Recurring Front Deltoid & Neck Pain?

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    A little history:

    For the couple decades I’ve always tended to be weaker in the upper body and stronger in the lower body. After doing bench or pushups I would always feel it in the delts more than my chest.

    About a year ago I quit crossfit after doing it for about 4 years. I was doing some butterfly pullups and did something to my right shoulder (pain in the front delt and radiates down to my elbow) and ever since then many upper body exercises would cause the pain to come back.

    Even before this I would often be doing something like pullups or press and get a pinch in my neck (always on the right side) that would cause pain for days, but lots of stretching would seem to help.

    I recently started doing only bodyweight stuff (after reading Pushing the Limits!) after doing nothing for several months and gaining weight.

    Almost immediately upon doing the pushups the deltoid pain came back so I’ve been going easy on those.

    On my workout this morning I was doing some pullups and got that pinch in my neck again.

    I’ve been reading lately that many people say these issues are at least in part because of poor posture (I think Al talks about that in the book) so I’ve been working on stretches that are supposed to help with posture along with focusing on posture throughout the day.

    I think it’s helped a bit I wanted to get insight from you guys to see if you have any other suggestions.

    Thanks so much


    Robby Taylor

    If you’ve always felt push ups more in the deltoids than the chest, it sounds like you may not know how to put the tension on your chest, yet I suspect it is due to an underlying issue with some kind of structural alignment rather than simply poor technique.

    Honestly, I would suggest working on bridges and Australian pull ups extensively. Try to work push ups as well, but if they keep giving you issues I’d suggest trying bridge push ups, or possibly dips, if they don’t bother your shoulders. For the bridge push ups, ultimately you want to touch the back of your shoulders to the ground at the bottom of every rep. But you don’t really “have” to do push ups, for the time being you could just work on holding bridges for time.

    I’d also recommend hanging leg raises, I think they could be good for your shoulders, plus they’re great for your abs.


    Besides all that, you may want to find a good chiropractor or physical therapist. Most regular doctors will probably just give you pills and maybe recommend surgery.


    Robby, thank you very much for the insight.

    I’ve been doing straight bridges but I suppose it’s time to move on to something more difficult so I’ll do that as well as the Australian pull ups. I’ve been doing knee push without pain (talk about humbling, in the gym). I just tried a bridge push up from the ground and got up about 2 inches so that will take some work.

    I’ll also start the hanging leg raises. I did hanging knee raises this morning with only a little pain in my shoulder so I’ll move on the the legs.

    Great idea on the chiropractor – I’ll move forward on that as well.

    Thanks again

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