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Cracking and Popping in Joints

Popping, clicking, and snapping are different. If you’re not properly warmed up and hear a crack on the first couple of movement repetitions, sometimes that’s gas released from the joint, an action called a cavitation, similar to when knuckles are cracked. 

Resistance exercises can release gas from the shoulder and other joints. If you’re doing reps and you hear a cracking/snapping on every rep, usually a muscle is tight, rubbing and causing friction around the bone. In that situation, stretch first, resume the same technique, and the snapping should decrease or be almost non-existent.

A snapping, popping, or other annoyance that starts to radiate, say from the shoulder to the neck or through the arm, may be a pulled/torn muscle. A snap or crack in the shoulder can also mean the bones could be rubbing on themselves, which could be a developing arthritic condition or a loose joint creating a “grating” sound.