The Perfect Storm

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KenDowns
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The Perfect Storm

Post by KenDowns » Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:01 pm

I seem to have sailed into the perfect storm -- meaning the worst possible.

1) During Thanksgiving week I was at-home-on-vacation, caught a cold, diet and sleep got messed up. It was deload week but I ended up skipping two workouts altogether, not wanting to tax recovery abilities.

2) The next week diet and sleep almost got back to normal but not really. Noticed some weird shoulder pain after workouts, but as it went away a couple of hours later, figured no big deal. (This was wave 1 of 5/3/1)

3) Third week got worse, travelling for business, missed workout, horrendous sleep and diet. Tried to do just squat and bench on Thursday (to make up the missed bench) and the shoulder got a lot worse.

Yesterday would have been press and chin, but I skipped it completely because of my shoulder. No way I was going to do 1+ day on press with multiple pain points in the shoulder.

Today I feel dramatically better, sleep and diet have been back to normal for 3-4 days, and the shoulder is much better. Today would be deadlift, which I am actually considering doing, which leads to my questions.

Question 1 is basically, how much do you trust your instincts when working out alone with no expert guidance except the internet? What I've done is go through the motions of all of the exercises I'm doing in Cycle 4 (with either no weight or empty bars) and realized the left arm is in trouble when supinated. This has me suspicious of barbell curls and my practice of always supinating left hand on mixed-grip top deadlift sets. I'm thinking to make a couple of changes:

1) Stop using mixed grip on deadlifts. If my grip doesn't allow a rep, then I can't do the rep. Combined with my usual "let the warmups be your guide", if I have any pain at all in warmups then I stop, simple as that.

2) Return to dumbbell curls. Learning form on barbell curls is not impossible, but it does not seem to be trivial either.

3) Stop doing pin-pause bench. These have occassionally made my left arm hurt.

Question 2 is just this: does it make sense, when working out alone, to be much more cautious about adding in accessories. My problem is that with 5/3/1 between cycles 3 and 4 I added quite a few and now I can't figure out what might have gotten me into trouble. I'm thinking to return to what Wendler calls, "I ain't doing jack shoot", doing just the main lift, and putting Bulgarians in because they've never hurt me and I still need leg work. See how that goes and be much more cautious and experimental about any new accessories. Does this make sense?

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Re: The Perfect Storm

Post by robertscott » Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:05 pm

1. Use straps
2. Concentration curls
3. Pin pause bench is mince unless you're advanced. Just bench and use dumbells

hope that helps

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Re: The Perfect Storm

Post by Jungledoc » Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:24 pm

Hook grip!

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Re: The Perfect Storm

Post by Oscar_Actuary » Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:19 pm

I cant imagine curls resulting in a bad shoulder, under a normal range

Are you staying tight on the bench? How arr your lats on the OH Press?

Describe your pain more: Where and When, specifically.

ps. I am not a doctor

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Re: The Perfect Storm

Post by Paperclip » Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:40 am

Oscar_Actuary wrote:I cant imagine curls resulting in a bad shoulder, under a normal range

Are you staying tight on the bench? How arr your lats on the OH Press?

Describe your pain more: Where and When, specifically.

ps. I am not a doctor
If you have a problem with your glenoid labrum (like in the case of a SLAP tear), then I imagine that curling could make it worse because the tendon from the bicep's long head is attached to it.

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Re: The Perfect Storm

Post by KenDowns » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:10 pm

@oscar: pain points:

1) Currently the pain is in roughly the position where my left scapula hits the acromion. It feels as if it is bruised, if that makes any sense. If I press it it hurts. This is the only pain point still lingering.

2) On Thur-Fri-Sat I also had that bruised feeling on the back of my scapula, midway between shoulder and neck, that is now gone completely.

3) Two points of plain old muscle soreness that are now gone. I think that on Thu-Fri-Sat the combination of all four was giving me a lot of referred pain and the sensation that the entire shoulder and upper arm were a mess.

@doc: hook grip is on my list of things to avoid because I'm a wimp. It hurts. Maybe its time to man it up. As I understand this is easier on the lower weights, no? So I can build up?

@oscar: curls. Well here's a story. From age 15-45 I accumulated perhaps a total of 12 weeks of weight lifting scattered over the years, 2 weeks here and there. I always did curls, because, isn't that what you do when you work out? I also always curled my wrists near the top, out of instinct, and also always had weird pain deep inside the inner elbow. Well it turns out you're not supposed to curl your wrists, or you get weird pain deep inside the inner elbow because you're grinding a tendon (or something like that). So if somebody says, "How can something like curls possibly be the problem" I tend to assume there are infinite ways i can do it wrong and never even know it. I don't like to be paralyzed by such thinking, but this awareness has to be present.

@robert: for concentration curls, would you agree that any kind of dumbbell curl would at least allow me to determine if the barbell curl is contributing?

@robert: Yeah I'm done with the pause bench variation. I'm thinking very strongly to do either "I ain't doing Jack Shoot" or "Boring but Big" and crossing off all accessories except Bulgarians.

@clip: barely understood the wikipedia entry on glenoid labrum. How do such injuries occur?

I'm going to ask about other programs in a different thread.

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Re: The Perfect Storm

Post by Paperclip » Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:47 pm

KenDowns wrote: @clip: barely understood the wikipedia entry on glenoid labrum. How do such injuries occur?

I'm going to ask about other programs in a different thread.
Hi Ken,

Perhaps you can read about SLAP tear/lesion because from what I know, it's where labral tear normally occurs:

SLAP tear: http://www.shoulderdoc.co.uk/article.asp?section=15
Types of SLAP tears: http://www.shoulderdoc.co.uk/article.as ... ticle=1027

It usually happens in overhead or throwing movements. BTW the doc thought that I've one based on a physical examination, but I've to take an MRI to be sure. I think I got it from doing jerks in training.

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Re: The Perfect Storm

Post by robertscott » Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:46 pm

KenDowns wrote: @robert: for concentration curls, would you agree that any kind of dumbbell curl would at least allow me to determine if the barbell curl is contributing?
I missed this before. Yeah man switching to dumbells is definitely a good idea. Not everyone agrees with me but I think curls are too important to drop completely, and I also think that learning what workarounds are best for you as an individual is the key to having a long and happy lifting life

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Re: The Perfect Storm

Post by KenDowns » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:15 pm

Head slap! I think I figured it out, at least what I did differently on Thursday. It was so obvious I feel like an idiot.

So Thursday is squat day, but I'd been travelling on Tuesday and missed bench, so I just did Squat and Bench on Thursday. I tried something new I'd read about for bench, probably on T-Nation, which my partner had already tried with great success. The idea was to drop the bar slowly, and at about 2 inches drop it faster and rebound. It's not meant to bounce or anything, you almost let go and then press upward as hard as you can as its dropping. Could I have over-stretched something? Makes a lot of sense to me.

If its true that my shoulder was already irritated from causes unknown, perhaps deads or curls, and then I did this on top of it, it would explain my sense that my arm and shoulder were generally a mess.

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Re: The Perfect Storm

Post by KenDowns » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:17 pm

Paperclip wrote:
KenDowns wrote: @clip: barely understood the wikipedia entry on glenoid labrum. How do such injuries occur?

I'm going to ask about other programs in a different thread.
Hi Ken,

Perhaps you can read about SLAP tear/lesion because from what I know, it's where labral tear normally occurs:

SLAP tear: http://www.shoulderdoc.co.uk/article.asp?section=15
Types of SLAP tears: http://www.shoulderdoc.co.uk/article.as ... ticle=1027

It usually happens in overhead or throwing movements. BTW the doc thought that I've one based on a physical examination, but I've to take an MRI to be sure. I think I got it from doing jerks in training.
@clip the first link was easy to understand, and seems to describe some of the pain I was feeling. I'm feeling better about this. I skipped today's workout, will probably do squats on Thursday on schedule, and restart cycle 4 from the beginning next week.

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Re: The Perfect Storm

Post by Oscar_Actuary » Wed Dec 14, 2011 1:20 am

KenDowns wrote: The idea was to drop the bar slowly, and at about 2 inches drop it faster and rebound. It's not meant to bounce or anything, you almost let go and then press upward as hard as you can as its dropping. .
sounds like working the stretch reflex, except the almost leting go part.
not endorsing it but I can see where you heard it,
not knocking it either
I dont know enough to take side
Does sound plausible cause though, esp if you lost tightness, as it seems you would

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Re: The Perfect Storm

Post by KenDowns » Sun Dec 18, 2011 3:01 pm

Oscar_Actuary wrote:
KenDowns wrote: The idea was to drop the bar slowly, and at about 2 inches drop it faster and rebound. It's not meant to bounce or anything, you almost let go and then press upward as hard as you can as its dropping. .
sounds like working the stretch reflex, except the almost leting go part.
not endorsing it but I can see where you heard it,
not knocking it either
I dont know enough to take side
Does sound plausible cause though, esp if you lost tightness, as it seems you would
UPDATE: I think Oscar's suggestion that I loosened up is it. As soon as I read those words I had that horrible realization that I had loosened up. So imagine basically dropping 190# from 2 inches above your chest, going loose to do it, and then trying to slam it back up. Ouch.

UPDATE II: Deadlifts did not aggravate the shoulder at all, but doing dumbbell curls did, an intense burn in the front of the shoulder and even the end of the pects if that makes any sense. Now that I've finished the workout - no pain. Go figure. I'm still stumped.

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Re: The Perfect Storm

Post by stuward » Sun Dec 18, 2011 3:54 pm

KenDowns wrote:...

UPDATE II: Deadlifts did not aggravate the shoulder at all, but doing dumbbell curls did, an intense burn in the front of the shoulder and even the end of the pects if that makes any sense. Now that I've finished the workout - no pain. Go figure. I'm still stumped.
The bicep tendon crosses the shoulder joint and goes through the the same space as the supraspinatus. If you're doing curls and overhead pressing back to back, it can lead to impingement. The tendons swell up as you work them and the space gets crowded, leading to inflamation, more swelling, etc. There are something like 17 muscles that cross the shoulder joint and they all interact with each other.

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Re: The Perfect Storm

Post by Oscar_Actuary » Sun Dec 18, 2011 5:36 pm

semi hijack

Are all compound rows and pulls ok to superset with all presses (vert or horiz) ?

Stu got me thinking, cause I be doing supersets all the time now

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Re: The Perfect Storm

Post by Dub » Sun Dec 18, 2011 5:42 pm

Ken, have you tried to eliminate mostly all other muslces except the bicep? Like, a typical isolation bicep-curl on a scott bench and things like that? Does that cause pain?
But yeah, like Stu said, the shoulder-area is very tricky. There are so many muscles crossing over the shoulder joint, and very big muscles also (The rotatory cuff -muscles, teres major pectoralis major, lats, biceps and triceps, deltoids, coracobrachialis come to mind at first.) All hit between the range of the midsection of the humerus and the scapula. So it is very hard to really pinpoint the real issue. Maybe seeing a physiotherapist could help

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