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How to Avoid Shoulder Pain and Develop Stone-Like Shoulders with the Neutral Grip

How to Avoid Shoulder Pain and Develop Stone-Like Shoulders with the Neutral Grip

You can prevent shoulder pain and injuries by changing how you hold the object when pressing. 

You understand as a bodybuilder how important your shoulders are to completing your physique. They exert a lot of effort during chest exercises and support routine arm motions like lifting a bag or throwing a ball. However, lifters and athletes frequently experience shoulder pain and injury. Because it prevents shoulder pain and aids in developing stronger, more defined shoulders while preventing ailments like shoulder impingement, we highly recommend the neutral grip technique. We promise that your boulder-sized shoulders will appreciate it.

Strengthening your shoulders can assist prevent problematic rotator cuff tears if you're an active athlete. So, even if you don't want to develop large, stone-like shoulders, it's still vital to shape and tone your shoulder muscles. There's nothing wrong with having a little extra self-assurance when wearing a sleeveless shirt. 

As a weightlifter, your shoulder is involved in almost all upper body exercises to some degree. Therefore, shoulder soreness can be an issue and interfere with your exercise. Professions are ended by severe ones like rotator cuff injuries.

The shoulder joint is also one of your body's most movable joints (next to the hips). Additionally, joints are more prone to injury the more mobile they are. 

Less strain is placed on the delicate areas of your shoulder joints with a neutral grip. For lifters who want to develop their shoulders but are concerned about shoulder soreness, this presents a terrific option. We discuss the anatomy of the shoulder, the causes of shoulder pain, and how to utilize a neutral grip to prevent shoulder pain and develop large boulder shoulders in this post. 

How the Shoulder Works

In bodybuilding, we focus on numerous muscles that cross the shoulders. Lats, pecs, delts, and biceps are a few examples. Many bodybuilding exercises put tension on the shoulder since massive delts and pecs are crucial and contribute to the enviably wide upper body we desire.

Knowing how your shoulder functions will help you train it properly and prevent injuries. We'll consider the shoulder as a joint for the sake of shoulder discomfort and applying the neutral grip. The human shoulder was traditionally a ball and socket joint like your hips (1).

The Joint of the Ball and Socket

Your humerus's tip contains the ball portion of your shoulder joint, which resembles a ball stuck on a shaft. The humeral head is the name of it. On the other hand, the corner of your scapula (shoulder blade) is where the socket portion is developed. 

Five Best Shoulder Exercises For Mass

Your shoulder joint's socket portion resembles a saucer rather than a true socket. This gives the joint a wide range of motion. On the negative side, it makes it simple to dislocate your shoulder, which could cause discomfort.

Changing Shoulder Position

While some muscles move when muscles act across a joint, such as a shoulder, opposing muscles contract to stabilize and maintain the joint's position. You need muscles in your shoulders to keep your shoulder blade in place. This is because it is only joined at one end by your upper arm and collarbone. 

The rotator cuff is a crucial part of your shoulder's stabilizing structure. The subscapularis, infraspinatus, teres minor, and supraspinatus are the four muscles that make up the rotator cuff. Your shoulder should be rotated to cuff the joint. 

Because your shoulder won't be able to maintain your humeral head centered during heavy lifting, rotator cuff muscle weakness can put undue strain on your shoulders. Your upper arm is stabilized by your rotator cuff, which also stabilizes your shoulders.

Shoulder Issues

Your shoulder pain may be caused by a dislocation or an actual injury. Impingement syndrome, on the other hand, might cause pain when your supraspinatus contracts. Some people are more prone to this issue than others, which may also be the result of prior shoulder injuries. According to this study, weight training may put you at risk for impingement syndrome (2).

When performing upper body movements, bodybuilders with impingement syndrome experience shoulder pain because the supraspinatus is tightened whenever the shoulder rotates internally. Pain can also result from performing workouts like the lateral side lift or even the lat pulldown with an overhand broad grip. 

This renders doing these exercises to develop your lats, shoulders, and other muscles difficult. However, you can get around this problem by changing your approach. One of those adjustments is a neutral grasp, especially when pressing motions are involved.

How the Neutral Grip Works and What It Is

The neutral grip is also known as the hammer or Swiss grip. Your hands should not be supinated (palm facing up) or pronated (palm facing down) when employing this grip. Instead, employ the neutral grip, which minimizes internal rotation only a little bit and is easier on the shoulder joint. 

Beginners and people with shoulder impingement are therefore advised to use this grip. For most people, the grip is stronger, allowing them to lift more weight and the neutral grip aids in developing strong shoulders. 

Bench, floor, and overhead presses can all be performed using a neutral grip. Additionally, it can be utilized for rows, lat pulldowns, and pull-ups.

Positive Aspects of the Neutral Grip

To prevent shoulder pain

With the neutral grip, your shoulder joint is in a more secure and joint-friendly natural position. The shoulder and wrist are the two joints that profit from this grip the most. There is no better shoulder builder than employing the neutral grip for people who have shoulder pain from impingement or rotator cuff damage. 

Use more force

Many weightlifters discover that the neutral grip is their strongest grip since it is in a more natural posture. Since they can frequently employ more weight with this grip, their muscles will expand and hypertrophy.  

Less Room 

For the majority of upper body workouts, the neutral grip calls for a dumbbell rather than a barbell. Additionally, because dumbbell exercises take up less space, you can easily perform them at home.


You can work your upper body in a variety of ways with a neutral grip. This grip makes it unnecessary for people with shoulder problems to avoid exercises like the shoulder press, dumbbell bench press, overhead press, lat pulldowns, etc.