I'm so upset

Today I was diagnosed with a weak left rotator cuff. I’ve dislocated it 2 times in the past, and I can purposely sublux it toward the rear anytime I want. For the past few months, it’s gotten worse, where it aches all the time. I can’t even pinpoint the problem, just all over shoulder ache. It’s kinda like when you get sick, and you feel weak all over, but it is localized to my left shoulder.

So because of this:

I just started Westside, and it felt great. Well, I’m fucked now. I’m so down on myself, it’s ridiculous.

Bench has been such an integral part of my program, I don’t know how to schedule a program around it. So I’m going to give it a shot, and I would appreciate ANY AND ALL RECOMMENDATIONS

Monday - Squat and deadlift (if allowed) (alternate 1st exercise weekly), calves, low back, abs

Wednesday - Arms and Shoulders (Raises only), pec-deck or flat flyes (if allowed)

Friday - Upper Back (lats, traps, rhomboids) low back (light), hamstrings (speed), calves, abs

What does everyone think? Please feel free to tear it apart, as I hope you will.

Also, the PT said my low traps/upper rhomboid area wasn’t as developed as compared to the rest of my back. Any good exercises for this area?

Thanks everyone.

Well, the first thing we’d need is a list of allowable exercises. No sense in putting together a routine just to have your doc tell you that it won’t fly.

Second, if you’re like most guys you could use a little upper/lower body balancing. I know that you want to bench, but really, in the long run two months off isn’t going to make THAT much difference. Might think about just doing lower body over the summer.

Third, your situation sucks. Sympathy, bud.

Do your external rotations and internal rotations, dont forget the latter as it will get the teres major, first thing at every workout. Get ART treatment at least once per week. I have the same problem as you, this is what I’ve been doing and it seems to be working. For the back exercise, I recommend face pulls with the rope attachment, which is a staple in the Westside system anyhow.

Upright and 30 degree rows, reverse flyes, bent shrugs.

At least one of above ought to fly with your doc to improve that upper back.

Your rotaters initiate all lateral and forward shoulder raises through the first 25 degrees of movement. Beyond that, anterior and medial delt take over. Thus, even cheat curls can be of use to bring the former up to par.

Inner and outer rotations with elbows pinned to your sides should be your primary focus, however. They’re most easily performed lying on your side and back, respectively.


I was taught by the PT that when doing those you can’t move your shoulder blade. I have to do these goofy exercises, and when doing them, I can’t move my shoulder blade.

Char - face pulls are not good for this. My rear delt is dwarfing my rotator cuff muscles, which causes the subluxing. Basically, instead of my arm rotating in the socket, it moves around, like when I move my arm from out in front to the side to the back, it will move ALONG the socket, instead of rotating.

Every exercise is allowable, just no benching, from what I understand. Actually, my bench is my weakest point in the squat/dead/bench triplet. This is why I am utterly upset.

internal and external rotations work a different part of the rotator cuff. I have to do a lying down Cuban curl. I have to put a towel underneath my left shoulder, have my elbow hang down off the couch, then rotate my arm in a cuban curl fashion. When my shoulder blade moves is when the motion stops. I hope that makes sense.

Hell yeah, this is your oppurtunity to ger your back huge! I’m sure your back isn’t too strong, as no ones is. Take it as a unique oppurtunity.

You know I can empathize, J-Dub. Two months isn’t so bad. I can’t do it for 2 years.

Gotta agree with Sully.

Don’t be a “glass is half-empty” but a “glass is half-full” type of person. Especially in situations like this.

Yes, it’s a bummer. BUT do look at it as a opportunity to try new things. You say that you just can’t work bench; but still can train chest.

Then train all the assistant movers in the bench HARD. For instance, I noticed today during bench that my front delts and tri’s need more work (strength). SO, that’s what I’m going to really focus on. And as what Sully said, work back. THIS is a good point. Especially when lats do play a role in the bench; especially when training via Westside.

Another thing; when working your back. Keep in mind the words of Dave Tate: to train back in the same plane of movement as the chest. In other words: rows.

Thanks guys, for the kick in the nuts. I’ll just view this as an opportunity to blast my other body parts rather hard. Back, lats specifically, can use some serious work, from my point of view. Plus, I can always use stronger legs.

Anybody got any other ideas on how to train low traps/upper rhomboids?

Does that training split look ok, or should I change it?

“Upright and 30 degree rows, reverse flyes, bent shrugs”

I know how to do reverse flyes and upright rows, but how do you do 30 degree rows and bent shrugs? I usually do seated shrugs. Are bent shrugs just shrugs bent over?

That’s just my way of describing a row (or shrug) that isn’t performed in a totally vertical or horizontal plane. As in, bend over ~30 degrees when you do them. No biggie.

With shrugs, I’d use dumbbells to allow for maximum range of motion. Keep 'em slow and heavy. Lots of time under tension.