Wednesday, March 22, 2006


My dismissal of the soreness in my right arm was a bit premature. Things came to a screeching halt yesterday evening. I went in to do Day I: Chest, and right from the warm-up set of bench presses I realised that this evening was not going to go as planned. I was being super-careful about my position, but I felt a sort of weakness/discomfort in my right shoulder right from the warm up. I started off with the bench press and cautiously did the two warm-up sets, 6 x 20 Kg and 6 x 32.5 Kg. I think I knew at this point that there was no way I would be doing the max set for this evening, which was supposed to be 8 x 40Kg.

Man-in-charge saw me looking hesitant and asked me what was wrong. I never look hesitant before bench press; it's the exercise where I try to get as psyched as possible. So I told him that the arm was sore and I was feeling something but not exactly pain at the shoulder and wrist, but that I can still give it a try. Absolutely not, says man-in-charge, and told me to switch to decline bench. I went to the decline bench and did the 8 x 40 Kg with no problems, then 8 x 35 Kg and then 8 x 30 Kg before finishing with 12 x 20 Kg.

The next question was what exercise should follow the decline bp. I tried close grip bench presses, but that was not working either. Looks like flat benching is out until the shoulder and arm are back to normal. Instead I moved over to the pec deck and did a strange single arm flye variation while sitting sideways on the pec deck seat. The third exercise was db incline presses, and these were modified by removing the twist at the end and just pressing straight up instead. Finished off with skull crushers, and those were no problem at all, thank goodness. At least my triceps still work. I was pretty discouraged through most of the workout, which was hardly useful. Man-in-charge also gave me some rotator cuff exercises. I'm annoyed at myself for not doing these earlier. Did I know about them? Yup. Have I read at least a dozen articles about shoulder maintenance? Yup. Did I implement any regular preventive measures? Nope. *sighs at own stupidity*

I spent today developing my ambidexterity by using my left arm instead of my right whenever possible. This is harder than it sounds. Tonight is a rest night, excepting the rotator cuff stuff. Tomorrow I go back to the gym and see what impact this shoulder/arm thing is going to have on the pull-up endeavour.

I'm going to end with a quote from Cressey's Debunking Exercise Myths I article: "If you live your life the right way, you'll likely find yourself in an orthopedist's office at some point. If you live it the wrong way, you'll likely end up in cardiologist's office instead." (Anderson, 2003) I don't intend to end up in either office, but when I read this yesterday it was a much needed bit of good cheer.


At 9:06 AM , Anonymous Bud Gibson said...

I would not be too hard on myself in this regard. These things start to surface when you get up to higher weight levels, not before.

The trick is to stop when you first notice pain. Also, do you think this is more tendenitis (inflamation due to repetitive stress; i.e. chronic) or an acute injury? The rotatar cuff exercises will help for the former which is what most people have.

Also, let me recommend taking glucosamine. It strengthens the ligaments and tendons. You seem aware that the muscles can outpace the tendons. A lot of weight lifters use glucosamine as do arthritics.

At 2:52 PM , Blogger Scott said...

I hate to say it, but I'd be avoiding pull-ups for a couple of weeks. At least until you can clearly identify which types of movements are causing the pain.


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