Improve your Shoulder Pain with Strength Training 


Shoulder pain can actually be improved using targeted strength training to correct strength imbalances caused by years of daily activity, according to the science literature. At Vertex Fitness, we aren’t doctors or physical therapists, and we can’t prescribe any specific exercises or supplements that can fix an injured or damaged shoulder. What we can do is work with you to ensure that your workout is safe and effective, taking any shoulder injuries into account, and help you to regain some strength and range of motion in your shoulder. If you are experiencing persistent or chronic shoulder pain, of course, you should see your doctor.

The shoulder is one of the body’s most amazing structures. It is classified as a ball and socket joint, and it provides us with the ability to move about with a great degree of motion. The Humerus (upper arm bone), Scapula (shoulder blade), and Clavicle (collar bone) all articulate to form the skeletal structure of the shoulder. As we further break down its anatomy, we come to find that there are actually multiple joints within this particular part of the body that make it unique.

  • The Glenohumeral joint, where the head of the humerus articulates with the glenoid cavity of the scapula, forming the most obvious joint in the shoulder.
  • The (AC) Acromioclavicular joint, where the clavicle meets the acromial process of the scapula.
  • The (SC) Sternoclavicular joint, where the sternum and the clavicle articulate.
  • The Scapulothrorarcic joint, where the scapula and the ribs meet.

Shoulder Mobility

These four joints allow us to move our shoulders in all planes of motion. The Scapulothroracic joint allows us to move our shoulder blades away from the body, increasing overall potential for shoulder mobility.  Being that the head of the Humerus is nearly four times the size of the glenoid cavity, the muscles of the upper back, arm, and chest work in unison to support the integrity of the Glenohumeral and the Scapulothroracic joints. When it comes to the surrounding musculature of the shoulder, strength training is a great way to correct strength imbalances that are caused through years of every day activity. Therefore, this type of training makes it possible to restore one’s range of motion in the joint after being cleared for physical activity by a primary healthcare provider.

Shoulder Pain Caused by Shoulder Injuries

As suggested by a 2013 article, “The Role of the Scapula” published by the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, most shoulder injuries occur as a result of sport activity or abnormal movement patterns. Many of these abnormalities stem from weakness in the muscles that help stabilize the scapula. A few common complications that are caused by this are shoulder impingement syndrome, bursitis, tendonitis, and rotator cuff injuries.

A good personal trainer should understand the anatomy of the shoulder and develop a keen sense of detail to help clients strengthen those specific muscles as well as the rest of the body. Far too often individuals develop chronic shoulder pain due to impingement of the surrounding musculature. Modifications can be made to work around minor injuries and strengthen previous ones so that strength and normal mobility can be improved. Vertex trainers are skilled when it comes serving trainees with these kinds of needs.


When it comes to training the muscles that support the shoulder, Vertex Fitness takes a fully functional approach to improve shoulder pain. The training studio is equipped with highly efficient Nautilus machinery that are designed to allow smooth resistance throughout the full range of motion. The personal trainers at Vertex Fitness do a great job of teaching and reinforcing form and technique in order to target every muscle group of the body, including those smaller ones like the muscles of the upper back that help with shoulder stabilization. The workouts are carefully designed to take each client to the next level by incorporating advanced training techniques. These techniques allow our clients to get the most out of their workout in the least amount of time.

There are a few particular exercises that can help improve the overall health of the shoulder, so I’ve listed them below:

Row/ Pulldown:

The Row machine is an exercise intended to target and isolate the musculature of the back. The primary muscles involved are the Latissimus Dorsi and the middle and lower Trapezius. The Rhomboids, Teres Major, and Long head of the Bicep are also involved as Secondary muscles which help to stabilize the scapula for optimum performance. At Vertex Fitness we help our clients get the most out of this exercise in the least amount of time by focusing on the retraction of the shoulder before pulling from the prime movers. This allows greater involvement of the Rhomboids and Teres Major helping to build the strength needed to improve overall shoulder stability.

Decline Bench Press:

This exercise is designed to work the muscles of the chest and arms specifically the Pectoralis Major and Triceps. Many people incorporate this compound movement in their routine to tone and build strength in these targeted muscles, but develop shoulder impingement over a period of time due to poor form and execution. The trainers at Vertex use their fanatical attention to detail to help clients maintain proper form so that they get the most out of the exercise.

Shoulder Press:

Contrary to popular belief the shoulder press is another exercise that is used to improve overall strength and functionality of the shoulder joint itself. The movement should be focused on the deltoids, as they are the prime mover of this exercise. When the arms are raised over the head the Serratus Anterior is activated to stabilize the scapula. Having a knowledgeable trainer ensures that the movement is both safe and effective.


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