HomeHealthFitnessHow to Build Arm Muscle Without Shoulder Pain: Personal Trainer Tips

How to Build Arm Muscle Without Shoulder Pain: Personal Trainer Tips

  • According to trainer Cat Kom, common arm workouts involving overhead movements can cause pain or injury.
  • If you feel a sharp pain or tightness in your shoulder or back, try a more joint-friendly exercise.
  • Build muscle in the shoulders, triceps and back with painless exercises like front raises or the superman.

You have to over time, challenge your body to build muscle but your arm workouts are painful, there are alternative exercises you should try to prevent injury and improve gains, according to a personal trainer.

Cat Kom, CEO and Founder of Studio SWEAT on Demand, told Insider that she often sees people trying to build arm muscle with overhead exercises, only to end up with shoulder or back pain instead.

“Avoid anything that hurts in a bad way, not to be confused with what is challenging or difficult,” she said. “You always hear ‘No pain, no gain,’ which is true when you talk about the right kind of pain. With the wrong kind of pain, you’re just going to set yourself back.”

She said if you feel a sharpness, a pinch or something that just feels wrong, swapping out exercises that change the angle of motion can help protect the joints and train the right muscles without causing pain or injury.

“The key is to test out what works for you,” Kom said. “It’s about listening to your body and knowing that you can train the same muscles without doing exercises that cause pain.”

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If shoulder presses are painful, try front raises or Arnold presses

One of the most popular arm exercises is the shoulder press, but it can be done lead to injuries for people who spend according to Kom spend a lot of time sitting or bent over computers.

If you feel a pinching sensation when your arms hang overhead, Kom recommends switching to the dumbbell front raise, bringing the weights straight out in front of you. The exercise is often easier on the rotator cuff, the tendons around the shoulder joint that are most likely to be irritated by overhead movements.

You can also try the Arnold press, an overhead variation that starts with your palms facing you, like at the top of a biceps curl, and rotates upward to a press, which allows your shoulders to move more freely.

Both have many of the same benefits as an overhead shoulder press, which works the shoulders, some of the pecs in your chest, and activates the core.

A modified “superman” exercise can work your shoulders, back, and core all at once

Another great move for stability and painless gains is the superman, where you lie face down on the floor, extend your arms overhead and lift your arms and legs off the floor.

The exercise helps important, often ignored muscles in the back, and you’ll also be working your core, building your glutes while improving shoulder stability.

Kom recommends a variation where your palms face each other, while arms are still spread apart in a Y shape, to get the same benefits without adding too much stress on the shoulder joint.

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“If you have any kind of shoulder impingement, that takes the pressure off,” Kom said.

Train your triceps with the “walrus” push-up

The triceps overhead extension is a popular move for building the muscles in the back of the arms, but it can have similar problems to the shoulder press, according to Kom.

A good trade is one push up variant called the walrus push-up, where you keep your elbows tight against your ribcage as you push up by straightening your arms, while your hips stay planted to the ground.

“It’s great because you don’t need any equipment and you can do it anywhere,” Kom said.

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