It is the end of the day. You are tired and beat, but you decide to give it one last go on your project. You get to the crux move and give it everything you’ve got. Suddenly you feel a sharp pain in your shoulder. You know that you likely injured your shoulder. What happened and what could you have done to prevent this?


The tendons in the shoulder slide through a very narrow passageway and attach to the shoulder bone. Impingement occurs when the space between the bones in this passageway is reduced. This can occur from repetitively moving the shoulder into a stressful or suboptimal position. When this occurs, the bones in the shoulder pinch down on the tendons and cause shoulder impingement. You should be aware of the dangerous movements that can lead to shoulder impingement. These movements include hanging on your arms during rest stances, climbing with a hunched posture and strenuous overhead reaching.

To avoid this injury from occurring you can do these simple exercises below.

Exercises are demonstrated by professional climbers Sasha DiGiulian and Josh Levin.

Band Wrap Instructions

  1. Hold a full length Theraband in front of your stomach.
  2. Wrap the band around your back 1 to 2 times depending on the resistance you desire and the size of your midsection.
  3. Pull each end of the band in front of you crossing and forming a cross.


Bent Over Letter T, Y and L      

Start position: Once you have wrapped the full length resistance band around your torso you can get into position for the three exercises. Bend your knees and hips and lean your trunk forward to approximately 45 degrees. The closer to the floor that you can angle your trunk, the more challenging the exercise will be. This is the most effective way to wrap the resistance band to perform these exercises. These exercises activate the middle trapezius (T), lower trapezius (Y) and the rotator cuff (L) muscles that provide support and protect your shoulder while climbing. The bent knee and forward trunk for position simulates more closely the body during overhang climbing. Perform for 3 sets of 8 repetitions once per day.

Bent Over Letter T

A. Start with the arms straight down by your side and palms rotated forward. B. Engage your shoulder blade muscles and bring your arms into the air to form the letter T. Make sure that the thumbs stay pointed into the air.


Bent Over Letter Y

A. Start with the arms straight down by your side and palms rotated forward. B. Reach overhead with thumbs up and with straight arms to form the letter Y. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and downward throughout the motion.


Bent Over Letter L

A. Start with your elbows bent at 90 degrees and raised to shoulder height. Rotate your palms down so that they are facing the ground. 
B. Rotate your hands and shoulder backwards forming the letter L with each arm. Make sure the shoulder rotates on a perfect axis and the elbow does not deviate up or down during the exercise.