Chest Exercises

The Best Move to Alleviate Chest and Shoulder Pain

Chest and shoulder pain affecting your workouts? Here's how to fix it.

Chest and Shoulder Pain Affecting Your Workouts? Here's How to Fix It
Per Bernal


Lifting weights, and moving around in general, can create imbalance in your body. You might notice some aches and pains in particular in the anterior deltoids and the chest. Hey, it happens. But at least you can do something about it.


“Muscles like the scalenes, pec minor and major, anterior deltoid, and upper traps are in a nearly constant activated state,” says Cristian Plascencia, senior durability coach at Onnit Academy in Austin, TX. That translates to pain in the front of the shoulders and the chest muscles.


Poor posture and bad workout habits will take a toll over time, leading to a rounding of the upper back and shoulders, Plascencia says. A constant ache isn’t far behind. And because the average lifter pushes and presses more than he pulls and rows, that only feeds into the dysfunction.


Regularly perform moves
like the Rafiki elbows, above. Also: “You should become more aware of how you spend the majority of your day rather than just the time you spend in the gym,” Plascencia says. But when in the gym, “you should try to pull two times more than you push.” 

How To Do It

Rafiki Elbows

1. Stand with your elbows at your sides, with your forearms up and your palms facing forward like you’re grabbing a bar at chin height.

2. Rotate your thumbs so they point behind you. Then lower your arms out to the sides to lock out your elbows.

3. Return to the starting position and repeat


To combat a hunched posture, do two pulling moves for every one push exercise.

For access to exclusive fitness advice, interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!