Conquering the shoulder and the road to 200/300/400 Conquering the shoulder and the road to 200/300/400

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Thread: Conquering the shoulder and the road to 200/300/400

  1. #1
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    Default Conquering the shoulder and the road to 200/300/400

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    Intro
    ahoy, I'm starting out a log here to get more involved with what I consider to be the best part of the SS community. My goal for this log is to track my continuously injured shoulder's progress as well as my path towards the goal this year to get 200/300/400. I also set a hopefully-very-attainable new year's resolution of getting a 120lb press by the end of this year. I would also like to eventually get up to around 180lb with a relatively low bf%. I'm 5'10" and currently 160lb.

    Training History
    Here's a brief training history for me.

    I started climbing when I was 21 at a bodyweight of 118lb and 10 years later, I started strength training when I was about 31 at a bodyweight of 130lb. After reading about the virtues of squats, I bought SS and then ran one of the wiki programs last year. I started with approximately these numbers:

    Squat: 65lb
    Bench: 45lb (had an impressive convex nerd chest)
    Press: 30lb
    Deadlift: 95lb

    I started mashing my face with food and doing the exercises. The squat and the deadlift were progressing decently but my pressing movements were terrible because I was met with a ridiculously persistent rotator cuff injury not long after I started my programmed training.

    After various stalls and a few injuries (one pretty serious to the lowback), I ended up with numbers around here after six months:
    Weight: 162lb
    Squat: 225x1 (205x5x3)
    Bench: 145x1 (don't know my 5x3 since I stopped benching around halfway through due to the shoulder injury)
    Press: 45 (this would go as high as 80lb and then back as low as 20lb due to shoulder injury)
    Deadlift: 235x5

    I stopped eating a ton of food around this point since I was really frustrated that my shoulder never seemed to want to heal and I felt like I was just going to gain a bunch of fat if I kept eating since I could only really push one half of my body.

    In Nov 2011, I read Dan John's book, "Never Let Go." I found it to be pretty inspirational and it really opened my mind about training. SS always seemed pretty rigid in its presentation, with the goal of getting strong as efficiently as possible, but Dan John's writing seemed to be more about lifelong health and just staying in the game. I had a couple of questions for him, so I emailed him and, rather than answering my questions, he responded saying, "Why are you emailing me these questions when you live so close? Come to my free weekly workout tomorrow at 10am and you can ask me there." Wow, called out! There was a section in his book about some unwise kid who sort of threw away the opportunity to ask Dan and Pavel a bunch of questions in person, so I figured that I'd be a huge hypocritical loser if I didn't show up. So, the next morning, I said screw work and went to the workout. It ended up being a nice kettlebell and mobility workout in a nearby park, which was really cool.

    Then I changed my lifting philosophy. Now the goal was to exercise, try to get stronger, but above all, do nothing that made the shoulder hurt. I even went farther to say that a good workout should leave my shoulder feeling better at the end than when the workout started. Since then, I have been doing all sorts of things to try to heal my shoulder up while maintaining a 5/3/1 variant of training with my squats and deadlifts.

    Shoulder Injury and "Rehab"
    I was diagnosed with rotator cuff bursitis in March of 2010 and given a cortisone shot along with advice to do the standard three rotator cuff exercises. The pain had gotten so bad that I had trouble turning on the radio in my car or reaching out to put drinks down on a table in front of me. I ended up getting another cortisone shot a few months later but after that one was also useless I realized that the doctor was not addressing the underlying issue. After a long discovery process, I now believe the fundamental cause of my injury was posture.

    On the whole, my shoulder is doing quite a lot better now-- I can almost do the shoulder impingement test with no pain. Here's a approximation of the soup that I've concocted to try to fix the fucked shoulder:

    - Always internally rotate elbows on pushups and similar movements

    - Always use supine grip with any sort of row (the extra external rotation from prone is a major irritant)

    - Lots of painful lacrosse ball abuse of my entire shoulder area (pec minor, capsule, lats, ...)

    - Foam rolling my lats and chest

    - Stop bench pressing regularly

    - Do pushups regularly to get the stabilizers functioning smoothly

    - Dan's batwing exercise to strengthen rhomboids (which I always assumed were strong from nearly 10 years of climbing, but they weren't)

    - YTWL exercises, especially on a swissball to prevent thoracic extension

    - Lots of plank variations

    - Heavy farmer's walks. I think these might be the secret sauce, since they work all of the shoulder related musculature while forcing you to maintain good upperbody posture.

    - Ice after every workout and then again before bed.

    - Highbar squat instead of lowbar squat. Lowbar hurts it pretty badly.

    - One arm bench and one arm press, to try to maintain some training effect on the other side

    - Lots of pec stretching to try to get the shoulders back into a safe posture.

    - Always sleep on my left side and support the right arm with a pillow so that it doesn't hang weirdly throughout the night and restrict bloodflow.

    - Fish oil

    - When climbing, make sure my shoulders are packed before doing big pulls

    - Overhead press repatterning: with a PVC pipe, I performed an overhead press and consciously kept the shoulders down as long as possible (needed a mirror)

    I'm sure I'm forgetting some stuff. The good news is, my shoulder is doing great. It's a huge relief. If I had to pass advice onto other people, I'd probably say YTWL, ice, farmer's walks and pec stretches, but who knows really.

    And that's it.
    Last edited by jgh; 09-11-2011 at 10:44 AM. Reason: Removed the not-current "current" stuff

  2. #2
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    4/17/2011

    Warmup: swing and carry circuit
    10 swings (35lb)
    1 lap left arm suitcase carry
    1 lap right arm suitcase carry
    10 swings
    1 lap left arm waiter walk
    1 lap right arm waiter walk
    Repeat with 50lb bell
    Some goblet squats and foam rolling

    Squat:
    45x10
    75x5
    105x3
    135x3
    155x2
    182.5x5
    195x5
    207.5x5
    207.5x3
    220x3
    235x3

    Push circuit:
    Bench 95x5
    Pushup x5
    DB bench 45x5
    Band press x10
    Dip BW x3
    All of that three times

    Chins:
    BW 10,8,7

  3. #3
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    4/19/2011
    Warmup: Swing/carry circuit again

    Squat:
    45x10
    75x5
    105x3
    135x3
    165x2
    195x3
    207.5x3
    220x3
    220x1
    235x1
    247.5x1

    Bench:
    95x5x3 (testing shoulder)
    145x1 (was pretty fast and easy!)

    DB Bench:
    45x5

    Chins:
    BWx10x3

  4. #4
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    4/21/11
    Random stuff warmup

    Deadlift:
    135x a bunch
    175x3
    225x3
    265.5x3
    280x3
    297.5x2
    315x2
    325x2

    One arm press / Chins superset:
    35x5 left, 25x5 right | BW+25x5
    35x5 left, 25x5 right | BW+25x5
    35x5 left, 25x5 right | BW+70x2

    Planks:
    Side planks, foam roller planks, one arm pushup position planks

    Climbing.. did a couple V4s.

    This day was really hard for some reason. I grinded my higher deadlift reps where I had been really strong in that weight range a couple of weeks back.

    Skipped the Dan John workout this week since it kept changing days and was making it hard to stay on my training schedule.
    Last edited by jgh; 04-24-2011 at 04:36 PM.

  5. #5
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    4/23/11
    warmup stuff

    Squat:
    45x10x2
    75x5
    105x5
    135x3
    155x2
    182.5x8
    195x8
    2075x5
    220x5

    Press:
    Inspired by reading NKT's log, I wanted to see how many sets of 45x5 I could do on a one min clock.
    45x5x15
    I ran out of time. I'm going to keep trying this out since I wonder if maybe doing so much volume will help stabilize my shoulder joint. I can go much higher but it hurts. I ordered some Iron Wood fractional plates that haven't arrived yet, so I'm thinking about just trying this super high volume kind of pressing for six weeks or so and increasing the weight very slowly to hopefully train up my weak ass shoulder in a well-rounded way.

  6. #6
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    4/26/11
    Felt pretty good tonight, despite poor sleep and not enough food throughout the day! I was a bit worried but I got all of my reps and picked up a PR to boot.

    Warmup: 250m row -> 5 pushups, x3

    Squat:
    45x5x2
    75x3
    105x3
    135x3
    165x1
    195x3
    207.5x3
    220x3
    220x1
    235x1
    247.5x4 (PR)

    Press | Chin superset
    45x5 | BW+45 x5
    45x5 | BW+45 x5
    45x5 | BW+45 x5

    Sucked at climbing tonight but it was fun nonetheless.

    Managed to finally order some of those Iron Woody fractional plates and I will begin my extremely slow press linear progression pretty soon. I'm still a little worried it might irritate my shoulder but hopefully starting absurdly light will smooth things out. Just the bar still makes it feel tweaky if I don't hit the right groove, so I'll have to be careful.
    Last edited by jgh; 04-27-2011 at 02:47 PM.

  7. #7
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    4/27/11
    DJ kettlebell club workout today.

    ~200 swings (and I skipped ~160), pushups, goblet squats, "long presses", pullups, getup planks, 1 leg RDLs, and some hip and thoracic mobility work. One of the mobility drills really seemed to open up my shoulder, so I might start adding that one into my warmups.

    All in all felt pretty good but I probably should have done chinups instead of pullups. That being said, they felt pretty good. I was also push pressing the 16kg with my bad arm in the long presses which might have been risky but it didn't really seem to irritate it. I put on the post workout ice pack when I got home and it's not feeling bad per se, but I can tell it's not entirely happy.

    Edit: Weight this morning was 161.5lb for the second day in a row, so it looks like it may be creeping up again.
    Last edited by jgh; 04-27-2011 at 02:51 PM.

  8. #8
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    4/28/11

    Today was max day for deadlift and, like my last session, the planets did *not* feel lined up but I still got in my reps.

    Warmup: some light farmer's walks with two 35lb bells and a 1k row ~5mins

    Deadlift:
    135x5x2
    185x3
    225x2
    ---worksets---
    262.5x3
    280x3
    297.5x1
    315x1
    332.5xAsMany .. got 3 reps, which is sort of a PR over my previous best of 335x2

    Press | Chin superset
    45x5 | BWx8
    45x5 | BWx8
    45x5 | BWx8

    Couldn't do shit on the climbing walls today so I did some campus board dead hangs on the 1" board. Best hang was 20 seconds.

    I'm thinking about changing up the deadlift programming but I want to give it another three weeks to see if something is fucked up with my sleep/stress/nutrition/etc that may be contributing to why the last two sessions felt so heavy. Here are some options-- it'd be cool to hear what you guys think:

    1) Deload 15% or so and return to a linear progression for a while at 5 reps a session. If I did that with 10lb jumps per week, it'd take me about a month to get back to where I am and possibly bust through.

    2) Start mixing in rack pulls either on one of my squat days or just switch to alternating haltings/rack pulls. Similarly, I could add cleans again, back extensions, speed DLs or some other things like that in some sort of alternating fashion to keep pulling without accumulating too much stress.

    3) Research other programming methods for deadlift and try them out?

    I kinda wonder if I'm having unreasonable expectations given that I'm still around 160lb (weighed in at 160.5 this morning). I don't want to grind many reps while training unless I'm going for PRs but I've grinded hard on these last two days. I suppose it's also possible that I'm not fully recovering from these within a week but that seems unlikely given the low reps at my highest weight sets... although, my forearms have felt strangely fatigued over this past week. Today was also the first day where I almost missed a rep due to using double overhand grip-- I felt it slipping out of my hands, so I switched to mixed grip for the last 2 reps at 332.5.

    It's tempting to pound calories for a while just to get up to 170 and continue from there. It also occurred to me that my 400 goal is exactly 2.5bw which is pretty hard for most people, so maybe I shouldn't fret too much about how long it takes me to get there... unless I go the "eat big" route.

  9. #9
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    5/1/11
    Went to TomC's lowbar squat camp today over at Crossfit Oakland. It was a really nice facility and Tom did a great job coaching us and explaining things. I'll write more about that in the reviews section.

    We did various warmups and then worked up to a a 3x5 squat workout, hence the log post!

    Squat:
    45x5x2
    95x4
    135x3
    185x2
    225x5x3

    It had been a while since I had done sets across at any weight like this and about as long since I had done lowbar. With some form tips, lowbar wasn't bothering my arm as much as it had in the past. I was apparently gripping too close and widening out the grip really took pressure off of my shoulder.

    It felt surprisingly light and, although some reps were slow, I didn't feel any grinding or anything like that. I'm kinda psyched now to switch back to lowbar since I feel much stronger with that style, so I'll do that and see how it goes. :-)

  10. #10
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    starting strength coach development program
    5/3/11
    Started a new squat cycle today computed from an estimated 1RM of 272.5.

    Warmup:
    1k row, various shoulder opening with a dowel and other spastik movement

    BS:
    45x5x2
    95x4
    135x3
    165x2
    ----
    190x8
    205x8
    217.5x5
    230x5

    Those 8 rep sets kinda kill me on the squats. I felt much more desperate tonight than I did with the 225x5x3 work last sunday. But it was all good because I finally picked up an iPod Nano and I had Meshuggah blasting into my ears, ensuring that I wouldn't fail!

    Press:
    45x5x2
    50x5
    55x5
    60x5
    65x5

    I was just playing around to feel out the shoulder. None of these sets hurt. At the squat camp, TomC was kind enough to check out a set of my press and he mentioned that my grip was too wide, so I tried this out and it seemed to help a bit. I need to figure out how I want to program these. I'd clearly get the most benefit from a linear progression since I'm weaker than a 10 y/o on the press but I'm afraid going too fast may set me back on all the shoulder progress.. I guess we'll see. I have those Iron Woody fractionals now so I can do all sorts of increments.

    Batwings:
    5 sec holds with 20lb dumbbells, x10

    Power cleans:
    115x3
    125x3
    135x3

    I felt like testing out my cleans since I hadn't done them in a while so that was just some experimentation. I was at the gym without bumpers though so I had to do the unpleasant unrack which honestly feels like it might be bad for my shoulder. Wasn't a big deal at that weight though. I think all my deadlift training has definitely helped my PC go up without training it. I might try some at higher weight on Thursday when I have bumpers.

    Came home to rice, veggies, a big pork chop and a lot of milk.

    That's all for today!

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