Working Around A Shoulder Problem & Maintaining Muscle Mass
I've recently been diagnosed with a mild case of "scapular diskinesis" -- my scapula is out of whack and it's causing me issues in the right shoulder area. Specifically, it's caused an impingement situation and that impingement has created a small tear in the rotator cuff.
Both orthos have told me that this situation is not severe, but I do need to a) do 4-6 weeks of physical therapy, and b) avoid what hurts. I've also been told I don't have to shut down as long as I observe b) above.
My challenge is healing this while maintaining muscle mass on my upper body. This is difficult clearly as I've had to throw flat bench, incline bench, wide rows, weighted pullups, and weighted dips out the window. Right now, in order to avoid pain, I'm finding that my friends are narrow grip cable rows and neutral grip machine press.
The question: Any ideas or creative thoughts on how I can "work" the upper body in order to "convince my muscle to stick around?"
What I would do is use this time to try out some type of squat/deadlifting program. Your upper body will still get a ton of stimulation from doing heavy squats/deads. Do a small amount of upper body work that feels comfortable along with it.
I visited with Eric Cressey a week ago and he mentioned deadlifts. I'm still waiting for his "program" recommendations to fix this thing while maintaining mass.
I gotta say, I'm a tad afraid of deadlifts. I ruptured a lower back disc about a decade ago and everytime I try and ramp up deadlifts I end up screwing myself. I could start with light weight, use a trap bar, etc. though.
Maybe doing rack pulls instead of deadlifts so you don't have to go all the way to the floor. May have less impact on your lower back.
Exactly what I tried today.
Expirimented with low weight rack pulls and deadlifts with the trap bar. Shoulder felt surprisingly fine. Maybe I'll slowly increase this activity.
Also worked the following with success:
* Narrow grip cable rows
* Neutral grip machine press
* Left side DB presses (a desperate move to maintain some intensity)
* DB Curls
* Tri overhead presses
* Legs (Press, curls, extensions, calves)
Cable rows and machine press were low weight, but I felt that with very strict form I was able to work with some degree of intensity. Not great, but it's something.
I'm guessing leg press is not going to stimulate my upper body like deads or squats no?
It sounds to me like you have the right idea. Since pressing movements are probably going to be your biggest issue, I also recommend trying floor presses with dumbbells and barbells. Neutral grip dumbbell pressing of various kinds including the floor press, flat, incline, or whatever is also a Godsend for many people with shoulder issues. Depending on where the tear is, you may find that your shoulder more intolerant to either extension, or transverse extension. It sounds to me, based on the exercises you said hurt, that transverse extension is the problem. Therefore, an elbows tucked/closer grip position is probably going to be better for you.
Also, have you tried pushup variations? Again, probably a closer hand position with the elbows tucked would be better, but you can play with it.
The only time it's bad to feel the burn is when you're peeing...
Neutral grip dumbbell pressing of various kinds including the floor press, flat, incline, or whatever is also a Godsend for many people with shoulder issues.
Therefore, an elbows tucked/closer grip position is probably going to be better for you.
Also, have you tried pushup variations?
Yup. I'm finding that neutral grip machine press and to a lessor extent, neutral grip DB presses are ok.
Pushups a problem right now. My partial tear is in the posterior of my right shoulder. Makes pushups and dips completely off limits. I think I'm going to be doing some VERY small movements in the pushup category as part of my physical therapy. We're talking a progression where I start off the wall, then maybe angled off a table, etc. It's wierd...that movement hurts while DB presses with 65 lbs dont.
I think the rows are what's going to pull me out of this thing. The focus on bringing the scapula down and across and retraining those muscles to keep that thing in place is key. It's like I have to carve out a new groove so the scap can stay in place.