This is actually the end of week 4, but given that the previous week was spent preparing for the powerlifting contest (see previous blog posts), this week actually represented Week 3 of Cycle 1 (the Foundation cycle). On Monday morning I weighed 90.4kg, weighing in on Saturday morning at 90.4kg (exactly the same). I have decided to maintain a gradual weight loss in order to shed a little more pointless and non-functioning (in a powerlifting context) tissue! I am playing this by ear and will tweak my nutrition as I go, depending on how I feel and the results obtained. I am not at a point where I need to adhere to a strict regime, so an ice cream with the kids in Heaton Park on Monday was well received, though the fish and chips with the kids at Hollingworth Lake the following day was pretty disgusting, but it cost so much I had to eat it all! I attribute the lack of any weight loss this week to a reduced conditioning workload this week as a result of right shoulder pain.
I had a little right shoulder pain, presumably as a result of the competition. I wonder if was due to the barbell being unevenly balanced in my bench presses. In each of my three attempts the left side went up before the right side, which no doubt increased the strain on my right shoulder. For the time being I will assume this was the case, or at least that it contributed to the problem. Of course, given that I am right-handed, the pain may be totally unrelated to my powerlifting activities, but I doubt it.
Uneven pressing technique at the competition
Anyway, it was more discomfort than pain, but I decided to leave out some of the overhead conditioning work throughout the week, in the hope that it might resolve itself. Instead, I did some light rotator cuff work and some light rear delt work. I jumped straight in to the squat routine on Monday with my weight sets calculated on my new 1RM of 130kg plus the additional 2.5kg as the normal weekly addition, and all went well.
Tuesday's bench session was fine and I made sure to pay more attention to the balance of the bar and pressing it in an even fashion.
Paying more attention to the balance of the barbell (photo by Ben Lavery)
I felt my right shoulder pain twinge again during my Wednesday light session, but this time when I was about to do my first deadlift, so maybe it was something to do with pushing my final lift of the competition ... basically, I went for my IRM as my very last lift of the meeting. I completed my light deadlifts carefully and then managed my conditioning and accessory work to reduce the stress over my right collar bone, which is where the discomfort is. I also added in a bit of upper back work. I took some ibuprofen on Wednesday evening just to reduce any inflammation and see if it would help resolve the issue, but the pain was still there on Thursday morning. Thursday was heavy squats with more rotator work, some lower back stuff, abs (not hanging crunches) and an uphill treadmill walk. Basically, my aim was to reduce stress on my shoulder whilst still working the rotators. It seems to be doing the trick. The pain was still there on Friday, but I managed my heavy deadlift day, though they did feel heavy! Again, I managed the conditioning routine around the shoulder and finished off with 20 minutes in the sauna.
It is now Saturday morning and the pain is still present, so it is time for some further research using this book kindly recommended by Andy Tyson of Marine Fit at Full Contact Performance Centre, Rochdale.
I will delve more into this over the weekend and have also found some videos to watch. In the meantime, a simple door-stretch exercise described in this book is alleviating the problem (in a similar manner to the light rear delt work I was doing earlier in the week). Hands on the side of the doorframe, push the upper body through, thus tightening the upper back muscles and stretching the upper chest/anterior shoulder area.
I am looking forward to having two days off in the hope that I can get the shoulder issue resolved or at least on the mend, ready to jump back into it on Monday morning.