T Nation

Shoulder Injury Prevention, Training Volume

For shoulder health we’re told that at least equal amounts of push (bench variations) & pull (horizontal plane rowing) should be done maybe do more pull than push is also sometimes advised.
My question: do we do this by counting sets, reps, volume?
As I have recently changed over from 531 for bench to a Westside style method, the number of sets for ‘push’ has risen dramatically e.g.
ME day: lightened bench-
60kg x 15
80kg x 8
90kg x 5
100kg x 3
110kg x 1
120kg x 1
130kg x 1
135kg x1
8sets, 35reps
2board press24" grip -
60kg x 6
70kg x 6
80kg x 6, 6, 6, 6 (i.e. 4sets of 6)
6sets, 36reps

total = 14 sets, 71 reps.

DE day, DE Bench:
20kg x 15
40kg x 5
50kg x 3
57.5kg x 8 sets of 3 reps
11 sets, 47reps
Narrow grip Bench (22")
40kg x 10
50kg x 10
60kg x 4sets of 10 reps
6 sets, 60reps
Total =17 sets, 107 reps

Weekly total = 31 sets, 154reps

My current back (horizontal i.e. excluding pulldowns etc) is including warm up:
Day 1
low pulley row 5 sets x 40 total reps
chest supported row 5 sets x 40 total reps
face pull 4 sets 44 total reps
band pull-apart 2sets 15 reps Not sure if these last two ‘count’

Day 2
low pulley row 7 sets x 52 total reps reps (last 4 sets are drop sets if counted would add 24reps and 4 sets)
Chest supported row 4 sets total 32 reps
face pull 4 sets 44 total reps
band pull-apart 2sets 15 reps
excluding the face pulls & pull aparts,
total sets = 27 total reps =164 (not counting the drop sets or reps)

Sets is lower, reps higher, intensity lower.

Anyone care to comment?

Remember, you have all week to get the back stuff in. You don’t have to do it all in 2 sessions.

You can do heavy, low rep rows on lower body days.

Then, chest supported rows and dumbbell rows and slightly easier stuff like upright rows, facepulls and rear delt stuff on upper body days. Use higher reps, like 20 per set for face pulls.

Band pull aparts are perfect for “extra workouts” on off days. Once or twice a week you can sneak in 5 minutes to do some band pull aparts and band tricep Pushdowns.

Scientifically, you’re supposed to wait 72 hours between “intense sessions,” like your 4 main workouts. But you can squeeze in little extra mini workouts more often.

There is also sled dragging. Walk backwards, pull the straps of the sled tight, then row. Step back, repeat. If you go 40 yards, you’ll get 60 Rows in. Repeat that 8-10 times, and you get lots of volume in.

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Thanks, I’m not struggling to get the work in just wondering if it is enough to balance push and pull.
I’m not Deadlifting or Squatting at the moment so those days are my 'back days 1 & 2’
Day 1 is a ‘heavy’ day Day 2 is light.
Do face pulls / pull aparts count as ‘anti-push’? what about drop sets?

My opinion:
Pull aparts don’t count. They are for bonus, away from the weights, extra work.

Facepulls are like the minimum “row” work you should do on upper body days, almost like a warmup. So no, they don’t really count either.

Drop sets are cool to get more reps in.

Geting away from programs and theoretical stuff for awhile;
Your back looks pretty thick. Your traps especially are huge! You didn’t build that back with 40 reps of cable rows, twice a week. You’re already pretty awesome at back training. Whatever you did for your traps, do that systematically for your lats. Then rear delts. Then mid back. Then traps again. Then lats again.

You’ll be bigger than a lorry in no time, won’t you?

Yeah the traps came from deadlift and shrugs. Photo is only a couple of years old though, hides my belly too!
I’m currently 125kg body weight and trying to get some decent training going. I’ve had a few health issues (heart: AF) and haven’t been able to train hard consistently; so I’m easing myself into it as I get severe tiredness if I do too much. At my age I know I wont grow much, and my emphasis has always been more strength oriented any way. I wasn’t training traps (shrugs) directly when that pic was taken (by my son) not for several years…

I was notified that @Chris_Colucci had responded to this thread but it seems to have gone?

That’s weird. I didn’t post anything, but since I’m here. :wink:

Balancing shoulder health generally refers to relative push/pull volume and, to a lesser extent, intensity. 2:1 pull to push is the most common guideline, some coaches suggest up to 3:1 but I’d say that’s on the high end for sure and more appropriate if you have legit/significant pre-existing shoulder issues.

One way to bump up the “pull” work and address shoulder/lower trap/upper back stabilizers would be to throw in 2-4 sets of LYTPs superset with your warm-up bench sets (not the heavier working sets) once or twice a week. 10-15 reps per set, starting with 2.5 pounds will be plenty to start.

4 movements, 10 reps each gives you 40 reps. Twice through the circuit means 80 reps of upper back health insurance, all for the low, low cost of a minute or two between benching. (Take your time with each rep, don’t rush them or start swinging)

That’s really helpful, thanks Chris :slight_smile: