Posterior internal impingement and power cleans? Posterior internal impingement and power cleans?

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Thread: Posterior internal impingement and power cleans?

  1. #1
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    Default Posterior internal impingement and power cleans?

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    Brief history, I'm 43 and have had shoulder issues for about 25 years. Likely due to imbalances, excessive overhead work (painting, framing, etc) when I was younger, as well as chronic tendinitis in my shoulder, elbow, and wrist from playing the trombone 3 or 4 hours a day through college and beyond. About 10 years ago I was diagnosed with internal impingement. Imaging showed no tears, so I did the usual PT recommended rehab which kind of helped.

    Fast forward to now and after training the press and chins consistently I am mostly pain free unless I find myself playing a lot of gigs. Either way, it's manageable.

    3 weeks ago or so I did *something* to really piss off my shoulder. Not sure what but it was as bad a flare up as I've had in several years. It's mostly back to normal now but, and I can bench, press, and chin without making it worse but the one thing I can't do is clean. I have to take a fairly wide grip due to long forearms, and the rack position is really painful even with the empty bar.

    I finally learned to clean a few months ago, and while I didn't notice any acute injury during my last clean workout, I'm wondering if you all think power cleans could have been the source of the current irritation/injury, or if they're just painful after the fact. I'm not looking for an excuse not to do them, because I actually like training them, but I also don't want to deal with constant shoulder pain.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I do not think power cleans are the "source" of your shoulder pain. It is better to think about pain as the result of a bunch of contributing factors, especially when it emerges like this without a traumatic incident. The "source" is going to come from a bunch of different biological, psychological, and social factors. When looking for these factors, ask yourself, "have any new stressors been recently introduced in my life?" and "have any normal stressors recently become unmanageable?"

    A stressor here can be the introduction of power cleans after not doing them for a while. It can also be a miserable night's sleep, a fight with a significant other, or any change in life circumstances that leaves a strong negative impression. It is best to list out a bunch of these and then take small actions on a bunch of different fronts. An intervention here may include toning it down on power cleans, and it may not. Specific advice about how to go about doing this is consult territory, but hopefully, this is helpful and enough to get you thinking broader.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick D'Agostino View Post
    I do not think power cleans are the "source" of your shoulder pain. It is better to think about pain as the result of a bunch of contributing factors, especially when it emerges like this without a traumatic incident. The "source" is going to come from a bunch of different biological, psychological, and social factors. When looking for these factors, ask yourself, "have any new stressors been recently introduced in my life?" and "have any normal stressors recently become unmanageable?"

    A stressor here can be the introduction of power cleans after not doing them for a while. It can also be a miserable night's sleep, a fight with a significant other, or any change in life circumstances that leaves a strong negative impression. It is best to list out a bunch of these and then take small actions on a bunch of different fronts. An intervention here may include toning it down on power cleans, and it may not. Specific advice about how to go about doing this is consult territory, but hopefully, this is helpful and enough to get you thinking broader.
    Fair point, as far as the source(s) of the pain-- I was more trying to rule out cleans as a primary vs. a contributing factor. I've been managing this particular problem for several years, so I have a decent idea of what I need to do there, in general.

    I guess my question, specific to cleans was if you'd seen instances of pre-existing rotator cuff pathology being aggravated by cleans. (Again I have to think that it's probably far less of an issue for folks who can take a narrower grip).

    Today is my light pull day so I'm going to try cleaning and see if I can rack the bar without excessive discomfort and go from there.

  4. #4
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    I didn't realize you were just looking for validation. For sure though the pre-existing rotator cuff pathology can become aggravated by cleans as well as a poor night's sleep, fight with significant other, or any stressor. Seeing what you can do and using that information to make a decision is a good plan.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the response, Nick. I paid special attention to my grip (kept it as narrow as I could and still rack securely) and while it was uncomfortable it didn't make my shoulder hurt any worse. In fact it got a little better as I warmed up. I'll see how it feels over the course of the next few days. My concern was that I might be unwittingly irritating or injuring the shoulder further by doing cleans but as long as it seems like it's not making things worse I'll keep training them.

    Also my wife and I aren't fighting as far as I know. What have you heard?

  6. #6
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    That's good to hear Matt. My first go-to with most of these things are playing around with grip and seeing what happens. The general advice I usually give about training with pain is that it is ok to "nudge" it as you go. You shouldn't altogether avoid it or blindly push through it. Nudging is in the middle of those extremes. If you are nudging, you are in the clear for most things.

    As far as the biomechanics go, things are always impinging on each other in the shoulder as you move it around in everyday life. Sometimes this impingement is painful. Other times it's not. Focusing on the anatomical explanation for this, in this context, is not very useful because it is not actionable, so I attempt to direct people's attention to modifiable and actionable things (even though they are not as satisfying).

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