The main focus this week has been to maintain a progressive program, whilst at the same time trying to determine exactly what it aggravating my shoulder and working in potential fixes for the problem. I think it is working.
As per my program, all rep sets were upped by 2.5kg, apart from sets 3 and 4 of my bench press (see week 4 summary). This week had a Bank Holiday Monday, so I was unable to attend the gym on that day. To account for this I deleted the light day from my routine as follows: Mon (no gym), Tues (squat, late start), Weds (arms and upper body - see shoulder pain section), Thurs (bench), Fri (deadlift)
Squats: The sets this week were email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, 5@115kg, email@example.com, 5@90kg. No problem with the weights. The increased focus on balancing the load and stepping back from the rack is paying off. I now seem to be settling the bar into a comfortable position more easily.
Bench presses: The sets this week were firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, 5@90kg, 5@85kg, firstname.lastname@example.org. Not so good to start off with, but in part I put this down to the current shoulder issue. I did an increased warm up. The first set was fine, but I only managed two reps on the second! So, I recalculated the weights and lifted as follows: email@example.com, 5@80kg, 5@85kg, (2)+firstname.lastname@example.org, 4+1@90kg. I reckon I would have made the full five reps of the final set if I had a spotter present. Making sure I had my shoulders tightly locked down and back definitely resulted in much reduced shoulder pain.
Deadlifts: The sets this week were email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, 5@140kg, firstname.lastname@example.org. OK, but I was only able to complete two reps on the 132.5kg set, though this was more of a shoulder preservation issue. I managed the five reps at 140kg, though I did need to pause between lifts.
The anterior shoulder pain
This had mostly calmed down by the time I got in the gym on Tuesday morning, but was nonetheless still present. By Saturday morning the problem was still present, but I am of the opinion it is on the mend. One chap in the gym told me he had the same issue and it took him 6-months to get it right, so it might not be a quick fix, but certainly I would like to have it sorted much sooner than that! I am also particularly grateful to David Green of Strongest Version for his advice and suggestions relating to this issue on Tuesday evening. Following our chat I did some research and came across this page (click here). It has a simple explanation, with illustration, additional links and references. It lists the following potential factors which may promote shoulder instability (with my comments in parentheses):
Fatigue (probably not) Inadequate warm up (probably) Poor Posture (probably during my daily routines) Previous shoulder injury or dislocation (not that I am aware of) Inadequate shoulder rehab post-injury (no) Muscle imbalance (possibly) Muscle weakness (possibly) Thoracic spine tightness (no idea) Poor core strength and stability (doubtful) Bad form (probably) Shoulder joint hyper mobility (no) Genetic ligament looseness (doubtful)
Basically, this is a very complicated joint, with a lot that can go wrong, so it deserves a considerable degree of attention in terms of general maintenance. My initial training week had a rest day in the middle, but this was (previously) replaced with a second squat day. Given that I used to do considerably more arm/shoulder/upper back work than I am doing at present, this might be leading to weakness/imbalance. Hence, I will replace the second squat day with an arm/upper body work-out and will also add in shoulder flexibility and strengthening work to my other training days and will also do this at the weekend. I will also make sure my warm ups are better and focus more on my posture during my normal daily activities! At the end of this week I can now confirm without doubt, the shoulder pain is most aggravated when lowering the bar from the deadlift. If I make sure my shoulder is properly locked back during this process is not such a problem. I will work on this.
As I am now more than half way through my first cycle, I felt it was also time to take a look and see what the next cycle involves. More on this in due course. My next blog post due out on Wednesday will be all about my nutrition.