Mon, 27 Aug 18

Heavy Upper

My left shoulder funk from Saturday was still in effect today.  I had less external rotation on the left than the right and the left side was a little painful at end range.  I knew that if I just decided to power through it, I would be limited in strength and make the pain worse and possibly cause it to be present at rest vs. only noticing it when I got to the limit of my ER.  I might also have had to change around my training or stop because of pain.  This is stupid training and nothing positive or productive comes from it.  Instead, here is how I worked around the pain and was able to hit what is a recent (at least the last 5 years) floor press PR, if not all time.

First off, I extended my normal dynamic warmup, trying different things until I had roughly equal range of motion (both ER and IR) in both my shoulders and less to no pain.  My normal dynamic warmup for pressing includes:

*rolling out my back +/- legs depending on whether I'm doing overhead with leg drive or not
*band dislocations
*band triceps pushdowns
*band facepulls
*band front rack position stretch
*scap depression
*the world's best stretch (T-spine rotation)

This might look like a lot, but it only takes me 5-10 minutes to run through, mostly depending on whether I'm training alone or talking to people while I do it.  I did all that and my left shoulder still felt janky so here is what I added:

*standing band ER
*side lying DB ER
*down dog toe touches
*band internal rotator stretch (stretching into ER)
*active trigger point release for external rotators with acumobility ball

That last one finally let me move my left shoulder through about the same range of motion as my right arm with almost zero pain.  In fact, if I hadn't had pain to start with, I probably would have just called it tightness instead of pain.  These added exercises again might look like a lot, but it only extended my dynamic warmup by another 5 minutes or so - well worth the time and effort to get my left shoulder moving and working correctly.

While I was warming up, I decided to change my primary movement from an axle overhead to an axle floor press.  I did this to decrease the stability demands on my shoulder compared to doing an overhead movement and to decrease the stress on my shoulder joints by decreasing the range of motion compared to any type of bench press (except for board presses of course).  I also considered using my shoulder saver pad, but I went with floor press because I wanted to use the axle bar today.

Finally, even though today was a heavy upper day, I chose not to go to total failure when I was working up.  This may have been partly due to luck, as I did stall out completely on my last set as you can see when you click over to the 3rd video.  Whether by coincidence or design, not hitting failure was easier on my joints as well the rest of my body, CNS, etc.  And after I worked up today, I decreased my volume with heavier weights by not adding in 1-3 drop sets following the heavy single, although I did lengthen my warmup sets to add some of that volume back in with lighter weights.

All this turned what could have been a garbage throw away training day into a pretty productive and record setting training day.  And even though it took a while to type and read all this, I was actively thinking about it while I was warming up and it only added about 5 minutes to my total warmup time, so it ended up barely changing what I had programmed for today.

Axle Floor Press









1x320 - 1st video

1x330 - 2nd video

1x340 - 3rd video, PR

A post shared by Andy Deck (@andydeck) on

Single Arm Seated Cable Rows/Blast Strap Pushups (feet up)





I started lighter on the cable rows with my Spud Inc. pulleys since I didn't know exactly how my shoulder would feel or how they would compare to the Meadows rows I had been doing.  Long story short, I do a little more weight with the cables, but it didn't feel bad and neither did the BS pushups.

Supinated Grip Horizontal Band Pullaparts

3x20x mini band - Switched to a 3 count negative starting on the 2nd set and it lit up the back of my shoulders.

No conditioning today because I was finishing up smoking a brisket and I am planning on breaking in my TANK tomorrow afternoon.