Long time reader first time poster. Sorry in advance for the long post.
I am mid-20’s, 5’11", weight is currently an unimpressive mid 180’s. Training history is 14 years of wrestling training, started wrestling at the age of 10 and wrestled through college(only D III, but nevertheless the wear and tear on shoulders was notable). My first introduction to lifting was through my own messing around and what little I picked up through muscle and fiction in my early teens, lifted heavily in the “off-season” each year using the typical bodybuilding splits until I was introduced to westside as part of team training spring of my sophomore year of college. Fell in love with it, and continued to push a westside split following purchasing my own set of bands until the next season.
Spring/Summer of Junior year tried 5/3/1, and also had some great gains(relative to my lanky/skinny standards, my lifetime gym lift PR’s are a measly 275 bench, 385 squat, and 450 DL).
I first injured my left shoulder, SLAP tear, fall of my senior year. Decided to wrestle on it, finished the season, though by the end my left arm was quite useless, and had it repaired April 2010. Had rotator cuff and labral repair requiring 7 anchors. Surgeon was highly skilled, does work for the olympic swim team, and repair held up very well. Following completion of undergrad, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to continue studying for two years in a foreign country, affording me the schedule/flexibility that really only exists for a student.
As soon as I got the go-ahead I returned to the gym hard. While it took time to really get back after things, I felt confident in the repair the surgeon did, and started pursuing strength training again with serious intensity. This manifested itself in 4 months or so of 5/3/1 following the 6 months of rehab, a transition back to westside for about a year, and then a foray into sheiko(after being thoroughly inspired by ben rice and others), running #29 and then #37 for ~6 months.
Sheiko was, quite simply the most fun I have ever had in training. I returned to the states 4 months through my Sheiko experience, and continued pushing it hard for another two months. As things progressed, I began experiencing notable looseness/pain in my right shoulder(which I believe I actually injured back in my senior year wrestling with a bum left arm). Being young/stupid, I ignored it back when I first felt any looseness and felt I could train around it.
Continuing on to fall of 2012, I had to transition away from the beloved Sheiko to a more conservative 5/3/1 with what I felt to be a conservative exercise selection. My shoulder continued to hurt/bother me following training until Dec. where it most often than not it bothered me. In a last ditch attempt to avoid surgery, I embarked on a seated cable row extravaganza, performing 100 at 100-140 lbs. every day. After about a month of this rowing happiness, along with pull aparts and rotator cuff exercises, I had regained sufficient stability to bench, dip, and shoulder press pain free. Then one day, towards the end of a great workout, I decided to throw in some seated DB power cleans to continue to strengthen my right rotator cuff, wind up reinjuring my left shoulder, being unable to use it for almost 2 months afterwards.
I can now use it for some movements but most things still bother it. This was late Jan. 2013. Fast forward 3 months and I have seen a number of docs, had an MRI arthrogram on my left(confirmed labral tear, bottom of the labrum), and am scheduled for an MRI arthrogram on the right and surgery on one of them this Thursday.
Sorry for the long run-up, but here are my questions.
What are your experiences with shoulder surgeries(esp. if you have had more than one)?
For the older guys who have had shoulder surgery, what has been your experience in continuing lifting and living life? Barring any miracles, I am anticipating having had 3 shoulder surgeries by the age of 26, which is certainly not a great track record.
For those of you that have had both done, possibly multiple times, how did you go about programming training following your repairs? I am at the point right now where my arms are useless for anything more than moving a chair or foldable table, and has been a bit of a shock psychologically to say the least.
The mental conflicts that I have been unable to answer for myself so far are weighing the importance of lifting in my life with the importance of having functioning arms later in life. Lifting has been incredibly important to me as a means of grounding myself, relieving stress, as well as being a source of self confidence. While somewhat cliche, I believe most on this site can relate to the notion of having lifting be a part of your identity rather than just an activity you use to fill your free time. It certainly is a part of my identity, and I am wondering whether or not I will have to change that to a large degree moving forward.
While it is just about blasphemy to write the above sentence on this site, I am weighing continuing lifting by T-Nation standards with the importance of family in my life. Family has always been incredibly important to me, and I look forward greatly to having a family of my own one day, and the notion of being in constant pain and living a life restricted by my body(like I do now), bothers me greatly, and is something I wish to avoid if it all possible. While potentially grandfatherly/presumptuous of me, the ability to play a pain free round of golf with my brother, son/daughter, and grandchild one day far in the future is a goal I have for myself.
So, for those of you with experience, thoughts, or advice on my current situation, please post away. Thanks.
-Mid-20’s, 15 years of wrestling/lifting wear and tear on shoulders
-Had labral/rotator cuff repair in 2010, re-tore left and believe have a tear in right as well.
-Currently unable to use either arm for much more than lifting a chair or backpack.
-Lifting is very important to me, but so is being able to function later in life.
-Looking for thoughts on programming, preventing arthritis in the future, ensuring full rehab, and generally having two arms that work and are injury free for the rest of my life.