T Nation

Frustrating Shoulder Issue


#1

FHey guys new here. Long story short after many years of imbalances suffered an infraspinatus rupture while benching in mid 2014. Had a successful repair but even prior had some underlying issues that I could never do a clean properly or a shoulder press to the front from my clavicle with a bar.

Since surgery strength is great but things like an Arnold press are nearly impossible. Causes a terrible cramp in the back of the shoulder and almost at the top of my tricep. Or for instance I have no strength or stability to kick up a dumbbell for incline press or shoulder press yet From ear level I can press 315. Also and last is curls. An alternate dumbbell curl over 20 lbs standing causes a terrible pull in the rear shoulder yet I can hammer curl or lean forward a bit and have full strength.

Anyone had a similar issue or know where I could be lacking. Doctors answer is well that’s how it as after surgery. I don’t buy that for a minute


#2

I have no idea what your issue is, but I did have a massive RC repair and did a good job of rehabbing it. Major takeaway point is that things like ITYs (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owOtS66Omxw – this does W’s adn L’s which I didn’t need) and kettlebell armbars and screwdrivers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvYKRyFeSDc) were the best. Make sure you read up on correct form, in particular packing the shoulder. Form, form and did I say form? Above all, the arm is stick and the muscles in the shoulder and upper back will be doing the work.

Why? As explained to me by my excellent rehab coach, the rotator cuff is mis-named. It can assist with rotating the arm, but in actuality, its job is to oppose the tendency of the deltoids to pull the humeral head (slightly) out of the sockets. As such, it is not possible to fire a single RC muscle in practice and a lot of RC rehab (like any isolation exercises) introduces significant strength imbalances. They get the individual muscles stronger but that is not useful strength. I had lots of random pains until I just hunkered down and did these exercises religiously for a couple of months. The aim with these is to get all of the RC muscles firing correctly and balancing each other out, as well as to get a feel for having the shoulder seated right in the socket. In any case, if you haven’t done these, I found them time well spent post-op.

YMMV,
– jj


#3

I want to thank you for taking the time to answer. Solid videos there. I will add to my routine. I’m going to see a specialist tomorrow.


#4

One other bit of advice from Don Draper (used to be Arnold’s training buddy back in the day) who ripped out his RC, got it fixed and ran back to the gym almost immediately, blowing it for good. I wrote to him asking for some advice and ended up having a very nice exchange with him. Great guy. In any case, he no longer does straight bar bench and after talking with him, me neither. Only DB bench. Why? Grab a pair of dumbbells and do a bench. Make sure it is comfortable to do. At the bottom you will find a tendency not to have both DBs perfectly straight (as if it were a bar) but rotated slightly. This deviation is what will injure you. See, that is the natural position for your shoulder physiology. A straight bar torques you out of that and the RC ends up taking up the slack. So if you are doing heavy straight bar bench the bottom of every rep (at load, I stress) tweaks your rotator cuff. My deviation on the right (the operated side) is pretty dramatic, being about 45 degrees while the left is mostly straight. That little test made a believer out of me.


#5

I had to make an appt with the ortho. Went to see a pt and scar tissue of the joint capsule is the issue. Only one way to fix that. I’ve also managed to separate my right ac joint and impinge it.