why am i hearing a popping noise in my shoulder joint?

I have just recently begun working out again after a ten year lazy streak. Been hitting weights and cardio hard for the last week, and am feeling MUCH better already.


I have noticed when lifting weights, that I have a (POP) in my left shoulder when doing certain exercises. it doesnt hurt, but is quite noticeable when doing an inclined press with my elbows extended to the sides. The pop happens while the weights are coming down and the elbow is at a 90 degree angle with the forearm.

for the time being, I have been keeping my elbows in towards my chest when doing these presses and dont get the pop. but yesterday while working shoulders on a pull machine (with a wide grip) I noticed a very light popping in BOTH shoulders as the bar was in the upward cycle.

Does anyone know what this could be from? I am loving lifting weights again, but am starting to get concerned because of the massive (but nonpainful) POP in my left shoulder.

any thoughts?

9 answers

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First of all, Robert my man, welcome back!!!!! Hey better late than never, right? I have been training consistently for close to 16 yrs & the one thing that never changes & you shouldn't avoid, is when you body talks to you, don’t ignore it. Something about what you're doing, the condition of your shoulder(s) is off. Just because you don't feel the pain now, doesn't mean you aren't doing some serious damage that might creep up on you in a month, 6 months, a yr or 10 yrs from now. I would take it slow, & if you have been out for 10 yrs, I would briefly consult your doctor about the condition, symptoms & sound effects. Second, I would hook up with a trainer or buddy that can help you successfully merge & integrate back into your workouts. I'm no physician, but I have had a torn rotator cuff in the past & rehabbed through it & trust me......no fun. A lot has changed in the last 10 yrs & I think you need to re-educated yourself so you can truly keep at your pace & avoid serious injury.

The good news is you're back in the gym.


Tony Nicholson 136k
5 years ago

Probably just ligaments popping. As long as there is no pain, I wouldn't worry. I have a popping shoulder too. Every time I lower the weights in a lateral raise my shoulder pops. Just annoying.It has been doing this for years.

Tumeria Langlois 305
5 years ago

Carefull with what shoulder exercises you do. I did the same thing and really hurt my shoulder. You have lots of smaller muscles that you don't realize because the larger ones compensate.

Nate Werner 2.2k
5 years ago

Robert, yes congrats on your back to fitness regimen! I worked as an orthopedic PTA for 7 years specializing in shoulder injuries. Sounds like your AC joint. There is alittle something off in your mechanics and this could or could not ead to some pain later on. I would however just add a few minutes of Rotator Cuff strengthening to your regimen and this should correct your problem if done consistently for 3 weeks or so. I just realized that "Tony" above is my husband and his answer is great. I gave him some shoulder exercises and they really helped. But be very cautious on the weight you use with RC (rotator cuff) exercises go very low weight (5 lbs) and high rep (25 reps or so). Should be very fatigued at the end if not you can increase your weight, if too tired back off. Its hard to explain the exercise so someone will have to show you. It would be "internal rotation" and "external rotation" laying down on your side, with affected shoulder. Keep elbow at 90 deg. angle while doing the ex. Let me know if you cant find the exercise and I will find a pic online for you.

LaRoyce Nicholson 11k
5 years ago

As someone who has "been there done that" I can say you definitely need to be nice to your shoulders! I had a major shoulder reconstruction 3 1/2 years ago, and 5 months of PT 3X weekly really gets to be a drag. You should see an orthopedic doc who specializes in shoulders to make sure nothing serious is about to come apart. The shoulder exercises LaRoyce mentioned are excellent, and you can do them on the cable machine. There are videos on the Anytime website showing you how to perform them. You may want to ice down after exercising. The shoulder is the most complex joint in your body, so treat it respectfully!

dcwillard 10
5 years ago

My shoulders click when I lift weights at the gym. I believe it is caused by tight muscles and tendons. I have Cerebral Palsy so a lot of clicking goes on in my body. The clicking is the muscles and tendons rubbing against one another. If there is no pain, it shouldn't be a problem. Just warm up the muscles with light weight before moving on to heavier weight. ( I just learned this from my trainer, who is awesome)

I, also, believe it is important to increase water intake. Some of the clicking is a sign that your body needs more water.

Just remember if you have pain. Stop! That is a sign that you are doing something wrong or something needs to heal ....

Laine Rutkowski 70
5 years ago

Swimming may cause shoulder injuries because of the repetitive shoulder movements like rotation. Injuries include tendonitis, impingement syndrome and labral tears. A popping sound or sensation may occur with any of these injuries. Treatment includes rest, ice and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS. If your symptoms worsen or persist, consult your physician.

about 1 year ago

Hey my shoulder been hurting every day for a year now. Some days worse than others. Sometimes when I move it around it makes crackling sounds. Please what is wrong with me?

Shauna1982 10
about 1 year ago

Shauna1982, i have been going through the same thing for about a year now. I was working out, in the gym, and then one day, my shoulder started making a popping sound. didnt worry too much since it did not hurt. while doing bench one day, my left shoulder started to pop, didnt think too much of it until it gave out on me. I was doing a max and had 225 lbs on the bar. no fun at all. I took about a 2 weeks off from the gym, and only did rotator cuff excerises which my doc recomended. after about 2 or so weeks, the pain went away, no popping, everything was great. back to working out. my shoulder started popping again, with no pain, worked my way up to where I could max 275 then 300. each time my should popped going up and down. I could do about 3 reps with each, and then would make a crunching popping noise and gave out. I went to a different doc this time, and got several MRI'S done, which showed I have a degenerative ac joint. the only fix to this is surgery. I am having to go through this now. be careful with your shoulders, this is no joke.

t_spider2000 0
about 1 year ago

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Robert Wilson member since Jun '10


MemberCape Coral, FL
6/14/2010 at 9:09 AM
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