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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:52 pm 
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You hear a lot about people with rotator cuff problems, as I presently have, and you hear a lot about what they should do. You also hear it took "a long time" to get back to normal, but you don't hear much about what goes on along the way.

So I'm wondering if anybody has gone through this, and how the various stages went. Mostly as a reality check against my own experience.

After four weeks of solid rehab work (detailed below), i seem to be in a new stage. Nothing feels the way it did before the injury, and nothing feels as bad as it did at its worst. Crazy as this may sound, I would rather feel the way I do now than the way I did before the injury. Even though I probably can't come close to my previous bench 1RM. That day will come, patience, patience.

1) A "bad shoulder day" now happens only if I sleep on it, and even the worst days are only in the morning

2) I completely forget about it for hours at a stretch

3) I can bench and press empty bars and not pay a price. I can do lateral raises, front raises, and flyes (all with light rehab weight) and not pay a price, and actually feel like I got a workout.

The transition into this stage began became unmistakable early this week, when I increased the weights on face pulls to 25#, and found I could still do 25 of them without cheating. The complete prescription I've been following is:

1) Face pulls, on recovery days, 3-4 sets of 25-30. Began at 15# 4 weeks ago, now at 25#

2) Rear Delt Flyes, with 5# bands. Settled on the 5# bands two weeks ago, have gone from sets of 15 to sets of 25

3) Lying External Rotations, with 3#. Have worked up from sets of 10 to at least one set of 20, but later sets drop down

4) Stretching the pec minor. The towel method is my favorite, but you can do it without the towel at your desk whenever you want

5) Soft tissue work with the lacrosse ball. This is the easiest one to skip if it doesn't hurt at any particular moment, but doing this pre-emptively seems to be a big deal.

So I think I'm in a stage I'll call "rebuild" where the rear delt work has made it possible to do rehab weights on pressing movements, and I can continue to increase the weights on pressing movements beginner-style, that is, 5# per session.

Anybody else had any similar experience? Advice? Rebuttals?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:57 pm 
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No rebuttals from me. For empathy's sake, though, i'll relate my own experience since starting shoulder pre-hab stuff a few months ago: Learning not to sleep on my side has been tough but it's getting easier. Also my shoulder sometimes feels a bit stiff the day after an intense chest workout but usually a bit of trigger point release with the old tennis ball and some stretching does the trick. Sometimes i can even feel my shoulder joint sliding into its proper position as i press on the trigger point -- an odd sensation, but not a bad one.

Oh, and i've been doing this stretch with a piece of PVC pipe: http://www.exrx.net/Stretches/Subscapul ... stick.html

I still do the towel one and a couple of doorway stretches also. I find it helps to try to target all the tight muscles from different angles, so to speak... but i'm starting to sound like a bodybuilder! (Not that there's anything wrong with that :) )


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:29 pm 
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I injured my shoulder a couple of years ago now, it's never really been the same since.

I just have to be mindful of it when I train. Fixing my bench technique helped, and so did doing LOADS of upper back work.

KPj tested my shoulder mobility and it was laughable. Ever since then I've done a little bit of shoulder work every day consisting of side lying external rotations, the sleeper stretch, soft tissue work around the RC and stretches for my traps and suboccipitals.

It's a slow process but I'm making progress. I actually think my shoulder is getting ever so slightly better as the weeks go on.

Oh and one more thing that helped: doing a thorough shoulder warm up before every upper body workout. Muy importante


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:56 pm 
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You hear a lot about rotator cuff problems because they're the catch-all for shoulder problems. 1/3 of the adult and over 1/2 of the senior population is walking around with an asymptomatic rotator cuff tear (if I'm not misremembering the values). I think rotator cuff pathologies have become so "conventional wisdom" that IMHO they are massively over diagnosed, like it's this ubiquitous villain that plagues exercise aficionados. In fact of the exercises you've listed, only one is really for the rotator cuff; the rest are to balance scapulothoracic movement with glenohumeral movement.

I'm not saying you don't (or do) have a rotator cuff problem. I'm just suggesting that it's such a small part of a huge movement system and that you should look at it as such and try not to compartmentalize it as a singular issue. To say that the shoulder is complicated is a vast understatement, and I'm very, very, very wary of ascribing such a simple cause to a complex problem.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:23 am 
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KenDowns wrote:
Anybody else had any similar experience? Advice? Rebuttals?


I had a shoulder problem when i started lifting, it was already there due to a poor postural position i had when i played the drums. When i started lifting this problem was highlighted, i developed a shoulder impingement in next to no time. Fortunately for me my girlfriend has a BSc in Sports Therapy and was doing her MSc in Rehabilitation Science at the time this trouble flared up. She gave me a lot of pretty dull boring exercises to do after a few months my shoulder was fixed and has never bothered me since.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 10:15 am 
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JasonJones wrote:
I'm not saying you don't (or do) have a rotator cuff problem. I'm just suggesting that it's such a small part of a huge movement system and that you should look at it as such and try not to compartmentalize it as a singular issue. To say that the shoulder is complicated is a vast understatement, and I'm very, very, very wary of ascribing such a simple cause to a complex problem.


You won't get an argument from me.

AFAIK I have no tear or "injury" that can be identified. The chiropractor found that ART on my infraspinatus and teres minor made things feel better, and suggested simply that I do light weight slow reps high volume general shoulder stuff. This has made me feel dramatically better.

I wonder if the rotator cuff is the "entry point" where people begin to understand how complex the shoulder is and how much specific work it needs if you want to bench those heavy plates safely. That seems to be how it is working out for me.

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