”

This was 2002 or so and I wish I knew then what I know now.

The BIG issue nowadays is that you can injure your shoulders without even lifting, without wrestling or doing anything of the sort.

Many shoulder issues come about due to poor posture, which leads to screwing up your mechanics and adding further damage in which the joints & tissue begin smashing against one another. NOT Fun.

Proper posture is critical.

See the pic below of my anterior depressed shoulders (aka forward slumped shoulders, aka shitty posture).

When viewing someone’s back, you should be able to see their traps, NOT a smooth downward slumped surface. I have fixed this problem and my pain has gone away!


Proper training technique is also extremely important. The more often you press with incorrect form the closer your bring your shoulders to putting you out of commission.

Check out this video on how to keep your shoulders healthy by training them to be “smart”. How the heck can you build smart shoulders you ask?

The answer, is in this video. Check it out and let me know your thoughts!

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And here is a favorite shoulder mobility wod video from my homie, K Star. Check it out.

Learn it, Love it, Live it….

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Here is a Great warm up from my Little BEAST for the shoulders as well as exercises to make those shoulders and your scapula “smarter”. Check it:

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Wishing you strong, healthy and happy shoulders!

Live The Code


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  1. says

    Good shit brother! Like the eagle claw analogy for the shoulder blades and I gotta try that tennis ball taped to the barbell. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Luis Carrillo says

    Boom you hit it on the nail Z, healthy shoulders are not something that you should just want but actively train for

    I dislocated my shoulder last year while pressing a kettlebell due to crappy form, too heavy & I was cold

    This injury didn’t just happen bc I didn’t know proper form but Also bc my mechanics and posture were effed up! I had rounded shoulders, back pain, a tight chest, couldn’t even walk straight and my whole body was in pain and constant tightness

    Since I started retracting my shoulder blades back like you showed (specially with inverted rows) my back has gotten a lot Stronger, my posture has improved hugely and I can press heavier & with comfort again

    It’s not always sexy to do mobility work, but it’s a necessity due to our bad habits

    Thanks Z for the crucial post, I hope most people value the importance of healthy shoulders!

    Luis Carrillo

  3. Dustin W. says

    I read in an old powerlifting magazine years ago that if you wanted a big bench you needed a big back. Name slips me know but he was a big time bencher and he said when he did clinics he would look at the person’s back and knew right away if they would be big benchers. Many times suggesting working the back before working the bench. Too much bench without proper back support will kill the shoulders, and decrease the press.
    Set it! Press it! Dominate it!
    Good stuff Z!

  4. Jesus Revezzo says

    Another great tip from a man who’s not afraid to keep learning. It may be possible to make those drills even better by keeping the head and neck in a neutral position throughout. In the video your head pops forwards you retract which may or may not lead to other compensations or power leaks.
    Love what you do bro keep it up.
    Yours in strength and health

  5. says

    great stuff, had both by clavicles and shoulders replaced/and/or operated on with titanium and such, due to traumatic injury, not poor form. But learning the mechanics behind “healthy” shoulders/proper posture/ form, allowed me to rehab to full mobility (despite what PT’s thought). Your awesome for focusing on the seeds that lay the root for a strong tree!

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