T Nation

Weakening arm/shoulder

My dad has been doing the Body For Life thing. He has always been in pretty good shape and he is really just using it to tone up a bit. here is the problem. lately, he has been losing strength in his left shoulder. he says it really is noticable when he is doing bench presses. its like half as strong as the right side. it doesn’t really hurt, but he can’t get a “pump” out of it. it’s fine whem he does military presses. could this be a nerve problem. i need some suggestions from any body in the know. thanks guys. ( i can’t stand to see an old (51) guy down.

He probably does have a bit of a problem in there. Most likely he just needs to lay off the stretching type chest movements, keep the elbows in a little more rather then having them out on presses…bringing the bar down to the lower pecs region instead of the upper pecs on presses…eliminate incline presses, flyes, crossovers, pec deck behind the neck press, upright rows, dips or anything else that puts the shoulder in a precarious position. Along with this he should start some stretching exercises on those shoulders, grab something overhead and squat down stretching the shoulders done for 20 seconds per stretch…after a few weeks of this he shouldn’t lose any muscle and will probably be feeling fine again.

Ryan, if he really is that much weaker in the bench, but not in the military, I would suggest that there is a structural problem at work in the shoulder joint. The “capsule” that holds the shoulder in place is very frale, and it’s very likely that his upper arm has shifted frontwards slightly which changes the joint angle formed with the bar, making him weaker in the affected side. Find an ART specialist AND a massage therapist, and have them work out the tensions and help reposition the joint structure.

I would have to agree with Doug. It doesn’t sound like the problem can be fixed by just working around it, the actual problem needs to be addressed directly. Take Doug’s reccomendation and get in touch with an A.R.T. practitioner, I found it to be helpful with problems I had with my shoulder. Dr. Leahy also recommended a shoulder exercise that has really been helpful. I’m now back to benching and dips, stronger and without the discomfort. Also really have your father take a look at Ian King’s quick stretching routine, “The lazy man’s guide to stretching” it’s in issue #89. Once he gets the problem fixed he (& all of us really) should take this simple precaution to prevent injury, I actually feel a good strecthing program will improve a lot of things as well as help in prevention.

So true, nearly all of us could benefit from better stretching, this is likely the problem, as someone else said: lay off the heavy duty movements and get in a couple of weeks of good stretching and some rotator cuff movements to strengthen the deep muscles of the shoulder, they are crucial and often undeveloped.