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How To Protect Your Shoulders: Building Bulletproof Shoulders

How To Protect Your Shoulders

Having witnessed a guy that lifts reasonably heavy at the gym last week dislocate his shoulder while bench pressing it was time for this blog post… 

When the majority of guys think of ‘bulletproof shoulders’ they think of big deltoids that’re capable of pressing some serious weight on their barbell military press or dumbbell shoulder press.

When it comes to hitting shoulder exercises without a doubt heavy pressing movements are far more appealing than performing exercises with resistance bands and 8lb dumbbells.

But here’s the thing…

If you neglect your shoulder mobility and rotator cuff strength you’ll run into issues further down the line.

It’s not a matter of if, but when.

I do have some good news for you though…

It doesn’t take long at all.

A few minutes a day (or at least every day you’re hitting the gym).

I’m not recommending you spend an hour a day with a foam roller or trigger point ball, rolling around on your shoulders.

The 4 Keys For Bulletproof Shoulders…

  • Increasing rotator cuff strength (via below workout regime)
  • Increasing shoulder range of motion (via shoulder dislocations exercise below)
  • Ensuring you DO NOT flare your shoulders on chest/triceps exercises
  • Ensure sufficient rest between upper body workouts (do not alternate between hammering shoulder/chest workouts every other day)

Here’s My 5 Minute Workout For Bulletproof Shoulders

Standing Internal Dumbbell Rotations (3 sets, 20 reps)

Movement: Isolation

Required: Dumbbells

Standing internal Dumbbell Rotations Form


Hold a dumbbell or cable handle attachment in one hand with the elbow of that particular arm creating a 90 degree angle between your upper arm and your forearm.

Your forearm should be parallel to the floor and your elbow should be tucked against your side.

internally rotate your forearm while exhaling, ensuring it maintains a parallel to floor position.

Hold the contracted position before rotating externally to return to the starting position.

Standing External Dumbbell Rotations (3 sets, 20 reps)


Movement: Isolation

Required: Dumbbell or Cable Machine

Standing External Rotations Form

Hold a dumbbell or cable handle attachment in one hand with the elbow of that particular arm creating a 90 degree angle between your upper arm and your forearm.

Your forearm should be parallel to the floor and your elbow should be tucked against your side.

Externally rotate your forearm while exhaling, ensuring it maintains a parallel to floor position.

Hold the contracted position before rotating internally to return to the starting position.

Shoulder Dislocations (3 sets, 20 reps)


Movement: Isolation

Required: Wooden Pole or Resistance Band

Shoulder Dislocations Form

Grasp the pole or resistance band with a wide grip (the more you practise these and the more flexible your shoulders become the narrower grip you’ll be able to utilize).

For the duration of the exercise squeeze your back muscle and shoulder blades together, maintain a relaxed chest.

Keeping your arms as straight as possible lift above your head until the pole/band touches your lower back.

Bring the pole/band overhead once again and return it to the starting position (touching your thighs) while maintaining straight arms.

Dead Hangs (2 sets, 30 seconds each)


While you’re hanging with a relaxed upper body and arms extended you’re working on your shoulder range of motion.
Unless you’re performing exercises such as the dead hang, skin the cat or shoulder dislocation you’ve likely got average shoulder range of motion – not only does this contribute to poor posture but you’re also going to find it near impossible to perform overhead squats and overhead presses with correct form.

In short, increased shoulder range of motion = healthy shoulders and a lower risk of injury.

How To Perform Dead Hangs Correctly

  1. Begin with a pull-up bar.
  2. Grasp the bar with a shoulder width (or slightly wider) grip with your palms facing away from your body (overhand grip).
  3. Wrap your thumb around the bar.
  4. Ensure your arms are at a dead hang (straight, no bend in the elbow) you should not feel any muscle engagement from your lats.
  5. Relax your body while you hang for the desired amount of time – no swinging, no fidgeting. Focus.

What’s Your Take On Protecting Your Shoulders From Injury? 

Scott J.
Scott J.https://ignorelimits.com
I’m SJ. I’m a fitness enthusiast and published author. I transformed my body from a skinny fat 135lbs with 18% body fat to a solid 192lbs at 8% body fat. I became qualified in a field I was passionate about. I founded several online businesses that allow me to pursue ideas and projects in my life that I am passionate about without having to constantly worry about money. I published several eBooks explaining the training and dieting techniques I used to achieve the body I have today. I learnt a plethora of new information on dieting and fitness by reading and applying what I read, to find out what does work and what doesn’t work, because as I’m sure you’ve noticed the health and fitness industry is full of non-sense claims and BS. I found out what was true and what worked for me and applied that knowledge. And you bet I had fun during the whole process.

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