The majority of firefighters who lift weights will (at some point) develop some type of shoulder pain. It is just what happens. It could be from a number of reasons, not warming up before you bench, poor shoulder placement when you bench, tight neck, tight lats… the list goes on.


One thing to know is that your shoulder is a very complicated joint that gets used a lot… especially for a firefighter. The pain you feel may not come from your shoulders, it may come from your arms, neck, chest, thoracic spinal area, rib cage, clavicle or most likely… your scapula.


Think about when you throw a football, now imagine what muscles you use…. They are all connected.


If one thing is off, it will cause pain and we all know that a little shoulder pain can make the easiest tasks (such as putting on an air pack) hard to do.


Here are 4 things I did to fix my shoulders and still do to keep them healthy.

  1. Pay attention to posture  – (I am actually doing it while writing this blog) this is one of the best things you can do in order to improve shoulder health. It sounds so simple but it is very effective. If you look like this:
Shoulder Health

try to look like this Firefighter Health and Wellness. We will go into further detail on how to do that.


2. Stretch your pecs and strengthen your back – We have all fell into the trap of the international chest Monday routine. Some disregard the upper back and some get the famous invisible lat syndrome (ILS). 

invisible lat syndrome

This is caused by years of neglect and if you’re saying “that’s me”… there is hope. Here are two stretches I do to stretch the front shoulder and pectoral region to ensure I don’t develop ILS and shoulder pain.

  • I lay down with my feet on the bench and grab two very light dumbbells (5’s). With my lower back still pressed down on the bench, I create a Y with thumbs pointing behind you (external rotation) and let the weight stretch my shoulders and pecs.

 firefighter health and wellness: shoulder pain

Hold it for 2 min if you can and do it 3x. (you may want to use no weight at first)

  • The next stretch I do is get into a dip position. 

Firefighter Health and Wellness: DIP STRETCH


While still standing, slowly lower your weight into the stretch, as soon as you feel it…. and you will… hang out there for a little bit until you feel relief.


  • Now for the strengthening your back part. As you have seen in the Firefighter Furnace Workout Program, we do an opposite style training. For example, when we do chest, we superset it with either bent-over row or pull ups. You may think it’s repetitive sometimes but there is a reason why I program it that way. When you do either bent-over row or pull ups, use full range of motion to get the full stretch, which will help stretch out the thoracic area and strengthen muscles you don’t normally utilize. 


Firefighter Health and Wellness: Bent Over Row

3. Hang from a bar – There are many benefits from hanging for a couple minutes a day. For shoulders, it helps stretch the entire area and may fix mobility issues you may have in a less painful way. It helps strengthen your shoulder and increases scapular stabilization.

Firefighter Health and Wellness: BAR HANGS

Perform a few sets for as long as your grip can take it. Shoot for an accumulated 2 minutes in the hanging position. Other benefits include spinal decompression and grip strength. I hang from a bar for at least 2 min every day I workout to warm up and recover from a shoulder dominate workout. Once you do if for a while, you may want to activate the scapula (think shoulder shrugs while hanging) this just makes the shoulder move around to help loosen everything up.


4. Shoulder pass-throughs – This is another thing I do every day, especially before anything upper body. Use a PVC pipe (or broomstick) and start as wide as possible. Perform slow and controlled pass throughs and slowly work your hands in (closer) until you feel the stretch. Always activate your shoulders (shrug) before moving the pipe or stick.

Firefighter Health and Wellness: Shoulder Pass Throughs

I do about 3 sets of 15 with a 5 1/2 ft broomstick ( I took off the actual broom part) One other thing to think about is your posture when you do it. Be sure to keep a tight core (not a hyper-extended lumbar spine) so keep your butt tight and chest nice and tall.

There are many shoulder stretches and mobility exercises out there but these are the ones that worked best for me. Best of luck and be careful.


By: Donny Pearson Founder of the Firefighter Furnace Daily Workout Program



HERO Elite Waitlist

Enter your information below and we will notify you when we are open for registration. 

Awesome! Be sure to check your email for additional information!

Where Should We Send Your Free 30-Day Nutrition Plan?

Created Specifically for a Firefighter's Schedule

Awesome, check our inbox!

5 Step Video Series for Elite Firefighter Health and Wellness

Enter your info below to get instant access or check your inbox!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Where should we send your FREE workout from our HERO Training Program?

Plus great tips and tricks from the world of firefighter fitness

Awesome, be sure to check your email! Be sure to check out our FREE FB Group - Fat2FitFD

Sign Up Below and We Will Send You An Application!

Looking forward to seeing what we can do for your department

Awesome! Fill out our simple application and we will get back to you!

Where Should We Send It?

Enter your information below and I will send you an email expaining the HERO Elite program in detail... Plus a sample workout!

Awesome, Check Your Email! Remember to look in promotions or spam if it doesn't show up.

Where Should We Send Your Free Nutrition Template?

Plus training on how to use it


Sign up for our FREE Daily Workout Program

Get instant access to HERO Basic

Awesome! Workouts are posted every Monday so keep your eyes open!

Let's Connect!

As soon as you sign up, you will recieve an email with instructions on how we can connect and schedule your free session!

Awesome, check your email! I am excited for you!

Sign Up For Our Waiting List

We are in the process of getting all our ducks in a row. Sign up below to get notified when we are open for registration 

Awesome! Keep your eyes open for any info from us. Until then... stay motivated and best of luck to you and your crew!

HERO Nutrition Course

Get Instant Access to our FREE HERO Video Nutrition Course + Our Printable Nutritonal Cheet Sheet

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Join the Waiting List


Thank you for your interest in HERO Elite! We will let you know when enrollment for members will open again! In the meantime, sign up for the waitlist and we will send instructions on how to activate your FREE trial on our training app!


Join the VIP List to be Notified When We Launch Our First Video

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Where Should We Send Your FREE Nutrition Guide

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Join our VIP Wait List

Enter your information below to be placed on or wait list and recieve additional information 

Awesome! You have been placed on our wait list. Be sure to check your email for additional information.

Where Can We Send The Details ForOur FREE 5-Day Challenge?

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Get The Entire First Week of HERO Ignite for Free

Sign up below and we will send you the entire first week of HERO Ignite via emial. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!