Shoulder injury, can't do pullup?

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KenDowns
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Shoulder injury, can't do pullup?

Post by KenDowns » Sat Oct 03, 2015 9:23 am

Now that I've got my back at 100% and am squatting and deadlifting, I've gone and done something to my shoulder again. I have never seen this particular problem described, which is that I cannot do a pullup. Zero strength in the left shoulder from the bottom position. Two weeks ago I went to start a set of pull-ups and my left shoulder froze completely and I actually half-fell, as my left hand involuntarily let go of the handle. Like dropping the bar, but instead I dropped myself. It was building for maybe 3 weeks but I was having great success with the LaCrosse ball between sets so I kept going.

During the day I often have
- A strained pulling feeling at the back of the shoulder joint - I think about where the ball of the humerus is hitting the shoulder blade but I'm going by feel here so take that position estimate with a grain of salt
- A strained pulling feeling on the outside of upper arm just above the elbow, it feels as if its between the bicep and tricep.

I've done no upper body workout for 2 weeks. During lower body workouts I test my shoulder with pull-downs.
- A super light band I can just stand there and do one arm pulldowns no problem
- Putting even 20lb on the pulley I can do 2 or 3 reps and the shoulder begins to freeze up.

Any ideas?

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Stephen Johnson
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Re: Shoulder injury, can't do pullup?

Post by Stephen Johnson » Sat Oct 31, 2015 9:45 am

Does your shoulder still freeze?

I'm mystified as to what the problem is. Maybe some sort of impingement, but that usually is accompanied by either tingling or significant pain.
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Re: Shoulder injury, can't do pullup?

Post by KenDowns » Mon Dec 14, 2015 12:22 pm

Yes.

I've tried a few things at low weight and this is what I know.

1. Bench press at up to 60% makes it feel better (i'm staying away from higher weights right now)
2. Rowing at 60% makes it feel worse
3. Face pulls provide relief during the workout
4. A single pullup spikes the pain. I've done one in the past 3 months as a test when I was feeling better
5. Any pain I get when not working out is minor, often below threshhold of noticing while busy:

5-a. A slight pinch where my left pec joins to the shoulder
5-b. A slight pull on what feels like the botton left of the left shoulder blade

I've always wondered if my consistent weirdness in right leg and left shoulder are some kind of failure to simply ensure I'm doing exactly the same thing on both sides of my body. That I should redouble my efforts to make a conscious mind-muscle connection to both sides, that I may be unconsciously favoring one side or another consistently that leads to these asymmetric aches and pains.

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Re: Shoulder injury, can't do pullup?

Post by KenDowns » Sat Jan 02, 2016 10:09 am

I think I had a light bulb go off.

Has to do with my long arms. I've always been told on a row to bend at about 45 degrees and pull the bar all the way to my belly. This produces extreme shoulder flexion, exactly what they tell us not to do in benching.

So I tried something more like a bent over shrug: kept my arms slightly bent and moved only the shoulder blades. This produced no shoulder pain and wicked DOMS - indicating I've hit something I haven't hit before.

The longer I lift the more I think my relatively longer arms and legs determine all of the differences between myself and the mainstream, I have to examine every move and say, "and what does that do if your arms and legs are relatively longer than the mesomorphs writing the books and articles?"

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Re: Shoulder injury, can't do pullup?

Post by stuward » Sat Jan 02, 2016 4:34 pm

I think that you need to understand your own limits with regard to range of motion. Your own mechanics should dictate.
I've always been told on a row to bend at about 45 degrees and pull the bar all the way to my belly.
Try a Pendlay Row, bend over more and bring the bar higher towards the chest. Start the bar from the floor, or blocks. I like it better. It seems better for my long limbs.
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Re: Shoulder injury, can't do pullup?

Post by Stephen Johnson » Sat Jan 02, 2016 5:01 pm

KenDowns wrote:I think I had a light bulb go off
New Year, new insight.

You're starting off on the right foot.

To all on the board, Happy New Year
Thanks TimD

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Re: Shoulder injury, can't do pullup?

Post by tostig » Tue Jan 05, 2016 9:51 am

This sounds like what I am currently suffering from. I have a rotator cuff injury. Doctor said it wasn’t too bad so I am not seeing a physiotherapist. What happened was that my bench press was failing. The left shoulder felt like it was going to fall off. I felt some sort of clicking in there. And then eventually during the squat my left hand could not grab the bar.

A lot of internet and youtube searches resulted in a few exercises that now I am feeling a lot better. I am back to normal with my squat.

My bench is still weak so I have reversed my grip from the normal palm down facing the feet to palm up facing the head. The theory is get the elbows closer to the torso and force external rotation of the shoulder. I have also replaced pushing heavy on the bench press with 1) pushing heavy on the dumbbell press with palms in and elbows pressed against the torso and 2) machine sitting chest press – I didn’t want my pecs to miss all that exercise because of my shoulder. My max on the bench press is 30lb on each end (105lb total).

I’m not totally back to normal. Everyday, I do these:

1) Swing the left arm as high as you can forwards and backwards; left and right, at 45degrees and at 135degrees
2) left arm out like an “L” holding a stick behind the arm and with my right hand or something, leverage the stick to force rotation of the left arm backwards;
3) grip a towel or stick with my left hand behind my back on the right side and with my right hand pull up; left palm out and in.
4) lie down face up, left arm out like an “L” holding a light dumbbell (3 or 5lb) elbow on the floor, rotate backwards and forward until back of the fist can touch the floor behind me.

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