The Shoulder-Friendly Hardcore Workout You’ve Always Wanted


Back PainShoulder Pain | Knee Pain | Upper-Body Workout | Lower-Body Workout

Some people have been experiencing shoulder pain for so long, they stop believing anything better is in the cards for them. Maybe it’s just a few machines at best from here on out. This workout could be the one that changes your mind about what you’re capable of—and how you can keep lifting safely for years to come.



It’s an upper-body-focused free-weights workout from elite strength coach and doctor of physical therapy John Rusin, a specialist in pain-free training. You’ll perform the best shoulder-friendly press and row variations, but with enough intensity to build muscle and strength and get a serious muscle pump. If you’ve been wishing for a workout that was worth your pre-workout but wouldn’t leave you in the bad kind of pain afterward, you’ve found it.

This workout is built around principles of pain-free training you can find in the Unstoppable guides to training through back, shoulder, and knee pain. In the full version of Unstoppable: The Ultimate Guide to Training Through Injury in BodyFit, you can see in-depth movement guides to help you apply these lessons to a wide range of workouts.

Here’s what else you need to know to get maximum benefit out of this workout.

Workout Notes:

  • Watch the full video workout playlist, if possible. There are tons of great movement-specific cues in each video, plus ideas about how to dial back or dial up intensity.
  • The warm-up looks like a lot on paper, but it should take no longer than 8-10 minutes to perform, and it will make every movement that comes after it both stronger and safer.
  • Dial back this workout’s volume based on your experience level, but perform the recommended warm-up or ramp-up sets before your working sets.
  • Feel free to incorporate elements of this workout into other programs you may be following. If the only thing you take away from this workout is the warm-up routine, that could still be enough to change your lifting life!

Workout Video Playlist

To view the complete playlist of videos from the workout, first click play to start the video. Then click the small rectangle icon near the lower right of the player screen to see the full list of the other videos.

Alternately, if you want to watch the entire workout, just click the play button and the videos will auto-play.

Shoulder-Friendly Upper-Body Workout

Perform the exercises in order, resting as little as possible.
Foam Roll Upper Back
1 set, 30 sec (no rest)

Foam Roll Lats
1 set, 30 sec (left side, no rest)

Foam Roll Lats
1 set, 30 sec (right side, no rest)

Foam Roll Pecs
1 set, 30 sec (left side, no rest)

Foam Roll Pecs
1 set, 30 sec (right side, no rest)

Lat Stretch

Perform 10 pulsing reps, followed by a 10-second hold in the stretched position.

1 set, 10 reps (no rest)

Pec Stretch

Perform 10 pulsing reps, followed by a 10-second hold in the stretched position.

1 set, 10 reps (left side, no rest)

Pec Stretch

Perform 10 pulsing reps, followed by a 10-second hold in the stretched position.

1 set, 10 reps (right side, no rest)

Adductor Stretch With Thoracic Rotation
1 set, 30 sec (left side, no rest)

Adductor Stretch With Thoracic Rotation
1 set, 30 sec (right side, no rest)

T-Spine Rotation with Reach
1 set, 30 sec (left side, no rest)

T-Spine Rotation with Reach
1 set, 30 sec (right side)

MOVEMENT PATTERNING SUPERSET
Perform the exercises in order, resting as little as possible.
Banded Push-Up
3 sets, 5 reps (no rest)

Suspended row
3 sets, 5 reps (no rest)

NERVOUS-SYSTEM-PRIMING SUPERSET
Perform the exercises in order, resting as little as possible.
3 sets, 5 reps (no rest)

Medicine Ball Chest Slam
3 sets, 3-5 reps (no rest)

POWER PRIMER MOVEMENT
Perform 2-3 warm-up sets if needed, then 3 working sets with the same weight.
Cable Half-Kneeling Face Pull
3 sets, 15 reps (rest 1 min.)

Barbell Floor Press

After your final set, perform 3 single-rep dropsets as you strip off weight.

3 sets, 4 reps (rest 2 min.)

Slight Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
3 sets, 10 reps (rest 90 sec.)

SLIGHT DECLINE SINGLE-ARM DUMBBELL ROW
Perform all the reps on one side before switching to the other side. Don’t rest between sides and rest 60-90 sec. between sets.
Slight Decline Single-Arm Dumbbell Row
4 sets, 8 reps (left side, no rest)

Slight Decline Single-Arm Dumbbell Row
4 sets, 8 reps (right side, rest 90 sec.)

Dual-Handle Low Cable Row
3 sets, 15 reps (rest 90 sec.)

SINGLE-ARM BARBELL SUITCASE HOLD
Perform all the reps on one side before switching to the other side. Don’t rest between sides and rest 75 sec. between sets.
Single-Arm Barbell Suitcase Hold
4 sets, 30 sec (left side, no rest)

Single-Arm Barbell Suitcase Hold
4 sets, 30 sec (right side, rest 75 sec.)

Love lifting heavy? Take care of your joints so you can keep coming back for years.



Source: bodybuilding.com

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