T Nation

Starting Again, Coming Back From Injury

I wasn’t sure where to post, I fit into a few categories…female, over 35…

I used to read a lot on here and did lifting, although never followed a specific programme. Anyway, I injured my shoulder, and now two operations later, and far too much time, I want to get back to it. Next month I should be ready to able to start lifting again, and I’m after advice where to begin.

I’ve lost all strength (generally through not doing anything, but particularly in my left arm), and I’ve put on body fat (which makes me sad :sadpanda: ) I’ve got a proper jelly belly now. I mean, I’m far from fat, I’m 5ft 3 and weigh 51kg, it’s just that in comparison to how I was, I’m very wobbly!! haha

I was thinking about doing Starting Strength. What does everyone think? or are there any better ideas? I want to do the usual things, lose the fat, but get stronger. I’d like to get bigger with visible muscle too.

I have a squat rack, bench and loads of weights.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I think it’s a terrible place to start for an experienced lifter whose primary goals are physique-related.

The book/program is called Starting Strength for a a reason, that being its purpose is to increase the amount of weight one is able to lift on the designated movements. It is not designed to make the user’s physique bigger and/or more aesthetically pleasing. Further, the dietary recommendations that are frequently paired with SS are frankly disastrous with respect to body composition. In my experience, ‘successful’ SS adherents do indeed end up much stronger vis a vis the ‘big three.’ They also end up much fatter than when they began.

Given your goals are physique-related, you should pick a program that is physique-related. In this regard, you will find there are many worthy candidates. All of them work (for at least a subset of the population); none of them are optimal for everyone. (Read: There is no such thing as the program for building shapely muscle.) Another excellent option is to hire an online coach and have him/her design a program for you. This option has an enormous advantage: Flexibility. That is, your coach can make adjustments on the fly to both your exercise and dietary regimens as you and s/he learn what works for you. (Hard truth: Your diet will be as important as your lifting–if not more so–in determining how successful you are in reaching your goals.) There are several experienced coaches who frequent TNation; these include @The_Mighty_Stu and @robstein. (Disclosure: I am not a trainer, and have no financial relationship with any trainer on this site or elsewhere, other than that of a client paying full freight.)


I have had both my shoulders worked on over the years…what did you do exactly that required two surgeries in the same shoulder?

Regardless what ever you decided to use … i would strongly suggest you focus heavily on some of Prehab work for your shoulders in your program. Do you have any restrictions established on the shoulder in question?

OK, thanks. I just remembered that people seemed to rave it about it before. I’m not sure I’d call myself an experienced lifter! but I get your point, I don’t want loads and loads of mass. I would like to be physically stronger though.
I’ll do a bit of research at what else is out there.

I had a SLAP repair. I tore the labrum when I dropped a weight doing dumbbell flies. I had that fixed, it took ages to repair and then I started getting pain again. Went back and the (different) consultant decided I needed a bicep tenodesis. I think that was a bit of a guess though and I’m not convinced!! He did it anyway, and said he also found that the original suture was loose so he tightened that. He said it looks like I dislocated the shoulder at some point, although I thought that would have been something I’d notice! haha.

I’m still under physio and am doing resistance band exercises. I see my consultant again in a month to get discharged (unless something is wrong). When I asked about the sort of things I can do from then on (ie weightlighting) he said I can do whatever I want.

My last trip under the knife a few years ago was for a torn Labrum also… I would heavily suggest prehab work . Focusing on the posterior chain of the upper back along with mobility work for your shoulders.

Are you as good as new now then?
Do you have any links? I’m not sure where to start

yes and no… I did lose a few degree of external rotation in that shoulder. It took me about 9 month post op to regain most of the strength and size I had lost from the original injury.

keep it simple… just approach it as if your somewhat of a beginner. I would suggest if you can use some of the strengthening exercise you might have used during your rehab phase added in for a short period. Play around with your main pressing movements and see which ones that do not cause pain in the actual joint and slowly ease your way back in. Take baby steps in this process.

That sounds like good progress.

I’ve googled some prehab exercises and think I’ve got the type of thing. I see my physio next week and will chat to her some more too. It’s all a bit lax though. The consultant literally said I can do whatever I want three months after the op (which is next week). There are still movements that hurt though, and I haven’t gone near any weights yet.

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