This is a question I get asked a lot: “I hear a lot of clicking, cracking, and popping noises in my shoulders when I work out, but what can I do to fix this?” First, you have to understand what is that clicking before you can fix it.
Why Does My Shoulder Click?
The shoulder clicking and popping noises you hear is tendon rubbing over bone. Tendons are what connects your muscles to bone. When the muscles are tight, the tendon runs over the on, resulting in that popping noise.
Is it a bad thing? Not necessarily. If there is no pain or discomfort, you might not have to worry about it. However, shoulder clicking or popping is an indicator of one or two things. They are:
1) Tightness in your shoulders. This refers not just to the glenohumeral (shoulder) joint itself, but everything that connects to it, including the muscles in your upper arms, your chest, your upper back, and even your neck.
2) Weakness in your back. When you use the muscles in the front of your body too much, and the muscles in the back of your body not enough, this causes an imbalance. When the muscles in your back get weak, the muscles in the front are overworked when they have to complete a task.
Poses And Exercises to Fix Shoulder Clicking
Want to know how to fix shoulder popping and clicking? We’ll start with a few exercises for flexibility, and then include some simple rowing exercises to develop strength in the back and shoulders.
Exercise 1: Downward facing dog
This pose is great for opening up your shoulders, allowing them to stretch farther back behind your head. Developing shoulder flexibility allows you to more fluidly move your shoulders through their ROM (range of motion). Focus on pushing into the ground to bring your shoulder closer to your ears.
Exercise 2: Dolphin
Dolphin is a great pose for building strength and stretching your shoulders and scapula. If your hamstrings are limiting you, then you can bend your knees. Remember to push into the ground and engage your core through this pose.
Exercise 3: Strap stretches behind back
Reaching behind you is also critical to healthy strong shoulders. Get a strap and focus on pushing your shoulders forward. Remember to keep elbows internally rotated to protect them.
Exercise 4: Eagle (or just eagle arms)
Eagle is a great pose for stretching the sides of your shoulders. If you can’t touch your hands together, then grab wherever you can – elbow, forearm, or wrist.
Exercise 5: Pull-ups (use a monster band or a lat pull-down instead if you can’t do a full pull-up)
Pull-ups or pulling motions are very important for developing strong shoulders, scapulas, and back. If you can’t do a pull-up, you can learn how to do a negative pull up to start off – click here for a video guide.
Exercise 6: Horizontal Rows
Along with the pull-up horizontal rows are core exercises that help you strengthen your back, shoulders, and arms. Focus on keeping a strong core and having slow controlled movement through the range of motion.
Hopefully, now you understand why shoulder clicking happens and how to fix it. Now you have some exercises to help, but the best way to help your flexibility and strength is by training intelligently, with a balanced blend of strength, flexibility, and stability for your whole body.
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You might be interested in relieving neck and shoulder pain, strengthening your glutes, or relieving back pain, so check out these 3 blogs!
About the author, Dean Pohlman, Founder & CEO of Man Flow Yoga, Author of Yoga Fitness for Men, Expert on Yoga Fitness for Men.
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