How I Overcame Lingering Shoulder Pain After Years of Neglecting It.

My left shoulder had always been a nuisance.  I couldn’t remember a time when it hadn’t bugged me or felt achey, and not just during physical activity or exercise.  It was usually a constant 24/7. It was a pretty defeating feeling knowing that it was tough to still do the things that I like doing without some type of nagging issue in my left shoulder.  I couldn’t resistance train without some type of pain, I couldn’t run without an ache or two, sports were a no go, even just a casual walk could sometimes irritate it. But why? Why was this continuing to be an issue even though I followed multiple protocols or videos on how to ‘fix’ the issue.

It was up until around 2016 that I realized I needed to make a change and the routine that I was currently in wasn’t making any improvements and potentially making things worse.  Being a fitness professional I had a decent understanding of the body and the mechanics of my joints, but still didn’t know why my shoulder was bothering me. Enter RTS (resistance training specialist) and MAT(muscle activation techniques).

These two programs changed things around in a hurry and I finally started to feel better for the first time in years….mind blowing. And the reason?  I paid attention to my body (my joints, muscles, nervous system, etc.) and catered my resistance training and exercise to that. Tom Purvis states it beautifully in saying ‘only exercise what you have available, what you’re able to own (control), and what you’re able to tolerate.’  Those 3 simple little statements were a game changer.


You see, I came from the sports world where ‘no pain, no gain’, ‘lift as much as you can’, ‘if you’re not puking you’re not working hard enough’ was the norm. (In retrospect, I shutter at how idiotic not only I was for listening/abiding, but the coaches and ‘trainers’ were for spewing this stuff...but hindsight 20/20 and that is neither here nor there). But that’s all I knew and that’s how I continued to train after I was finished with sports. So not only did my body suffer the effects of football, a pretty contact heavy sport, but also the intense, externally focused training regimen that I continued for years after I was done playing.

The crazy thing is my body could tolerate it.  Being young, I could put myself through an intense resistance training session and other than the ‘I can’t walk feeling’ or some residual soreness, I usually felt pretty good.  Fast forward to when I started to feel the effects, and man, that same intense workout really put a toll on my body. My joints were usually achey, my muscles were usually really sore, and sore for many days after, I usually felt run down and fatigued.  Something was up, but I couldn't figure out what? I’ve been doing what I always do...what gives?

You see, the body has a specific level of tolerance to exercise and that changes over time based on multiple variables including age, environment, fitness level, exercise regimen, health conditions, and plenty of other influences. So as I was getting older, my body’s ability to tolerate my usual exercise regimen was fading fast.  But I was too ignorant to realize that. I thought I could do the same thing forever…*face pound* The sad thing...I was just starting my personal training career and kind of expected the same thing out of my clients. Boy what a mistake and I’m glad that I continued to grow and learn so that I could change my process and way of thinking.  Not only have I seen a vast improvement in my abilities, but my clients have as well.

So fast forward to present day after realizing that I need to cater my resistance training and exercise regimen to my body for safe and effective exercises...the results are astounding.  My shoulder feels 100 times better (still not 100%, but after years of neglecting I doubt it ever will), I am stronger than when I was playing football, my joints feel great, I always have more energy after I exercise, and my body is firing on all cylinders.  What’s so great about that? Now I can do whatever I want without having to worry! I can go for a run without feeling the after effects, I can do house work no problem, I can throw around the football or baseball without issues. Pretty cool, right?! And all it took was being more mindful and paying attention to the 3 parameters that I mentioned above (created by Tom Purvis):

  1. Pay attention to what you have available

    1. Check how far your joints move and stick within those boundaries...never pushing past their max range of motion.

  2. Control your movements

    1. Whatever exercise you’re doing, do it with a purpose, intention, and control.  If you’re going really fast or mindlessly executing it, then some adverse effects will more than likely be happening.

  3. Determine what you can tolerate

    1. This also requires a bit of mindfulness, but more so with what happens after your exercise.  If you’re really sore or fatigued, then you know you did too much.  Ideally there is just a tiny bit of soreness, if any at all, and you have a good amount of energy.  Feeling better than before the exercise, that’s always the goal!

I almost guarantee that if you have some type of injury or lingering ache, that these guidelines will help improve some of those issues.  It will allow you to exercise appropriately and build up strength the right way. So try it out and see what happens. I would love to hear how it goes.  Shoot me an email and tell me your progress at ryan@continuedperformance.com

Also, if you’re still lost when it comes to exercise or if you feel like what you’re doing isn’t working, I am currently have 3 spots open (2 have already been filled), but hurry, they will fill up fast before summer!  


Follow this link to fill out the application and we will see if we’re a good fit.

https://goo.gl/forms/1gVjPwFVEbvi4jJi2