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  1. #1
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    Switching routine due to shoulder pain...... Still expect growth?

    Well I hate to say this, but I've gotten to the day where I believe it's time where I feel like I'm going to have to make some big changes to my routine. The last 15 months I spent training mostly compound movements and improving my strength. I've trained mostly weighted dips, pull ups, bench, squats, and deadlifts over this time period. I used more of a strength model mixed with a bit of hypertrophy, training a ton of strength sets with a few hypertrophy sets thrown in at the end.

    My numbers have doubled on almost all lifts with my bench sky rocketing from 155 to 320 lbs. However, even using correct form, elbows tucked, and all I'm starting to experience pain in my shoulders when benching over the 315 range. Bear in mind I'm only 174 lbs. I believe the pain was mostly due to too much heavy training as I've trained in the low rep, high weight rep range for about 90% of my training.

    I was originally planning to body build anyway, however my goal was to build a nice strength base before moving to body building. I did exactly that with a a 315 bench, 395 deadlift, 400 squat, + 110 lb pull up, + 120 lb dip.

    Now I wanted to get the opinion from some of here who have made the switch from heavy lifting to body building. I grew a ton by lifting heavy weekly and using progressive overload every week. Should I expect another round of growth by switching to body building?

    I'm planning to keep Deadlifts and Squats in my routine, just adding a lot more high volume isolation excercises in for the legs.

    For pressing, I'm debating on switching to Weighted Push Ups, Weighted Dips (hypertrophy range), higher volumes of flat / incline dumbell presses, DB OHP, and etc. I feel like my body has adapted to having to lift heavy weight from week to week, but I really feel like I'm lacking on the volume intensity department.

    There's not a lot to answer here, but I'd like to here someones personal input from someone that's switched from heavy, low rep sets to high rep 70-85% rm sets?
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    Shoulder pain crew here...

    You made it a lot further than me, so it may be less helpful.

    But, I started with a torn rotator cuff, which I've managed to rehab and make appreciable gains with

    Shoulder dislocates
    Facepulls helped. Every day.
    Bringing up back strength vs the chest helped.
    I use resistance bands for YTWAs in my warmup and internal/ external rotations. Helps make my shoulder feel more stable and warmed up.
    I've also stopped adding weight to presses (for now) and managed to make progress adding reps instead, without additional stress to the shoulder. I think that's what you mean by bodybuilding. I'm now in the 8-12 range instead of 1-5

    Your tendons and such can't grow as fast as your muscles, so you might well have pushed them too far. Spending since time where it doesn't hurt might give it time to catch up
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    Registered User WeightedDip's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WakingOp View Post
    Shoulder pain crew here...

    You made it a lot further than me, so it may be less helpful.

    But, I started with a torn rotator cuff, which I've managed to rehab and make appreciable gains with

    Shoulder dislocates
    Facepulls helped. Every day.
    Bringing up back strength vs the chest helped.
    I use resistance bands for YTWAs in my warmup and internal/ external rotations. Helps make my shoulder feel more stable and warmed up.
    I've also stopped adding weight to presses (for now) and managed to make progress adding reps instead, without additional stress to the shoulder. I think that's what you mean by bodybuilding. I'm now in the 8-12 range instead of 1-5

    Your tendons and such can't grow as fast as your muscles, so you might well have pushed them too far. Spending since time where it doesn't hurt might give it time to catch up
    Glad to hear you were still able to progress and make appreciable gains afterwards. So it sounds like you went the same route that I'm planning to go and switch over to the 8-12 range. Hopefully you able to rehab your shoulder back to normal and I'm glad I caught on to mine before I took it to the point of causing some serious damage. Mines been hurting after heavy sessions for the past two weeks or so, but I feel like it will go away solid week of rest as it's probably strained or inflamed. I know you said you don't add weight to pushing anymore, but I'm hoping I can at least go back to weighted push ups and increase my reps, but I'm going to play it by ear and give it a good week of rest from pushing to see how it feels.

    Also, it's weird, I used face pulls for an entire year and never had issues with shoulders and I actually took a break from face pulls for a while and then my shoulder started hurting. I'm defiantly going to put them back in my pulling routine though. Good info and appreciate the help.
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    Well, I've stopped adding weight for now. I don't plan to never increase the weight.

    I also started with a torn rotator cuff that I'm rehabbing as I go. I'm fine with slowing my gains if that's what it takes to keep it happy. Hopefully in time it'll heal.



    Definitely let it rest, but don't go and completely stop using it. Just do whatever doesn't hurt.
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    If you can go to a physical therapist and have them determine the problem, you should. If not, look up videos on YouTube for figuring out shoulder pain. Basically you'll be raising your arm up and depending where the pain starts indicates what the problem is. When I was younger I did really stupid heavy weighted dips and had shoulder pain. I ignored it and just kept going. Took a while, but it finally got to the point I'd wake up in the middle of the night (when it is colder) from the pain and I had to stop working out completely. Finally got an MRI done, tendon/ligament (I forget) in my shoulder was completely torn. It probably started off as just an impingement and you can heal that without surgery. Once you get a tear, surgery is the only option.

    You should not do stuff that gives you pain. There is lots of videos on YT that you can do to correct this so long as you don't have a tear or better yet go to a PT. If you insist on doing weighted dips that are challenging, adjust the height of the dip bar if you can or place a stool/step under the bar so when you go down on the dip, the added weight is resting on the stool/box and when you transition to going back up, you are not doing weighted dips till the weight is off the stool/box. This is where people usually injure their shoulder on weighted dips.
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  6. #6
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    Originally Posted by Casca View Post
    If you can go to a physical therapist and have them determine the problem, you should. If not, look up videos on YouTube for figuring out shoulder pain. Basically you'll be raising your arm up and depending where the pain starts indicates what the problem is. When I was younger I did really stupid heavy weighted dips and had shoulder pain. I ignored it and just kept going. Took a while, but it finally got to the point I'd wake up in the middle of the night (when it is colder) from the pain and I had to stop working out completely. Finally got an MRI done, tendon/ligament (I forget) in my shoulder was completely torn. It probably started off as just an impingement and you can heal that without surgery. Once you get a tear, surgery is the only option.

    You should not do stuff that gives you pain. There is lots of videos on YT that you can do to correct this so long as you don't have a tear or better yet go to a PT. If you insist on doing weighted dips that are challenging, adjust the height of the dip bar if you can or place a stool/step under the bar so when you go down on the dip, the added weight is resting on the stool/box and when you transition to going back up, you are not doing weighted dips till the weight is off the stool/box. This is where people usually injure their shoulder on weighted dips.
    So I just read this but I actually did what you suggested last night. I spent a few hours trying to self diagnose it, being my work schedule isn't going to allow time off for medical and time for visits to the doctor, not to mention my insurance kind of sucks right now. I know this won't be as accurate as a processional MD, but it's all coming back to the same as above "Rotator Cuff Injury."

    The question is how bad? Mine doesn't seem near as bad as others I'm reading about. I can rotate my arm nearly any direction without pain. However, when I rotate my arms to the dip position and flex is when I start feeling pretty intense pain. I'm not interested in tearing it anymore despite me loving weighted dips. I'm in training as a life long gig, so a few months of recovery without dips isn't going to hurt me as much as if I further injure myself. However, I'm hoping it doesn't slow my progress.

    I appreciate all the help and feedback! I'm going to hit the gym after work this afternoon and see what hurts and what doesn't. I'm hoping I can switch to dumbells and cable exerciser for high reps and at least still build some mass. I'm also planning to start doing facepulls and implement some rotator cuff exercises with bands from here on out.

    My only question is, let's say I'm doing dumbell chest presses (no more inclines for a while) and I don't feel any pain in the shoulder, is the rotator cuff still able to recover and heal while doing these presses despite not having any pain from the movement? I feel that being that I'm not in pain when moving it, only when flexing in a certain position that it could be a light injury or even just a strain. Hopefully it would only be a few weeks of recovery, and I wouldn't want to further aggravate it. So in short, as long as I'm doing a movement that's not hurting it, it's still able to recover?
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    The best thing to do for shoulder health (that worked for me) was adding more horizontal rowing in my workouts and doing 100 high to low band pull aparts on my rest days with my hands palm up.

    Too many times, people do too many exercises dominated by internal rotation (1 little muscle on the rotator cuff)
    and neglect the 3 rotator cuff muscles responsible for external rotation. More back work, and high rep upper back work worked wonders. Took about 3 weeks for me to get back to benching without pain and improved shoulder mobility to boot.
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    Originally Posted by BeginnerGainz View Post
    The best thing to do for shoulder health (that worked for me) was adding more horizontal rowing in my workouts and doing 100 high to low band pull aparts on my rest days with my hands palm up.

    Too many times, people do too many exercises dominated by internal rotation (1 little muscle on the rotator cuff)
    and neglect the 3 rotator cuff muscles responsible for external rotation. More back work, and high rep upper back work worked wonders. Took about 3 weeks for me to get back to benching without pain and improved shoulder mobility to boot.
    In addition to this, serratus aterior is another part in the shouldr health equation. So proper pushups with scapula protraction are good(if they are painless ofc), also some other serratus activation exercises/drills.
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    Registered User WeightedDip's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by HeMB View Post
    In addition to this, serratus aterior is another part in the shouldr health equation. So proper pushups with scapula protraction are good(if they are painless ofc), also some other serratus activation exercises/drills.
    I beat you to this one. I've already re-programmed and will no longer be benching and have already added push ups to the list due to the stable scapula, anterior, and serratus benefits. With that said, I'm really hoping I can dip weighted heavy one day in the future, but I'm most certainly not doing both dips and bench. I feel like doing both was too much and not healthy for the rotator so I'm going to stick to one or the other (bench or weighted dips) if I get that opportunity again. And my choice is bench due to core activation and being more of a function-able movement involving stabilizers. Also, if I do recover I will no longer be doing 1rm on dips. Instead, if I recover I'd be sticking to the 3-5rm to build strength and then the hypertrophy range.
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    Originally Posted by HeMB View Post
    In addition to this, serratus aterior is another part in the shouldr health equation. So proper pushups with scapula protraction are good(if they are painless ofc), also some other serratus activation exercises/drills.
    Also, this.
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    Originally Posted by WeightedDip View Post
    I beat you to this one. I've already re-programmed and will no longer be benching and have already added push ups to the list due to the stable scapula, anterior, and serratus benefits. With that said, I'm really hoping I can dip weighted heavy one day in the future, but I'm most certainly not doing both dips and bench. I feel like doing both was too much and not healthy for the rotator so I'm going to stick to one or the other (bench or weighted dips) if I get that opportunity again. And my choice is bench due to core activation and being more of a function-able movement involving stabilizers. Also, if I do recover I will no longer be doing 1rm on dips. Instead, if I recover I'd be sticking to the 3-5rm to build strength and then the hypertrophy range.
    Definitely try to stick with the 3-5rm instead of maxing out. A lot of guys in my gym try to max out all the time and wonder why they aren’t getting stronger/bigger/leaner. Meanwhile my 5rm is usually there 1rm and I never go past 90%. There is just no point in going past that in a gym setting IMO, other that the ego trip
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    Originally Posted by BeginnerGainz View Post
    Definitely try to stick with the 3-5rm instead of maxing out. A lot of guys in my gym try to max out all the time and wonder why they aren’t getting stronger/bigger/leaner. Meanwhile my 5rm is usually there 1rm and I never go past 90%. There is just no point in going past that in a gym setting IMO, other that the ego trip
    I meant in my paragraph that I'm hoping I can use dips in the future due to their core activity also. I accidentally put bench instead.

    But I will mention this, I will be sticking to the 3-5 rep range from here on out, especially to my shoulder heals. However, I'm going to say this. I did a West Side Barbell style for a long time. Mostly many sets of 2 and 3 reps and experienced tremendous amounts of strength gain. However, I don't think I can do that anymore with my shoulder issue.

    I did want to run something interesting by both of you relating to your shoulder problems? Have either of you tried Vitamin D for a rotator cuff injury? I'm not expecting a whole lot from it, but I grabbed a bottle from Walmart after reading this article relating to Vitamin D and the rotator cuff.

    " The purpose of this article is to critically review relevant published research that relates to the effect of vitamin D on rotator cuff tears and subsequent healing. A review of the literature was conducted to identify all studies that investigate the relationship between vitamin D and tendon healing, in addition to its mechanism of action. The data were then analyzed in order to summarize what is currently known about vitamin D, rotator cuff pathology, and tendon-to-bone healing. The activated metabolite of vitamin D, 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, affects osteoblast proliferation and differentiation. Likewise, vitamin D plays a significant role in the tendon-to-bone healing process by increasing the bone mineral density and strengthening the skeletal muscles. The 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 binds to vitamin D receptors on myocytes to stimulate growth and proliferation. The form of vitamin D produced by the liver, calcifediol, is a key initiator of the myocyte healing process by moving phosphate into myocytes, which improves function and metabolism."

    Also, thought I'd update. I gym'd today for the first time. And great news is, I was able to DB press, hit arms biceps and triceps (keeping shoulders out of the movement), back, and legs all today without pain. I wasn't following any particular routine today, more or less just seeing what I could do without pain. Luckily, it looks like I'm still going to be able to work around the shoulder without pain so I can give it a few weeks before I attempt any dips. I also started doing my band excercises for the shoulder today.
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    Originally Posted by WeightedDip View Post
    I meant in my paragraph that I'm hoping I can use dips in the future due to their core activity also. I accidentally put bench instead.

    But I will mention this, I will be sticking to the 3-5 rep range from here on out, especially to my shoulder heals. However, I'm going to say this. I did a West Side Barbell style for a long time. Mostly many sets of 2 and 3 reps and experienced tremendous amounts of strength gain. However, I don't think I can do that anymore with my shoulder issue.

    I did want to run something interesting by both of you relating to your shoulder problems? Have either of you tried Vitamin D for a rotator cuff injury? I'm not expecting a whole lot from it, but I grabbed a bottle from Walmart after reading this article relating to Vitamin D and the rotator cuff.

    " The purpose of this article is to critically review relevant published research that relates to the effect of vitamin D on rotator cuff tears and subsequent healing. A review of the literature was conducted to identify all studies that investigate the relationship between vitamin D and tendon healing, in addition to its mechanism of action. The data were then analyzed in order to summarize what is currently known about vitamin D, rotator cuff pathology, and tendon-to-bone healing. The activated metabolite of vitamin D, 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, affects osteoblast proliferation and differentiation. Likewise, vitamin D plays a significant role in the tendon-to-bone healing process by increasing the bone mineral density and strengthening the skeletal muscles. The 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 binds to vitamin D receptors on myocytes to stimulate growth and proliferation. The form of vitamin D produced by the liver, calcifediol, is a key initiator of the myocyte healing process by moving phosphate into myocytes, which improves function and metabolism."

    Also, thought I'd update. I gym'd today for the first time. And great news is, I was able to DB press, hit arms biceps and triceps (keeping shoulders out of the movement), back, and legs all today without pain. I wasn't following any particular routine today, more or less just seeing what I could do without pain. Luckily, it looks like I'm still going to be able to work around the shoulder without pain so I can give it a few weeks before I attempt any dips. I also started doing my band excercises for the shoulder today.
    D3 is a pretty well known supplement for lifters, I don’t use it (or any supplements other than protein powder) personally, so I can’t speak for its effectiveness but the literature behind it is strong. The best think for recovery is sleep and food. Learn to love your rest days, use them to stretch and do band pull aparts. We don’t get stronger in the gym, it’s everything we do after.
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    Originally Posted by BeginnerGainz View Post
    D3 is a pretty well known supplement for lifters, I don’t use it (or any supplements other than protein powder) personally, so I can’t speak for its effectiveness but the literature behind it is strong. The best think for recovery is sleep and food. Learn to love your rest days, use them to stretch and do band pull aparts. We don’t get stronger in the gym, it’s everything we do after.
    That's when I know you got experience when you talk about life after the gym. x2^^^ on what you said. The only thing I differ on is I'm a firm believer in some supplements. Especially Herbs. Working manual labor there's some days I wouldn't have been able to make it through a 12 hour shift and still hit the gym if it weren't for some of my supplements line Ginseng. Not to mention, there's some supplements I've put weeks and even months of research into that I've tested on and off and I get better performance with them. With that said, I don't know if this is placebo or what, but call it weird. I took Vitamin D3 last night and this morning. My shoulder felt GREAT today and also all of my elbow pain or elbow joints seem to have quit hurting! So much, that I did weighted dips again today!!!

    I took it slow and only did 2.5 plates and eased on them with only two sets of 4 because I don't want to aggravate it. But it's weird, usually I have joint pain after dips, and my elbows and shoulder still feels great. I'm going to take it easy on them, but it looks like I'm going to bounce back!
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    BeginnerGainz is offline
    Originally Posted by WeightedDip View Post
    That's when I know you got experience when you talk about life after the gym. x2^^^ on what you said. The only thing I differ on is I'm a firm believer in some supplements. Especially Herbs. Working manual labor there's some days I wouldn't have been able to make it through a 12 hour shift and still hit the gym if it weren't for some of my supplements line Ginseng. Not to mention, there's some supplements I've put weeks and even months of research into that I've tested on and off and I get better performance with them. With that said, I don't know if this is placebo or what, but call it weird. I took Vitamin D3 last night and this morning. My shoulder felt GREAT today and also all of my elbow pain or elbow joints seem to have quit hurting! So much, that I did weighted dips again today!!!

    I took it slow and only did 2.5 plates and eased on them with only two sets of 4 because I don't want to aggravate it. But it's weird, usually I have joint pain after dips, and my elbows and shoulder still feels great. I'm going to take it easy on them, but it looks like I'm going to bounce back!
    Congratulations on the pain free workout! It is a great feeling, here is to many more.

    I know what you mean. I’m a truck driver who has done it all, food service, soda now beer. All of which is labor intensive to say the least. Unfortunately I’m not where I wanna be strength wise because it cuts into my recovery.

    But I’ve only been working out about 8 months now, at least seriously. I just do my best to study the human body, learn from people who have been there and most importantly finding out what works for me. A small local gym opened up near me with squat racks and barbells and I was hooked.

    When it comes to supplements, I’ve tried creatine, pre workouts, HMB, BCAAs, muscle builders. In the end I stuck with what works for me, protein powder for breakfast and after gym, BCAA drink intra-workout (because plain water is boring). I’ve been working on getting my diet in check for my nutritional needs, also I’m tired of Carrying around excess body fat.
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