Powerlifting 15. End of week 4 summary

Monday morning weigh in: 91.6kg, Saturday morning weigh in: 90kg.

As per my program, all rep sets were upped by 2.5kg.

Squats: The sets this week were 5@75kg, 5@100kg, 5@112.5kg (belt required on the second Squat day), 5@90kg, 5@87.5kg. They went OK, but I need to pay more attention to immediately stabilizing the load after removing it from the rack. I had this much more under control on the second squat day.

Bench presses: The sets this week were 5@75kg, 5@85kg, 5@90kg, 5@85kg, 5@75kg. The 90kg set needed to be split into sets of 3 and 2, and the following 85kg set needed to be split into sets of 4 and 1. Maybe I did not have enough of a rest period in between, but I was also feeling rather tired when I woke up that day. Regardless, the weights for these two sets will remain the same next week, when I WILL make all sets of 5!

Deadlifts: The sets this week were 5@90kg, 5@105kg, 5@130kg, 5@137.5kg, 5@105kg. Sets 3 and 4 required use of the belt and chalk.

The anterior shoulder pain

Following plenty of door-frame stretches (see previous post), plenty of massage of the effected and surrounding areas, tennis ball wall smashing of the area, two doses of ibuprofen, followed by a good night's sleep of around 10 hours on my back, the pain was much reduced on Sunday morning, but still present. Nonetheless, significant progress was being made. I took the kids to the swimming pool on Sunday for a splash around. Obviously, I wasn't swimming with the shoulder issue, but got the opportunity to massage it thoroughly under warm water for almost one hour! It was much easier to get a really deep massage under the water compared to doing it in air. I also applied some Arnica massage balm before going to bed. Monday morning I could still feel the problem persisting slightly, but it did not affect my squats. I felt the Russian swings about to cause problems so these were replaced with 24kg farmers walks. I managed to get back on to my hanging abs crunches without any problems and did some more light rear delt and rotator work.

Hardly surprising, but the bench press session on Tuesday did my shoulder no favours at all. Though once again I managed the conditioning work as best as possible to avoid further aggravation and to facilitate rectifying the issue. Heavy deadlift day (Thursday this week) seemed to trouble my shoulder even more and I am now of the opinion that the final deadlift of the competition (and my subsequent training in this lift) was the cause of this issue. Having done a bit more research I expect the the problem is not having my shoulders back and locked down tightly enough during the lift (if they are rolled forwards they will be taking far too much of the weight!). Also, as Adam Mack kindly pointed out to me on Friday, when you use an alternated overhand/underhand grip (which I do), then it is very easy for your overhand shoulder to be drawn forwards ... and indeed, it is the overhand shoulder that is causing the problem! I will endeavor to correct this next week and will video my lifts to judge my performance.

In this set up photo the lack of shoulder symmetry is clearly evident, with the overhand shoulder noticably raised and forward

and during a lift ... the overhand shoulder can be drawn a little too far forwards

Certainly the problem has flared up again but I do not think it is as bad as it was originally. Charlotte 'Bomber' Brown did some pushing, twisting and poking (without inflicting too much pain) and told me my shoulders were very tight. She has suggested some remedial mobility exercises, which I will get on with in the meantime.

Of course, the best thing to do would probably be to take a week or two off until it is fully healed, but the problem is that people who train hate to do this, including me. My aim is to continue training and to work around the problem until it resolves itself. Yes, it may take longer to heal like this, but at least I will keep up with my core training and through a process of constant critical analysis it should help me determine the route of the problem and hence also effect a sustainable solution (no point taking time off, resolving it, then jumping back in and doing the same thing again!). There is also the possibility that I may totally screw it up and end up having to take a long and extended period off from my training (and this would be very bad news indeed). However, I am getting to the point (I hope) where I can judge reasonably well what my body is trying to tell me and I feel I AM making progress with working out the specific cause of the issue. So ... I will continue my journey across the tightrope and hope I get to the other side without falling off!

As an aside, I also spent a few hours with Queensway ABC head boxing coach David (Oggy) Hodkinson putting together a bid for a grant to try and secure some funding for new kit for the kids in the gym. So ... fingers crossed that it pays off for us!