Many of us want to increase our bench press. So we focus on that: benching. What happens then is that as we continuously use the barbell for bench pressing, an impingement syndrome can start to develop. Then shoulder pain occurs over the years. This can lead to a nagging issue that can remain for long periods of time. The impingement itself is when your rotator cuff muscles (most commonly your supraspinatus) continuously rubs against the acromion (shoulder bone) as you lift/move your arm and gets irritated/inflamed. Over time, degenerative changes can occur and can lead to tendonopathy adn at worst, tears. The causes of impingement syndrome are multi-factorial. Tight anterior musculature, weak rotator cuff muscles, type III acriomion (surgery can fix this issue), and muscle overuse are the more common factors. So, remember to space out your chest routines, focus on rotator cuff muscle exercises and stretch out those tight chest muscles. There are four (4) rotator cuff muscles and yes, you should keep all of them strong! The four muscles are as follows: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis. The first three are on the outside of the scapula (shoulder blade), the subscapularis is on the underside of the scapula. The primary purpose of the rotator cuff musculature is for shoulder stability, but it is not the only purpose!

The supraspinatus initiates shoulder abduction of the shoulder

The infraspinatus initiates extension, horizontal extension and external rotation of the shoulder

The teres minor works with the posterior deltoid to assist external rotation, extension, horizontal extension, and adduction of the shoulder.

The subcapularis internally rotates the shoulder.

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So now that you know what those muscles are and what actions they perform, you can do exercises that focus on those motions!

“muscles in the bank”