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Arm Bar Exercise to Avoid Shoulder Pain

Shoulder injuries  are a common injury we see as chiropractors.  Most notably we hear about: 

  • rotator cuff tears 
  • shoulder impingement 
  • bursitis 
  • frozen shoulder 

What I find all of these injuries have in common, are imbalances of the rotator cuff and surrounding musculature.  In the past we've addressed these injuries with an elastic band that we typically attach to a doorway or something along those lines.  While those exercises served a purpose for a while, we've found other exercises can elicit activation of all  the rotator cuff musculature at the time time, which rehabilitates the injury more effectively.  We can use these exercises to increase the stability and flexibility of the shoulder while maintaining protected positioning of the humerus to increase pain-free exercise.  Check out the video below. 

I want you to go as heavy as possible with your weight. That will engage more of the rotator cuff musculature which will serve you better in the long run. Your goal during this exercise is to keep the kettle bell  extremely quiet and in a neutral position without any shaking. If it's shaking too much then you should probably reduce the weight. One repetition lasts 20 seconds. If you can do 5 reps without any shaking, feel free to increase the weight.  

The advantage here is that you are learning to engage all of your rotator cuff muscles at the same time as opposed to the old model of training them individually. If you were to raise your arm over your head as you read this, you would want to use all of your rotator cuff muscles to perform that task, not just one of two. 4 muscles are better than 1! 


Reed D, Cathers I, Halaki M, Ginn KA. (2015). Does load influence shoulder muscle recruitment patterns during scapular plane abduction? Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 

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