Muscle Strain in Upper Back Muscle Strain in Upper Back

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Thread: Muscle Strain in Upper Back

  1. #1
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    Mar 2019
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    Default Muscle Strain in Upper Back

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    I believe I may have strained a muscle in my upper back while deadlifting last Friday. It is mild to moderately uncomfortable, particularly when I have to reach for something with my left arm but is not would I would characterize as painful. It also feels slightly uncomfortable when I take a deep breath. Based on the location and my symptoms, I believe it is a Rhomboid strain. I proceeded with my normal workout on Monday (Texas Method volume day with squats and bench press) but skipped any exercises that specifically target the back. Monday's workout appears to have caused some mild inflammation of the area but nothing too bad. I usually do barbell rows on Wednesday and deadlift on Friday (intensity day). Should I avoid heavy rows and deadlifts this week, do them but lighten the load, or just try to work through it at my normal weights and see how my body reacts? I have lots of experience with lower back pain but upper back issues are new to me so I'm not quite sure how long it takes to resolve or how to deal with it in the meantime. Thanks in advance for the help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Olympia, WA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Miller View Post
    I believe I may have strained a muscle in my upper back while deadlifting last Friday. It is mild to moderately uncomfortable, particularly when I have to reach for something with my left arm but is not would I would characterize as painful. It also feels slightly uncomfortable when I take a deep breath. Based on the location and my symptoms, I believe it is a Rhomboid strain. I proceeded with my normal workout on Monday (Texas Method volume day with squats and bench press) but skipped any exercises that specifically target the back. Monday's workout appears to have caused some mild inflammation of the area but nothing too bad. I usually do barbell rows on Wednesday and deadlift on Friday (intensity day). Should I avoid heavy rows and deadlifts this week, do them but lighten the load, or just try to work through it at my normal weights and see how my body reacts? I have lots of experience with lower back pain but upper back issues are new to me so I'm not quite sure how long it takes to resolve or how to deal with it in the meantime. Thanks in advance for the help.
    In the absence of a competent physical exam and if I just take you at your word that you strained your rhomboid, I would have to say, "Absolutely not. Refraining from exercises that directly target that muscle is not the way we address muscle strains. In fact, we pick exercises that do target that muscle in a functional manner, we load it appropriately, and we work through the pain as it heals. Taking time off IS NOT the solution for almost any injury you are likely to have at the gym. Fractured long bones have to have time to heal. Surgically repaired structures have to have time to heal. Strained muscles, tendon related pain, etc are not likely to improve functionally with taking time off or unnecessary deloading."

  3. #3
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    Mar 2019
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    Thanks Will. I am going to attempt to push through without a deload and see how it goes beginning with barbell rows tomorrow and deadlifts on Friday.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Miller View Post
    Thanks Will. I am going to attempt to push through without a deload and see how it goes beginning with barbell rows tomorrow and deadlifts on Friday.
    I'm a big fan of rehabbing muscle injuries with reducing the in-set volume but maintaining heavy loads. Instead of 3 sets of 5, I drop down to 7-8 sets of 2. This way, in-set fatigue does not come into play as much.

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