Weightlifter labral tear & training next steps Weightlifter labral tear & training next steps

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Thread: Weightlifter labral tear & training next steps

  1. #1
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    Default Weightlifter labral tear & training next steps

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    Hi Rip,

    Iím a 33 year old female. Did SS for a year and LOVED all the results of the program ... life changing. Thank you for all that you do. I am seriously questioning why I didnít just stay with SS. I ended up transitioning into weightlifting and have been doing that for the past two years with an outstanding coach. I fell in love with the snatch and clean & jerk. I was learning solid technique, totals were improving. I was training at an elite gym, lots of top nationally-ranked lifters. I am not, and will never be anything close to an elite lifter, but have been attempting to train like one. One year in my body started breaking down.

    After one year of training & competing in weightlifting I developed a 2 cm longitudinal peroneal brevis tear in my left ankle. The surgeon wasnít terribly optimistic about surgery so we tried dry needling, of all things, to bring the pain and swelling under control. He seemed to think it was pretty stable. Iíve been lifting in an ankle brace which provides arch support that seems helpful when bouncing out of the bottom of cleans and high bar back squats. I feel like this injury stable, but am open to advice.

    In January, 2014, my right shoulder didnít feel right when jerking, and I started noticing pain, weakness and decreased mobility doing everyday stuff Ö like sleeping and opening doors. The pain was hard to pinpoint and was deep in the back of my shoulder. Saw a shoulder orthopedic surgeon who told me to stop doing all overhead lifting. I did, but continued to deadlift, squat, pull and clean. He sent me to PT, which did nothing. In May, I got an MRI that showed a partial labrum tear and bicep tendinitis. My doc sent me to a different PT to try an ďintensive shoulder rehabĒ as a last option before surgery. Iíve been doing the new PT program, a variety of light dumbbell stuff, for the past two months. I feel like weíve gotten my shoulder to the point where itís mostly pain-free doing normal everyday stuff. He allows me to try incorporating more exercises ďusing pain as the guide.Ē I can do chins and 20 lb ball slams with no pain. Multiple times Iíve done several worksets of presses, jerks, push presses and snatches and it all still hurts. Now it doesnít hurt terribly bad, Iíd be totally up for training through it Ö Iím just nervous about making things worse.

    I want to avoid surgery at all costs, with the immediate goals of getting back to regular weightlifting programming and be able to throw a softball. My long-term goals are to just be healthy, strong and mobile for as long as possible. Iíve been training through one injury or another for the past year and have been too injured to compete in weightlifting or participate in my hobbies of skiing and softball. I should also add that I've been very pro-active about recovery and self-care with neuromuscular massages, not overtraining, taking proper rest, chiro, solid nutrition, Epsom salt soaks ... I feel like I'm trying everything to properly take care of myself.

    Given my long-term goal and current injuries, should I just quit weightlifting and go back to SS? How would you rehab the shoulder at this point? And what are your thoughts about the ankle as well?

    As always your advice is greatly appreciated and followed.

    Thanks for the help.

  2. #2
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    Let me guess about something here: You stopped doing squats, presses, and deadlifts for regular weekly PRs after you started doing Olympic weightlifting, right?

  3. #3
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    Nope. For two years of Olympic weightlifting I have trained four days per week squatted three days a week, deadlifts once a week, pulls twice a week, presses once a week. I made sure that I found a coach with solid programming. The only thing we don't do is bench. I will say I did presses again yesterday and they didn't hurt. I will continue pressing. I am not sure how the injuries occurred.

  4. #4
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    PRs?

  5. #5
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    I would say we PR about four times a year peaking at meets. As a new lifter I could make a couple of PRs in the heavy couple of weeks leading into a meet.

  6. #6
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    As a new lifter, you could make PRs every week if your programming was careful and aggressive. My concern is for PRs in the strength basis lifts, the SQ/PR/DL/BP, because that strength base is what is demonstrated when power is produced. Do the math. And if you are operating at the very edge of your strength base, which is what happens when the only thing you regularly PR is the SN/C&J. The two lifts don't drive a strength increase, they merely display the aspect of strength that is power. And when you're operating at the edge of your strength base, you get into positions under the bar that you're not strong enough to hold. This gets you hurt.

  7. #7
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    You are absolutely correct. Damn, I should know better. I realized that I was more explosive and technically proficient than strong, and while I knew I needed to get stronger, I didnít see the actual harm that could cause.

    When I transitioned to weightlifting I switched to the high bar back squat which was extremely difficult for me coming from low bar. I have a very deep bottom position and I had to practice and build strength to get out of the bottom. So my squat numbers took a huge hit at the beginning and it took a long time to build back. For squats, the way my programming was structured, the number of reps and sets varied wildly from week to week. It can get pretty hard to locate the last time I squatted 6x8 (could have been months). So Iíd go off percentages of my latest 1RM based on the number of sets & reps listed. My squat 1 RM was probably tested 4-6 times a year. So the numbers were increasing but not fast enough. I know my presses increased, but again not fast enough. Bench press was completely omitted. And my deadlift pretty much just stayed the same. We never test that for a 1RM. It was always programmed at the end of a long workout, and being exhausted I didnít push myself hard enough to make the increase. I think I focused more in increasing snatch & clean pulls, which wonít make you stronger.

    The last programming I was on was a nine week strength phase where the emphasis was on squats, deadlifts and presses, unfortunately by that time I was already injured. That programming was solid. So I see now where the deficiencies are, and where laziness crept in. My technique with the olympic lifts and explosiveness increased at a much faster rate than any strength gains.

    So moving forward, for weightlifters, is omitting the bench press a cardinal sin? Does that need to be added back in? Is there a snatch / clean / jerk ratio to squat / press / deadlift I should be following? I know Catalyst Athletics posted these guidelines: http://www.catalystathletics.com/art...articleID=1786. As you already know, Iím outside these guidelines in all cases.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkiRockies View Post
    When I transitioned to weightlifting I switched to the high bar back squat which was extremely difficult for me coming from low bar. I have a very deep bottom position and I had to practice and build strength to get out of the bottom. So my squat numbers took a huge hit at the beginning and it took a long time to build back.
    Yes, you did not handle heavy weight in the squat for a long time. This is not good for strength.

    For squats, the way my programming was structured, the number of reps and sets varied wildly from week to week. It can get pretty hard to locate the last time I squatted 6x8 (could have been months).
    6 sets of 8 (8 sets of 6?) cannot be done with heavy weights anyway. Not good for strength. And I don't see why a female needs to be doing either 6s or 8s anyway.

    So I’d go off percentages of my latest 1RM based on the number of sets & reps listed. My squat 1 RM was probably tested 4-6 times a year. So the numbers were increasing but not fast enough.
    Most importantly, not as fast as they could have, and had they been going up faster they would have kept pace with your SM/C&J.

    I know my presses increased, but again not fast enough. Bench press was completely omitted. And my deadlift pretty much just stayed the same. We never test that for a 1RM. It was always programmed at the end of a long workout, and being exhausted I didn’t push myself hard enough to make the increase. I think I focused more in increasing snatch & clean pulls, which won’t make you stronger.
    So, you squatted light weights, didn't bench, didn't deadlift for PRs, didn't press for PRs, and tried to drive the SN/C&J. Standard American Olympic weightlifting.

    So I see now where the deficiencies are, and where laziness crept in. My technique with the olympic lifts and explosiveness increased at a much faster rate than any strength gains.
    And this is your fault? From your OP:

    I ended up transitioning into weightlifting and have been doing that for the past two years with an outstanding coach.
    Are you sure?

    So moving forward, for weightlifters, is omitting the bench press a cardinal sin? Does that need to be added back in? Is there a snatch / clean / jerk ratio to squat / press / deadlift I should be following?
    If your labrum is torn, you might not be able to bench. The ratio of strength to power varies with the individual, and sex plays a major role in determining the relationship. In general, you need to be real fucking strong, and the stronger you are, the more power you will express as long as you leave time to practice the 2 lifts enough to be able to do them well. You can see that there are many variables. The primary variable that your outstanding coach seems to have omitted is the force production variable of the F x d/t equation.
    Last edited by Mark Rippetoe; 07-23-2014 at 12:10 PM. Reason: spelling

  9. #9
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    98 % of the time our squats were in the 5x5, 4x4, 5x4 range. But you are so right that I wasn’t squatting heavy enough, didn’t bench, didn’t deadlift for PRs, didn’t press for PRs and tried to drive the sn/c&j. While my situation is clearly indicative of that, everyone else at my gym has more appropriate strength to power ratios. While most are certainly genetic freaks, I wonder why more or all aren’t experiencing the same problem that I am. Perhaps they are pushing themselves to PR their strength lifts more than me? From looking at everyone else’s PRs I believe I’m the only one at my gym who’s numbers are so totally out of whack.

    While I’m rehabbing these injuries I will return to the tried and true SS program and will focus on getting stronger. SS is the best program I’ve found. The benefits were clear as day, and helpful in so many areas of life. For now I’m just going to take it one day at a time, get strong and healthy and will figure out what, if anything, to do with weightlifting in the future.

    My MRI did show a small labrum tear, I know it won’t heal on its own, but in your experience can they be pretty good and stable without surgery? I did presses and chins pain-free earlier this week. Should I try adding in bench?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkiRockies View Post
    98 % of the time our squats were in the 5x5, 4x4, 5x4 range. But you are so right that I wasn’t squatting heavy enough, didn’t bench, didn’t deadlift for PRs, didn’t press for PRs and tried to drive the sn/c&j. While my situation is clearly indicative of that, everyone else at my gym has more appropriate strength to power ratios. While most are certainly genetic freaks, I wonder why more or all aren’t experiencing the same problem that I am. Perhaps they are pushing themselves to PR their strength lifts more than me? From looking at everyone else’s PRs I believe I’m the only one at my gym who’s numbers are so totally out of whack.
    Everyone else in your gym are doing PR SN/C&Js every week/month? The ones that aren't are actually doing regular programmed PRs in the strength lifts?

    My MRI did show a small labrum tear, I know it won’t heal on its own, but in your experience can they be pretty good and stable without surgery? I did presses and chins pain-free earlier this week. Should I try adding in bench?
    If the bench hurts, at all, don't do it. Chins and presses will have to suffice, and they probably will.

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