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🔥 WORST Shoulder Exercise

WORST Shoulder Exercise
💥 WORST Shoulder Exercise

🔥TOP 5 Shoulder Exercises

1. ✅ Lateral raises with palms down or thumbs down

Lateral raises with palms down or thumbs down
Lateral raises with palms down or thumbs down

I frequently see people performing lateral raises with dumbbells with the palms facing downward and recently have been seeing people performing the exercise with the thumbs down and palms facing away from each other. This position actually mimics the provocative test for rotator cuff pathology and places the delicate rotator cuff musculature at risk for injury.


By internally rotating the humerus this exposes more of the rotator cuff  to compression under the acromion process of the scapula. If performing these exercises in the gym, the thumbs should be pointing upward to best protect the rotator cuff.

2. ✅ Behind the head shoulder press

Behind the head shoulder press
Behind the head shoulder press

This exercise compromises the distal attachment of the supraspinatus tendon, one of the most important and most often injured, rotator cuff muscles. The horizontal abduction movement that is required in order to maintain a grip on the bar as it is lowered behind the head positions the supraspinatus directly underneath the acromion process.

As a bar is pressed over the head, the supraspinatus tendon becomes compressed between the acromion and the humerus. This exercise frequently is painful, especially as load increases. Overhead pressing activity should be performed in front of the body along the shoulder to rest and operate from its more natural position.

3. ✅ Upright rows

Upright rows
Upright rows

The position at this exercise places the shoulder in, is actually a test position that indicates the patient has subacromial impingement. Replicating this position over and over, especially against heavy resistance is clearly not a good idea.


This exercise should generally be avoided but if the athlete or patient is insistent on performing exercise, the elbows must remain at a height below the level of the shoulder.

4. ✅ Triceps bench dips

Triceps bench dips
Triceps bench dips

This exercise places the patient in a position of internal rotation at the shoulder.  At the same time, as the patient is lowering herself to the floor the shoulder moves into a position of maximal extension.

This position maximally loads long head of the biceps tendon as it winds around the anterior portion of the shoulder. In order to decrease load on the anterior shoulder and biceps tendon, triceps dips exercises should be performed in the upright position with the hand in a more neutral grip with the thumbs facing forward.

5. ✅ Single arm rows

Single arm rows
Single arm rows

In general, this exercise is not a bad exercise however it is typically performed incorrectly.  Most of the athletes that I see performing this exercise fail to initiate the movement from the scapular musculature and instead perform the exercise with little proximal or stabilizer muscle activation.


When this exercises performed with heavy weight, the arm is pulled anteriorly as the weight is lower down towards the floor. This position can overstretch the anterior and posterior structures of the shoulder and place the shoulder risk for subluxation or even dislocation.

This exercise should be performed with initiation of movement from the shoulder blade or scapula. Deliberate contraction of the muscles that retract the shoulder blade towards the spine should precede pulling of the weight upwards away from the floor.


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