PNBA Jon Tsui Describes Training for Natural Olympia With a Shoulder Injury

Jon Tsui training with shoulder injury
Image via Instagram @pnbapro_jontsui

PNBA Jon Tsui makes training adjustments to nurse his shoulder injury in preparation for Natural Olympia. 

You can still build an elite physique with a shoulder injury. You have to perform the correct movements and make modifications. Former Professional Natural Bodybuilding Association (PNBA) Men’s Physique Natual Olympia champ Jon Tsui has been training for the biggest natural bodybuilding show, Natural Olympia. And he’s doing it while nursing a shoulder injury. 

Jon Tsui was the 2020 Men’s Physique Natural Olympia champ, and he was the runner-up behind Men’s Physique legend William Long last year. He’s also a PNBA Hall of Fame Inductee. Moreover, Tsui has a multi-media contract with Generation Iron, Iron Man Magazine, and the INBA PNBA. 

After getting in touch with Tsui, he explained the adjustments he’s made to his training plan to protect his shoulder while still building an elite natural physique to be competitive for the 2022 Natural Olympia in Las Vegas, Nevada, November 10-13. Tsui stated:

“I’ve had to train more with machines and try to incorporate a neutral grip for some lifts… I try avoiding heavy overhead lifts altogether… But def listening to my body… And giving myself a break mentally if I can’t lift as heavy or a specific movement as I want.”

Tsui also said he’s been getting extensive care for his shoulder through chiropractic and sports massages. And Tsui said he’d be tightening his diet, including brown rice, red meat, and fish

Training With a Shoulder Injury  

Your shoulder is one of the most mobile joints in your body. Therefore, it’s easily injured. And since your shoulders play a massive role in compound pushing movements such as barbell military press and barbell bench press, it can put an enormous damper on building your chest and shoulders. But with the correct modifications and avoiding specific movements, you can work around a shoulder injury and prep your physique for an elite bodybuilding status. 

Tsui’s switched his grip to a neutral grip and avoided overhead movements. A neutral grip–palms facing each other– will place less strain on your shoulders. And, of course, using heavy weight on compound overhead movements such as dumbbell shoulder press should be avoided with a shoulder injury. So instead, it’s best to use light weight–in a neutral grip–or avoid overhead pressing movements as Tsui has. And instead, opt for other shoulder exercises such as dumbbell lateral raises, front raises, rear delt raises, and external and internal rotations. And when doing dumbbell chest presses–which target your shoulders as a secondary muscle–use a neutral grip. 

Life Outside of Training for Jon Tsui 

Although Jon Tsui’s been working extra hard to condition his physique for Natural Olympia with a shoulder injury, he’s admitted that there’s a chance he may not be able to compete. That’s because he and his girlfriend are expecting a baby that may be due around the show in November. But first, Jon Tsui will be judging the PNBA Team USA show in Vegas this upcoming weekend. 

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Terry Ramos
As a personal trainer and writer, Terry loves changing lives through coaching and the written word. Terry has a B.S. in Kinesiology and is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and ISSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He enjoys playing music, reading, and watching films when he's not writing or training.