If you’re experiencing shoulder pain, it’s time to overhaul your training routine. Ignoring that signal and pushing through the pain could lead to missed time at the gym, a serious injury, and even surgery.

But what’s the best way to improve your workout? Should you ditch the shoulder exercises until the pain goes away?

Rest is rarely enough: it’s just a quick fix. Chances are, once you resume your old workout routine, the pain will come back—maybe even worse.

The Three Pillars of Shoulder Health

To fix nagging shoulder pain, always follow these rules:

  1. Stop doing exercises that irritate the shoulders.
  2. Get the shoulders to sit in the right position.
  3. Get the shoulders to move properly.

The shoulders are a fragile area and should be trained as such. In the shoulder joint, there’s a tiny gap for your arms to move around called the “subacromial space”—that space should always be maintained.

Yet for many with shoulder pains, their posture and exercise routine closes that space, inflames nearby muscles and ligaments, and creates pain.

In the shoulder girdle, the shoulder blades (scapula) also have an important role—as you reach up, they rotate upward; as you return, they rotate downward.

Shoulder pain starts developing when the scapula doesn’t move as well due to injuries, bad posture, and poor training.

To fix your cranky shoulders, you need to find good replacement exercises, improve your posture, and move better. Here are eleven great tips (in no particular order) that will get you feeling great again.