Also, i've had "impingement", which I believe to be a bit of a garbage term, in both shoulders, quite seriously in one, resulting in a partial RC tear and labral fraying.
I would be very, very interested in hearing your thoughts on this, as well as what you did to improve your condition.
To an extent, this comes down to me being an idealist at worse, and optimistic about the industry at best.
My issue with "impingement" is that every shoulder impinges when the arm is raised above the head. There is always contact. You can't "avoid" impingement. I believe it's known as the "impingement zone". However, some people hurt, and some people don't. Some have more contact than others. Some have so much contact that they get a blatant "ping" when moving the arm.
You could argue that it's purely semantics and, "impingement syndrome" just refers to impingement that is so bad, there is a blatant "ping" accompanied with pain (normally it's numbness/weakness at first, then with consistency the shoulder aches, and with even more consistency, you tear stuff).
So, if someone is told they have "impingement syndrome", then what does it actually tell us about that persons dysfunction? Nothing whatsoever, only that there is a dysfunction. Actually some people won't even tell you that much, they just make it seem like you have this "condition" and need to live with it. Like Asthma or Diabetes. Or, they don't look beyond the rotator cuff itself, prescribing some gentle massage work, maybe some ultra sound therapy if you're lucky, and some external rotations, when it can be a whole collection of issues that have led to the pain and quite often, if not always, the RC is not the cause. So we're back to cause versus symptom. RC is the smoke alarm, but the fire is elsewhere.
In terms of improving my own "impingement syndrome". Well, at the time, I obsessively threw absolutely everything at it. At the time I concluded my underlying cause was my posture. Now, i'm not sure if it was static posture, or my movement, and I often ponder the relationship between the two. Anyway, my mindset was all about posture at the time.
On reflection, I had the usual hunched posture, only, I added a couple of years of training like an idiot on top of it (strength on top of dysfunction). My shoulder blades and Tspine were particularly bad, though. Both scaps winged, the left a lot more than the right, and they were elevated and abducted. My training was also very "anterior dominant" - all chest, shoulders, quads and arms. No posterior chain other than some token rows (which included upright rows). Most of my pull ups were wide pronated grip. I was quite fond of squatting on the smith machine.
My mission was to "fix my posture". I didn't care about anything else because I had taken several months off and missed training hard so much that I was determined to hit the nail on the head and make sure this never happened again. That was my number one training goal, and it's actually how I discovered and got hooked on Strength Training. It was my first glimpse of the importance of movement and the relevance of cause vs symptom. Also, I read everything I could from Eric Cressey, went to one of his shoulder seminars, and took some online training from him, which helped hugely in clearing away the confusion and getting what I needed the most (this was in 2007).
The short answer is I hit the whole posterior chain hard and I got strong. It was like a posterior-chain-specialisation program. The only pressing initially was push up iso holds. Everything else was lower body, most Poster chain, and row variations, with both an emphasis on volume and especially on strength. I used to be stuck in thoracic flexion, unable to extend. My scap used to be stuck in anterior tilt/downward rotation. Both of which will close up the space of the RC instantly, increasing the amount of contact, regardless of how many external rotations you do. So, the focus was T-spine, shoulder blades, and hips.
As my t-spine got better, symptoms started to disappear instantly, although it took a while to be able to tolerate pressing. If you contrast then till now - at that time, I couldn't get into position for a wall slide without my hips lifting off the wall. If i kept my hips on the wall, i couldn't get my hands to make contact. Think of a seasoned boxer attempting to lift his hands over head . So, I couldn't extend my tspine, and I couldn't posteriorly tilt my scap. Fast forward to now, I can nail wall slides and actually have quite an impressive bench press arch when I really push it.
I was also obsessive about my posture throughout the day, which is key. I could write a whole post just on this.
btw, this could all be summed up by, "I fixed my movement". I think for the most part, when the RC is angry, it's angry because it needs a break. It's getting too much grief because your scap and tspine are not doing what they're supposed to. Fix scap and tspine, and you give it a break. Fix scap and tspine and you instantly lessen impingement, and that's before you've done one single external rotation for the cuff. I still think a strong cuff is important, though, because cuff strength and endurance does keep the humeral head depressed. Even this is simplified because hips will influence tspine for example, so you need to look at the body as a whole.
Anyway, excuse the long post. This was a very significant time in my life so I get a bit hyped when I think back to it.