Overhead press causing shoulder pain is one of the most common complaints people have while working out in the gym. We recently did a talk at 6 pack boot camp gym and this was one of the commonly asked questions. Although the members were well motivated, they couldn’t continue with certain exercises due to pain. The most common reason for pain with overhead press is due to pinching of the muscle tendon. A tendon is an attachment of the muscle to the bone. There are 4 muscles that literally ‘cup’ the shoulder joint. Due to repetitive movements or injury, the muscle tendon can get swollen. This results in friction in the movement of the tendon when the arm is lifted overhead, causing pain.

Reasons for pain with overhead press:

Another common issue is bursitis. A bursa is a fluid filled sac that exists between the bone and the tendon to cushion the movement. Bursitis is the swelling of this bursa which can pinch the tendon every time the arm is lifted overhead. It can be so severe so as to cause constant pain and even restrict the movement in the shoulder.

If the pain is so intense that it stops you from working out , you must get physiotherapy treatment on it as soon as possible. However, if it’s more of a discomfort while exercising, you must watch this video below to modify the exercise to reduce strain on your Shoulder joint. If the movement is not modified, it can cause damage to the tendon or the bursa.

Modification of overhead press to avoid pain: