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  1. #1
    Registered User PiperBill's Avatar
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    Shoulder injury after bench press

    This is my first post, though I have been lurking for some time. I think I have seriously injured my right shoulder. I have been lifting weights off and on for 20 years but at the age of 55 I decided to get serious about it. Iím 56 now. I train every day but Sunday, with weights and cardio on alternate days. Have been training bench with a goal of 100kg. My max was 90kg until yesterday. I was going for 95kg after a good warm up. My son was assisting. He also trains weights and makes sure I have good form. I lowered the bar and then on the push up I felt something give or tear in my right shoulder and a searing pain. I cannot lift my right arm at all now. I can move my forearm at the elbow but canít get my hand higher than my chin. I have a doctorís appointment later today. The pain is less intense today but there is no way I can lift my arm.

    I will be looking for advice on the best way to recover. What chest exercises I can do that donít stress my injured shoulder. As far as I know there is no real substitute for bench press. In the mean time I can train cardio and legs, back, abs.


    Iím thinking the worst.. That my upper body weight training days are over.


    Cheers

    Bill
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  2. #2
    Betsy & Freya's DAD Robin13's Avatar
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    Keep positive it maybe just rest you need ! Do you think it's your delt or rotator cuff? Good luck....
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    Registered User boilerbreaker's Avatar
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    I did the exact same thing a few years ago. Felt something go in my left shoulder. Couldn't raise my arm and even hurt to sleep. MRI showed no tears. Did the whole rehab thing and was pissed it happened.

    Took 4 ever to get better because I wanted to keep lifting and probably never let it heal.

    My advice is let it heal fully and hopefully you have no tears. Good luck.
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    Registered User Bulldog2525's Avatar
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    I did the same thing back in August. I took a month or so off and it did not get better. I went to an Ortho. and they set me up for an MRI and said that it was very likely a rotator cuff. The MRI was around the holidays and I was just too busy to get it done. Six months later it started to feel much better and I started going heavy again. If it acts up again I am going to have to get it taken care of.

    From my experience its all about rest,rest rest. Don't even use it until you know its better.
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    Registered User PiperBill's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies guys. I have an MRI tomorrow. Doctor yesterday told me it's plain and simple. If it' a cuff tear then surgery is the only real option. Talked to the physiotherapist at work today and he said the same. Rehab after surgery is very long too.

    It actually feels less painfull today and I can very slowly lift my arm more than yesterday.

    Bill
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    OP--my father in law tore his and he said it healed on it's own after a couple years. I don't believe he lifted at all with it that entire time though and I don't know if the degree of the tear (fully or partial) was the same as yours though.
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    Originally Posted by PiperBill View Post
    This is my first post, though I have been lurking for some time. I think I have seriously injured my right shoulder. I have been lifting weights off and on for 20 years but at the age of 55 I decided to get serious about it. I’m 56 now. I train every day but Sunday, with weights and cardio on alternate days. Have been training bench with a goal of 100kg. My max was 90kg until yesterday. I was going for 95kg after a good warm up. My son was assisting. He also trains weights and makes sure I have good form. I lowered the bar and then on the push up I felt something give or tear in my right shoulder and a searing pain. I cannot lift my right arm at all now. I can move my forearm at the elbow but can’t get my hand higher than my chin. I have a doctor’s appointment later today. The pain is less intense today but there is no way I can lift my arm.

    I will be looking for advice on the best way to recover. What chest exercises I can do that don’t stress my injured shoulder. As far as I know there is no real substitute for bench press. In the mean time I can train cardio and legs, back, abs.


    I’m thinking the worst.. That my upper body weight training days are over.


    Cheers

    Bill
    Be positive... I always believe thinking positively creates positive energy. You'll be back to doing what you love to do. It may take some time, but believe you'll be back and listen to the docs. You'll be fine if you allow your body to rest and recover.
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  8. #8
    Bitter Clinger EchoFour's Avatar
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    I came in here today to post a new thread on the same topic, so I'll just put it here instead.

    I'm really starting to feel a lot of stress in my shoulder joints during and after chest workouts. What can you guys recommend to strengthen the joints and try to prevent the kind of injury the OP is talking about?
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  9. #9
    Registered User PiperBill's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by EchoFour View Post
    . What can you guys recommend to strengthen the joints and try to prevent the kind of injury the OP is talking about?
    There are a lot of good vids on rotor cuff excersises on Youtube but there is a debate as to how effective they are at reducing the risk of a tear. Specially as you get older.

    In my case I was going for my one rep max of 95kg and I probably instinctively flared my elbows out as I was reaching failure. BIG MISTAKE! Keep your elbows tucked in at about 45 degrees.

    Bill
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    Banned Phattso's Avatar
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    PiperBill, what are your goals? Do you want to bodybuild or powerlift? If you are interested in building your body, then "maxing out" is not necessary and there is higher risk for injury.

    If you are weightlifting for powerlifting or for your ego, then maxing out is part of the program.
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    Registered User PiperBill's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Phattso View Post
    PiperBill, what are your goals? Do you want to bodybuild or powerlift? If you are interested in building your body, then "maxing out" is not necessary and there is higher risk for injury.

    If you are weightlifting for powerlifting or for your ego, then maxing out is part of the program.
    My goals were to be a strong as I could be. Also my mental health is better when I lift. It's also a bit of a competition with my 24 year old son who also lifts. My goals will certainly change now though as maxing out will probably scare the crap out of me :-)

    Bill
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    Registered User Bulldog2525's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by PiperBill View Post
    My goals were to be a strong as I could be. Also my mental health is better when I lift. It's also a bit of a competition with my 24 year old son who also lifts. My goals will certainly change now though as maxing out will probably scare the crap out of me :-)

    Bill
    I have had it so bad that I can not lift a gallon of milk. I guess until I get the MRI done I won't know hoe bad it really is. Let us know your MRI results.
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  13. #13
    Registered User PiperBill's Avatar
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    To my surprise I found I can lift my arm today. Very carefully and slowly but without much pain. Just off to the MRI now but I wont get results from it for another week or so. That horrible tearing sound must have been something, but feeling more optimistic today.

    Surgery will not only kill my progress at lifting but 3 to 6 months off work. A whole summer season of fishing, boating and swimming gone. (Summer can be measured in days here in Norway) I just dont want it and if physio alone can fix it I will certainly go that way.

    Thanks to all for your insight so far. Much appreciated.

    Bill
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    Registered User Bulldog2525's Avatar
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    Good luck. If its the same issue I have it will feel better in days and you will get better range of motion with less pain. But as soon as you do any thing overhead with weight it will still hurt, even go back to hurting as bad as it did when you first injured it..
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    Registered User PiperBill's Avatar
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    Had to travel to Australia for a family member funeral so I have been offline for a while. I got the results of the MRI yesterday. It's a partial tear of the supraspinaltuss with a retraction of the muscle on the tear side. Not good! I have been refered to an orthopedic doctor so I guess surgery is the only option now. I can use my arm with some degree of imobility and moderate pain but will not be lifting any time soon. Total bummer!

    Bill
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    PiperBill,
    You've done the right thing by seeking the advice of a medical professional.
    We here can only speculate.
    There is scientific evidence that working the uninjured side can have a positive effect on the injured side.
    So one arm DB movements on your good side could be a positive thing.
    Also if cleared by your Doc very light DB work for higher reps could be helpful.
    Good luck to you.
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  17. #17
    Registered User PiperBill's Avatar
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    It's been 7 months since I tore a rotator cuff in my right shoulder while going for a 1 rep max on the bench. Just thought I would update this in case anyone else finds themselves in a similar situation. In the weeks after it happended everything looked black for me. I thought I would never train weights again. I could not lift my right arm more than 10 inches in front of me at all. But here I am 7 months on and things are on the up and up.

    I was advised to take surgery to repair the partial tear where the rotor cuff tendon connects to the humus. I wanted to try physio for a few months first to see if it would heel on it's own and the doctor reluctnatly agreed.

    2 months after the injury I started doing very light rotator cuff excersises and having electro treatment for the pain. I have been pushing the envelope all the way, though very carefully, and now I am back at the gym 5 days a week.

    I am not doing max lifts that involve shoulders anymore and still have not dared to try bench presses, but I will do so soon enough. All in good time. I am working at about 70 - 80% of my maxumim and doing 5 sets on each excersise.

    Focus has shifted more towards abs and legs which I can work a hard as I can. Making great gains there. Thats not to say I have negleted upper body at all though and I have put on some lean muscle there too.

    So... No matter how hopeless an injury may appear when it first happens, there is allways a way to come back. Change a few things. Work more effectivley. Get expert help. The most important thing is time.

    Cheers

    Bill
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    Registered User Mike Spitzer's Avatar
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    Bill
    As you have no doubt heard before - straight bar motions can be extra risky for all of us over age 45+
    They always place extra stress on joints even when young -- but our youth kind of protects us from the bad biomechanics when younger.

    That is why on straight barbell curls you will see most older guys with any size have the hands tilited with no ringer finger or pinky on the bar to keep hands in natural position

    On chest exercises - more dumbbells and less barbells

    Curved bars on triceps pressdowns

    Shoulder presses with dumbbells, etc...etc...

    Bottom line --- whatever movement keeps the joints in the natural orientation and range of motions and does not force the joints (shoulders, elbows, wrists) to be twisted into an unnatural stressed position
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  19. #19
    Registered User PiperBill's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Mike Spitzer View Post
    Bill
    As you have no doubt heard before - straight bar motions can be extra risky for all of us over age 45+
    I am probably wrong but I was thinking quite the opposite. I have been using machines for shoulders and chest and only the last few weeks have I started using DBs. I was thinking.. and felt.. that with free weights vs machines I was putting less strain on my rotator cuffs by using machines. Not having them work so hard to stabalize a free weight. Ie DB.

    Havig said that I have noticed less pain after training since including free weights. Maybe I need to rethink this.

    Bill
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    Registered User Mike Spitzer's Avatar
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    Bill

    Machines are a whole different variable
    I was only referring to free weights in the original response.

    Yes, machines CAN be helpful for working around injury and pain issues (and stability issues) assuming the mechanics of the machine do not create other problems

    Some machines are great -- others are horrible --- some work fine for "average " sized people but are not sized for larger people --- some lock you into a strict range of motion that may not be right for your body mechanics

    So machines are a trial and error basis to see what works good and what needs to be avoided.
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  21. #21
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    Good points Mike. Many thanks :-)

    Bill
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    I cannot do any type of chest/shoulder pressing motion in machines because of the strain they put on my shoulders. The path the arms travel doesn't feel natural to me.

    Glad to hear things are looking up for you.
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    rest & go light on that that shoulder,

    in the meantime work those twigs and core


    heal fast
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    I did the same thing a few years ago. I had to lay off the bench press and shoulder presses for about three months because of the pain and discomfort. I had to start light with DB's, dips and cables and more cardio helped me stay in shape and not lose too much.
    If you're feeling any discomfort or pain...lay off of the movement and find something else that's not causing stress on the injury.
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  25. #25
    Registered User BB12s's Avatar
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    You may also want to meet with a Kinesiology and he/she should be able to pinpoint the issue.
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    NEVER work at failure is also a good rule, and if you want to know your rm just do sometimes a 10 repetitions serie at failure and divide by 0.8 the weight for having your 1rm.
    big injuries on 1rm happen frequently. almost you should do more light series, in powerlifint a good quote is 1 or 2 heavy weight at 10rm and 4 light series by week.
    almost you should use more isolate exercice , working on pulley is excellent, don't do chin up but pulley with arm strech.
    you also can working without weight just doing the mouvement and contract your muscle as strong as you can with a goor expiration , it's work very well.
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    Originally Posted by PiperBill View Post
    This is my first post, though I have been lurking for some time. I think I have seriously injured my right shoulder. I have been lifting weights off and on for 20 years but at the age of 55 I decided to get serious about it. I’m 56 now. I train every day but Sunday, with weights and cardio on alternate days. Have been training bench with a goal of 100kg. My max was 90kg until yesterday. I was going for 95kg after a good warm up. My son was assisting. He also trains weights and makes sure I have good form. I lowered the bar and then on the push up I felt something give or tear in my right shoulder and a searing pain. I cannot lift my right arm at all now. I can move my forearm at the elbow but can’t get my hand higher than my chin. I have a doctor’s appointment later today. The pain is less intense today but there is no way I can lift my arm.

    I will be looking for advice on the best way to recover. What chest exercises I can do that don’t stress my injured shoulder. As far as I know there is no real substitute for bench press. In the mean time I can train cardio and legs, back, abs.


    I’m thinking the worst.. That my upper body weight training days are over.


    Cheers

    Bill
    I've had shoulder issues over the years when I was a heavy bencher. Bench and overhead press put a lot of compression force/stress on the ball & socket, and you probaby damaged some soft joint tissue that may now be in the form of debris within the joint causing pain. It will just take time to work through this, purge the debris, properly realign the ball and strengthen the surrounding structural fibers. I am strictly bodyweight regiment now, having come to a revelation a few years ago that lifting heavy weights wasn't necessary to achieve my goals, and actually counter-productive due to the risks and unnatural movements involved. I now do mostly bodyweight moves where you can work the same and more muscle groups to the same or better effect. To restore your shoulder, you might want to find a pool and do swimming with swim mitts for extra resistence. Once strength is regained and pain is gone, go to bodyweight exercises like high bar hangs (I do a lot of one arm hangs for shoulder strength) and from the dip position using rings. Need to work through all the cracks and pops and slight pain areas to regain full mobility (expect a little pain doing this). My youtube channel has videos that may give you some more ideas. I would nip in the bud on talk about surgery, which may make your current temporary handicap a permanent one.
    Google "61 Custom Rebuild" for how I do it.
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