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Other strength modalities (e.g., Clubs), mixed strength modalities (e.g., combined kettlebell and barbell), other goals (flexibility)


Level 2 Valued Member
I'm currently experiencing quite a bit of pain, discomfort and range of motion issues in my right shoulder. I am no expert, but body awareness from approximately seven years of yoga, martial arts and exercise leads me to infer this is do to a gross muscle imbalance.

I spent a great deal of time practicing Southern Praying Mantis Kung Fu. A majority of the work is on building the hands, primarily bridge work. Extensive practice in building the forward bridging hand has built strong front deltoids. I can tell from the mirror that my rear delts are far underdeveloped by comparison, and I believe this is pulling my shoulder into misalignment. The result is pain and immobility after such bridging work from disproportionate tightness in the front delt. Push-ups are also problematic, as what I can only guess is the pec minor becomes overly tight at some point and shoulder pain and misalignment ensue. This is a problem as military training demands pushups regularly for testing and for physical training purposes.

Stretching is one obvious way I have tried to relieve the tension and institute balance, but it does not seem to work. It's like a little man trying to partner stretch with a big man. The little man just doesn't have the mass to properly assist the big man.

Now, even as I am writing this out I feel I'm getting some ideas as to how to build the rear delt to bring balance to the joint. Perhaps some forward bended arm circles with or without light weights to start to build the upper back and rear delt so they are not constantly over extended by the more massive front side muscles. Perhaps some kettle bell rows might help bring strength as well.

I currently have two five-pound dumbells and a kettlebell set of 40 lb, 53 lb, and 70 lbs. I also have a set of gymnastic rings. Given this equipment, and also the consideration of a kung fu practice, what do you think might help resolve the unbalance and bring stability and balance to the joint? Other thoughts, ideas, and insights would be welcome and appreciated.


Level 6 Valued Member
Internal rotation / upper crossed syndrome involves a lot more muscles than just the delts. The entire shoulder girdle and back need to be addressed.

How is your thoracic mobility? Both for rotation and extension?

How is your scapular retraction / protraction?

Can you get your arms overhead past your ears without arching your lower back or shrugging your shoulders?

Try this and see how you do:



Level 2 Valued Member
Thoracic mobility seems quite good in both the twist and extension.

Scapular mobility seems okay, not quite sure. A little popping of cartilage during exaggerated shoulder circles, but overall not bad.

Unweighted straight arms front lift with soldiers plugged in I can get my arms approximately 75 or 80 degrees to the vertical, though weighted vertical pushing aids more overhead mobility.

During the TGU I can hold the bell at the top quite comfortably with shoulders plugged in and vertical spine. There is noticeable muscular compression in the back of the shoulder especially when going into that compression by extenuating the stretch with the overhead bell.

It seems to me the network of muscles ranging from the scapula to the posterior shoulder and possibly down into the triceps seem over stretched and weak.


Level 2 Valued Member
Regarding the sweeping rotations as shown in the video above. It certainly address some issues I described. I notice a great deal of tension down the front deltoid and also the biceps and neck muscles as they connect to the the shoulder. Also on the medial side of the upper arm into the chest muscles, a great deal of tension that runs all the way through the forearm to the hand even.
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