Learn how to differentiate the two and prevent future problems
If you feel a twinge up top after upright rows or lateral raises, don’t assume it’s normal post-workout soreness. More than one-third of weight room injuries are shoulder-related, and new research published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal shows that bad form is likely to blame. “Raising your elbows higher than your shoulders can pinch the soft tissue of the joint, causing swelling and pain,” says study author Brad Schoenfeld, a lecturer in exercise science at Lehman College. “Over time, this may result in chronic discomfort that only surgery will relieve.” To minimize your risk, keep the weight close to your body, lift from the elbows (not the wrists), and stop when your upper arms are parallel to the floor (like our model’s, left). A few sessions will get you smoking-hot guns—minus the burning pain.