Posts in Injuries
Sort Out That Shoulder Pain

We’ve all been there, complaining of shoulder pain, either during or immediately after an upper body exercise.

What I’ve noticed is that with almost every bit of shoulder pain, internal rotation is an issue.

To test your internal rotation, stand up and touch your hands behind your back as shown in the pic below.



You probably won’t be able to touch your hands, but it doesn’t matter too much, what I want you to notice is the bottom hand, and how far you can get it up your back. One side will probably be tighter than the other and won’t get as far up your back.


This is due to a lack of internal rotation and can cause impingement and pain at the shoulder joint. A simple strategy to help sort this out is to stretch the muscles on the FRONT of the chest/shoulder and strengthen the muscles on the BACK of the shoulders/shoulder blades.

This will help to ‘straighten up’ your posture and reduce the pressure of shoulder impingement pain, hopefully reducing risk of injury or helping you rehab from an existing shoulder injury.

To stretch the front of the shoulder use the shoulder dislocate exercise:

  1. Use a towel or exercise band

  2. Keep your chest open and chin up

  3. Move slowly and start with your hands wide at first. Closer hands = more intense stretch

To strengthen the upper back use the Prone A exercise:

  1. Keep your chin on the floor throughout

  2. Rotate your arms out by pointing your thumbs up to the ceiling

  3. Actively reach towards your heels to ‘pin’ your shoulder blades down and strengthen them

Keep testing your internal rotation with the ‘behind the back’ test, and soon you will reach further up your back with both hands and have a better level of internal rotation at the shoulder. This means less pain and much healthier shoulder joints!

If you want further help fixing any movement issues then consider becoming a personal training client.

Let me share a quick story…

January 2018 I met a lady called Lex, she had chronic hip and pelvis pain and had tried many ‘solutions’ that ended up costing her time, money, and did not fix the pain. Osteopaths, chiropractors and physios all failed.

I already trained her husband so he brought Lex in as a last resort. Together we went through some simple, basic movements and I tried to find weak muscles and movements she couldn’t do. Simple stuff like planks, press-ups, squats - just looking for weaknesses.

I also did a movement screening, which involves basic flexibility tests, to find tight muscles and imbalances.

Then I put a plan together to strengthen the weak muscles, stretch out the tight areas and focus on moving in a balanced way (i.e. without putting a lot of pressure through the pelvis, hips and lower back).

Within a few months Lex became a lot stronger, had much less pain and the 'really bad’ pains, the up-all-night pains, they started to become a thing of the past.

Now (Feb 2019) I have been coaching Lex for over a year, she can deadlift, squat, bench press, we’re working on her first pull-up, she has a ‘normal’ levels of pain and mobility and has lost fat and gained muscle in the process!

I have two more spaces for PT clients right now, if you’re interested, if you’re in pain right now (mental or physical) and you want help getting back on track and creating a healthy lifestyle - drop me an email and I’ll set up a day for you to come into the gym, discuss your goals, go through a movement screening and strength test - then I’ll create a custom plan and help you smash it for 12 weeks. After that, if you want to continue long term we can discuss the options. But let’s get started first.

Drop me an email here:

Rise Above

Anthony Shaw

PS - personal training is £697 or £997 for a 12 week program, if you’re interested I’ll send over times and more information.

suffering from back pain?

You CAN fix chronic back pain.


I’ve made a video of the approach I take with my clients to rid them of back pain.


Not back ache mind you.


But agonising, daily pain that affects your mood and makes you think twice about leaving the house, let alone hitting the gym.


My client Lex had incredible levels of back pain following childbirth.


Yet MRI scans, osteopaths, chiropractors and physics couldn’t diagnose the problem,


They just told her to ‘be more active’ which was a catch-22.


How can you be more active when activity causes pain?


Watch the video below and you’ll see how we helped Lex go from daily back pain to TRAINING HARD.


She now does press-ups, squats, pushes sleds and is working her way up to working with barbells and some heavy powerlifting type training 


If this gets you thinking that you may benefit from our help, then ask any questions in the comments section below the video


Or if you want to jump in and work with me, drop me an email.

Rise Above




Anthony Shaw


Head Coach

Raw Strength Gym


Coaches Corner: Surviving on the Side Line

Every lifter, athlete and gym goer will experience it, even those who take the time to warm up, mobilising, prehab and use correct form within a correctly structed exercise program… you will, at some point get injured.

I know the pain of being side-lined (as I write this is I am suffering from a shoulder injury.)

More often than not it’s the sensible, logical option to rest and recover, I know from experience that pushing an existing injury only leads you down a path filled with pain and even longer periods of time away from the gym and limiting play time.

Be you an athlete or recreational lifter, minor injury can be seen to “come with the territory” an outcome of pushing yourself to the limits, while this is somewhat true, it is not a factor that should be glazed over or taken lightly.

We (men especially) are creatures of ego and our competitive nature can often lead us to try and trudge through the pain.

I’m here to tell you that 1 week of rest is ALWAYS worth it, compared to the potential months, year or lifetime on the side-line that came from that one extra session where you pushed your sore back/shoulder/ankle/knee and led to your now long term and previously preventable injury.

I speak from experience I have in the past played through injuries, as an elite sportsman it’s hard to give in to logic when an injury occurs during an event like a world championships, the blood, sweat and tears that got you there drives you forward to push through, the lifelong problems and dysfunction that follows are not on your mind at the time.

So, I’m going to assume you have now made the correct and logical decision and will not be training through the pain, you have booked a physio appointment and treated yourself to a sports massage. (well done, high five, gold star)

The biggest issue is how are you going to cope with the lack of activity, after all you don’t want to sit on the couch for the next week/month watching your hard-fought muscle mass turn to squidgy mush!

Don’t worry I’m here to help.

1. Don’t panic

Do you know how long it takes for muscles mass to break down once we become inactive?

It will feel like you muscle is wasting away the very next day (for some of the more paranoid meat heads it might even feel instantaneous when we receive the news!)

In reality it can take up to 12 weeks until major losses in muscle mass, this does of course depend on how much muscle you have and what your training for, so a highly-tuned athlete or bodybuilder might start losing mass after only 2 weeks, but you can also expect an impressive uptake in muscle mass once returning to exercise.

Stressing about it will actually do more damage and change nothing, just chill and let your body do the healing.

2. Eat clean

A classic reaction to being injured is the “F this” binge.

We are upset and frustrated by being side-lined, we can’t be as active as we would like to be and we find ourselves sitting around the house dreaming of the gym or playing our sport… the human subconscious reaction is to reach for the cake… STOP!

Nothing good came from the bottom of a biscuit barrel, all you will achieve is a sugar crash, an overwhelming sense of guilt and the beginnings of a set of love handles.

Stick to your diet, bring the carbs down if you want to prevent excess fat gain (to compensate for your lack of exercise) but don’t let yourself get hungry enough to resort to rubbish food.

3. Work Arounds

What’s injured? Your wrist? No reason you can run.

Broke your foot? Work on your upper body.

Of course, always seek the advice of your doctor and physio, but despite multiple broken bones, muscle tears and pulls I have always found there is some way to work around an injury.

We have trained clients sporting full blown casts before, it is down to the type of injury and the individual’s mindset and determination as to what is possible.

4. Become obsessed with Rehab

No one likes rehab, more often than not the exercises are simple and (thanks to your dysfunctions) super hard, but steel your mind, start to look towards the benefits. The rehab exercises are hard because you suck at it or are weak performing those movements, that’s why you got injured in the first place, remind yourself that these exercises are potentially the most impactful thing you could be doing.

I gained more muscle and strength in my upper back when I was prescribed a superset of light face pulls, blackburns and Y-W-T-L’s following an injury despite years of performing heavy rows, lat pulls downs and pull ups.

I hope this will help you next time you find yourself out of action, and cheer you up to know that there are ways to work around any injury and that no injury lasts forever.

Stay strong

S&C Coach
aw Strength Gym


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COACHES CORNER - Stop Dysfunction: Prevent Injury and Increase Performance by Warming Up Correctly

It was my first time playing for the seniors, I was 15 and knew nothing about anything, up until this point every game from warm up to cool down was run by a coach, I had never really thought about how or why I should warm up.

Anyway, I turned to the senior captain and asked what I should do to warm up, he replied “ah just summa deez and then we will be good to go” swinging his arms out and in a couple of times, touched the floor, shook out his legs and he was done. 

I responded in kind and got ready for the game, 5 minutes in my hamstring popped, I missed the rest of the season and to this day 15 years later I still have issues with my left hamstring.

What I now know is that a warm up isn’t just there to raise your heart rate, anyone who has been made to “just run a lap” ahead of a game or training session will know that is often the extent of a warm up, but a good warm up is also able to mobilise (open up) our joints and prepare for the activity we are about to perform, a great warm up and cool down will even take some time to work on existing dysfunctions and work towards fixing them.

I could write a thesis on the myriad of common drills to help mobilise and correct dysfunctions in athletes so let’s looks at just two areas the Shoulders and the Hips, these are the two major joints we use while powerlifting and the two areas where I tend to see the most dysfunction; I will give you a way to mobilise and activate the muscles and joints, both of which will potentially improve each joints function and help prevent injury. 


The Shoulders

Mobilise: Shoulder Dislocates

A simple exercise to open up your shoulder joint that only requires a mini band or light weight pole simple hold the band wider than shoulder width with your elbows locked out and bring it over your head down towards your bum, release your elbows and bring it back over your head. Do this slowly and feel the stretch at the band contracts against the movement, to advance the movement, bring your hands closer together. 

Activation: Banded Y’s 

This exercise also only requires a mini band to perform, simply loop your band around a fulcrum at hip height, from there grab the band with your hands wider than your shoulders similar to the last exercise. Keep your arms straight and bring them up either side of your head to create a Y shape, squeeze at the very top of the movement to activate not only your shoulders but the rest of your upper back. 


The Hips

Mobilise: Hip Grinder

Setting up in a push up position bring one foot up and outside of your elbow, keeping the heel down on the ground, from there we are going to move around holding this position, push into your hips over and over again using your hips to create a figure of 8 motion. You should feel your whole hip girdle loosen as we progress, change legs and repeat as needed. 

A variation using a mini band can be shown here, however this exercise is perfectly good without band resistance: 


Activation: Fire Hydrants 

Set yourself on the floor on your hands and knees, clamp your heel tightly to your glute and then draw progressively bigger and bigger circles with your knee, remember to resist the urge to kick out with your foot instead focusing on keeping your heel as close to your glute as possible.

We demonstrate this exercise in our Youtube series, the exercise has been timestamped for you below: 


Want to learn more about improving your shoulders and hips?

Check out our video series below:

Fixing Hip Impingement & Hip Pain

Fixing tight Necks, Shoulders & Hips 


Remember to implement these movements before your next session at the gym, and keep those shoulders and hips healthy!

Strength & Conditioning Coach

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How can you cure back PAIN in 2 moves?

They say there’s two ways you can INSTANTLY make a friend for life….


…To make them remember you, even LOVE you FOREVER…


They are:


1) save their kids lives




2) remove their pain


Seeing as it’s unlikely this message will save your kids lives…


Let’s focus on removing your pain!


Specifically, I’m going to show you how two moves can cure 99% of back pain in about 30 mins




This may not help those with degenerative bone conditions, fused disks or other joint/spinal problems - although I’d give it a shot if that sounds like you….


This DOES help EVERYONE who has a niggly back pain, or back pain when they start exercising or lifting


Before we get to the two-step-pain-healer (Hallelujah!), let me explain what’s causing the pain


Your body is made of muscles and bones, simply speaking


Nothing you didn’t know, right?


BUT did you know that SURROUNDING the muscles is a tough, fibrous tissue known as…




This ‘fascia’ is kind of like a cling film that holds your body together


It’s essential, basically


Problem is, the fascia can hold scar tissue from previous injuries


Or it can ‘morph’ into a position you adopt for long periods of time…


….say, sitting on your arse at work…


The tightness in the fascia then, can PULL on the muscle…


Which in turn PULLS on the tendon


Which is connected to your bones/joints


And THAT causes joint pain.


SO the key to a free, mobile and pain free body is of course, to stretch, do yoga, all of that good stuff that nobody does


But also, it’s important to release any tension within the fascia.


Make sense?


So - the most common tightness we release with our clients is in the BUM


The glutes


Reason being you’re sat on your bum most of the day and the fascia and the muscle gets tight


So ….


STEP 1 - release the fascia surrounding the glutes (I will show you how in a sec)


Step 2 is a trick to help support this glute release and STRETCH out the muscles on the front of the hips that directly oppose the glutes (meaning they tense as your glute muscle relaxes and vice versa)


Called, the hip flexors.


The hip flexor muscle basically lifts your knee up to your chest


It is anchored (originates from) your lower back, the lumbar spine


So for MOST people, when tight, this causes a sharp twinge or shooting pain in the lower back


Or just a niggly ‘ache’ that you feel most of the time


STEP 2 - stretch out your hip flexors (again, I will show you how in a sec)


So combine these two movements, anyway you like, for about 30 mins of an ‘easy’ rehab workout


——It is super PAINFUL at first though, just a warning! —


…NOW you are improving your posture and making the glute muscles take over the job of holding your spine upright…


Rather than your lower spine bones holding you up like an old piece of rotten wood holds up the roof of a coal mine….


What I mean is; That shit’s gonna collapse at some point and it’ll hurt! 


Anyway, here are some OLD videos of me doing these moves, so forgive the bad quality, these will help you for sure!


STEP 1 -


STEP 2 -


If you need any help at all, shoot me an email, just click reply


And stay tuned for the next message where we are gonna cover the next surprising fitness TRUTH:




…Say what? 


It’s true, I’ll show you how to do it next time


Until then, sort your back pain out!


Speak Soon


Anthony Shaw


Head Coach

Raw Strength Gym, Warrington


PS - In 3 months time it will be the END of august and the height of summer!


How would you feel 1-2 stone lighter, leaner and more confident about your body?


Click reply and let me know what you’d like to achieve


and we can talk about getting you into one of our private body transformation programs 


OR if you want to apply right now click the link below

Quick (But Lasting) Ways to Fix Your Lower Back Pain


Ah, the lower back. Almost every week I get a couple of questions from people with a tight and painful lower back. Or when people first sign-up to my gym, the constant use of muscles they’ve never trained before can cause a lot of tightness and pain in the lower back.


Usually this is because when you train the muscles of your back and legs as opposed to the more frequently trained chest and back – those untrained muscles are weak!



But the biggest issue we face each day that causes this pain and weakness in the lower back is this:




You know you sit down too much, you know you could get up and adjust/stretch your muscles every hour (if not every 30 mins in an ideal situation), so why aren’t you?


First, let’s take a look at the most common issues that come from sitting down, then I’ll show you how to fix them.


Here are the biggest health issues to come from hours of sitting:


  • The hip flexor muscles shorten and get tight – These muscles are located in the tops of your thighs but their origin is the lumbar spine. So simply by sitting, you are tightening up the cables that pull on your lower back.


  • The glutes/bum muscles have most of your bodyweight stacked on top of them whilst in a relaxed state. This teaches your body to never contract these muscles and they basically switch off EVEN when you’re stood up.


  • The upper back/thoracic spine is usually rounded like Quasimodo. The shoulder blades are stretched apart; causing the scapula retractors to lose strength and, like the glutes, switch off.



  • The abdominals and lower back stop supporting the spine – which they would do when you stand – and again, they weaken and switch off. This is even worse when you have a back rest. You are laying your spine on the back rest like a lazy, wet piece of string.


  • Your shoulders are constantly in internal rotation, that is, they are not in neutral (see pic below). This is worsened when you have to reach for a keyboard or laptop. What this means is your chest and internal rotators of the shoulder get shortened and tight, the external rotators get stretched and weak. Again, you start to look like you’ve escaped Notre Dame and stolen a shirt and tie.




To summarise: Sitting will f*ck you up!


In one day you’ve managed to tighten your hip flexors, shoulders and glutes and weakened your upper back, abs, lower back and glutes.


The body works as one piece, one wonderful flow of different muscles and joints all working in sync. When you take one piece out (for example, switching the glutes off) the body will struggle to move but probably be ok – at least for the short term. When you take out your hips, spine and shoulders, you are in trouble!


And this typically manifests itself in a tight lower back: there’s simply no support from the surrounding muscles.


So here are the best ways I’ve found to fix your lower back tightness:


1. Hip Flexor Stretch:


This position is literally the opposite of sitting, and doing it daily (preferably every hour but I wouldn’t expect that unless you were in chronic pain or extremely dedicated!) will sort out a lot of lower back pain. This may be the quick fix you’re looking for, as I explained before though, there are a lot of issues that arise from sitting down, test a few fixes before deciding what works!



2. Hip Grinder:


This mobility drill helps to loosen up the glutes and hamstrings that are almost matted together from your constant sitting on top of them. They aren’t designed to be sat on! So try this drill and feel the looseness in your lower back and hips….it’s a painful one at first!



3. Ball Roll Glutes:


Again, simply helps to free up the muscle fibres that have become glued together and really tight. Any direct soft tissue manipulation like this is a great way to improve the health of your muscles….again, this hurts like hell on your first couple of days. But remember: sometimes that’s what it takes!




Add in a few strength moves to strengthen the whole body; lunges, squats, sprints, press-ups and pull-ups and you can offset the problems of constantly sitting down.


Finally, just sit up straighter! Tense the abs, just slightly, lengthen your spine, get your back off the back rest and just sit taller. At first this may even be a struggle, definitely a struggle to remember to do anyway, so aim to adjust yourself from ‘dead body in a basket mode’ to ‘best posture in the world mode’ at least twice a day. Then build up from there.


Stand up more often and adjust your position whilst you’re working.


Strengthen and mobilise your body when you’re at home or at the gym.


Who knows, you may even get a promotion by looking like you care about your work a little more too!




Grab your FREE training and nutrition book HERE – This book contains all of my best knowledge to help you SMASH your goals – go get it!


Rugby Strength Show #11 – Warming Up the Ankle & Foot for Football

Football!? Yep, we’re here to help ALL athletes benefit from this show! Plus let’s face it, football (soccer) is the most popular sport in the world after all!

Today’s episode is an answer to the following question from a viewer:

What warm-up drills can you do for football?

The problem is that because football and rugby have been around for over 100 years, the practices and training methods used are, quite literally, outdated. So as much as I could give you some fancy warm-up drills to do, you’ll inevitably be doing leg swings and a quick jog round the pitch when you train with your team!

With this in mind I’ve put together a simple routine to do BEFORE you go and train, ideally you’d do this DAILY to develop high quality soft tissue and ankle joint integrity:

Here's the routine:

1. Passive ankle turns: 1 set of 50 turns clockwise and anti-clockwise

2. Ankle self mob: 2 sets of 15 reps each side

3. Ball roll shin: 1 set of 60 secs per shin

That’s the show for today, shoot me a question at if you’d like to gain some knowledge!



Rugby Strength Show #10 – Stop Stupid Shoulder Injuries!

If you play rugby or a contact sport, the chances are that your shoulders are going to get hurt sooner or later. Lots of impact force going through a very mobile shoulder joint…hmm….something’s gonna give!

Fortunately there is something we can do to protect our super shoulders, and it doesn’t involve wearing pads and a helmet like those American Football lads ;) Watch the video below to see a couple of movements I use DAILY with all my clients, whether they play a sport or not, these are essentials for healthy and pain free joints:


1. No-Moneys


This simple movement strengthens your rotator cuff and restores a hell of a lot of movement to the glenohumeral joint capsule. No equipment necessary, no excuses then!


2. Ball Roll Chest


Grab a hard lacrosse/cricket/hockey ball and roll out your chest muscles. I’ve seen this soft tissue release cure back pain, shoulder pain and even tight necks….all caused by chronically tight chest muscles. Having your chest muscles forcibly lengthened in every crunching tackle you make (or receive!) puts more than a few spots of tough scar tissue and tight muscle fibres. Roll it out guys!


3. Thoracic Extensions


Your spine gets some serious loading throughout a game of rugby. It’s safe to say 99% of the forces your body receives will go through the spine, and if it isn’t up to the challenge…well…you can kiss an injury-free season goodbye. The thoracic spine is very commonly immobile and rigid in a lot of people, let alone rugby players, if you struggle with overhead movement, sort this area of the spine out and marvel at your new found movement (and happiness!).


So there are three awesome movements to prevent AND cure your shoulder injuries.


Got a question for the Rugby Strength Show? Just email me at and I’ll video the answer!





Rugby Strength Show # 7 – Loose and Injury Free Shoulders

In today’s episode you will learn how to correctly stretch your shoulders, chest, shoulder retractors and neck with ONE movement. You need a resistance band to properly pull the upper arm away from the shoulder joint, but you could try it with the upright of a rack or a doorframe too.

Go for 2 constant minutes of ‘distracted’ stretching each side. Distracting a joint simply means that we’re moving it out of it’s current position, either to reposition it in a better place or, as in this movement, to create more movement and ‘loosen’ things up!

Works great for injured shoulders too and helps get your full range of movement back immediately.



If you’d like to know more about this type of stretching, or if you have a certain muscle/joint that you can’t figure out how to stretch, email me at and ask a question. This is your show!


Remember, I’m trying to create a country of strong, fast and UNBREAKABLE rugby players, I know most of what you need because I’m a rugby player and a strength and conditioning coach, but I’d love to know what you want to know on an individual level too!


Remember to grab your FREE warm-up plan and sign up to my weekly newsletter HERE






Rugby Strength Show #3 – Pre Match Hip & Leg Mobility

In this video I demonstrate one of my favourite joint mobilisations and stretches for your hips.


This is what I use with my clients (usually back to back with heavy deads!) and myself, before/during workouts and definitely before a game….and if you’re playing an away game and you’ve spent 45 mins or more sat down travelling…just get this done! Sitting down tightens up the hips and almost ‘glues’ together the glute/ham/groin muscle insertions…because you’re sat on top of them!


This will loosen up your hip flexors, groin, hamstrings, hip joint and glutes.


Spend 2 minutes each side, try each position in the video BUT make sure you experiment and find out which position works the best for you….then spend most of your time mobilising it. You’ll probably find that each time you do this mobilisation you’ll have tightness in different places, so play around with it EVERY time you use it!


Remember to grab your FREE warm-up plan and sign up to my weekly newsletter HERE


Train Hard!