What To Do When You’re Sidelined


I think of myself as Superwoman.  Or Wonder Woman.  I actually have two pairs of WW underwear from Target so I must indeed be wonderful.  Clearly if it’s on your underwear it must be true.

What are not wonderful are my shoulders.  I’m on shoulder “issue” number three in four years.  The first was left shoulder when I first started lifting heavy weights.  It hurt to even put my left hand on top of the steering wheel to drive.  Symptoms matched “bursitis” when I consulted with Dr. Google (yes, even doctors use Dr. Google sometimes) so I treated it with rest and NSAIDs

It took four months to resolve.  But the upside was I discovered the semi-sumo deadlift during that period.  I couldn’t even pull with my hands more than shoulder width apart, so I learned to semi-sumo pull with hands straight down.  Hallelujah! I added 75lbs to my deadlift during that period.

A few years later, which is to say earlier this year, it was my right shoulder.  Same symptoms.  Painful in some ROMs, not in others.  I’m pretty sure this one came from over-exuberant practicing of handstands.  I tend to overdo anything I”m excited about so I was spending 30 minutes per day upside down.  Cue shoulder pain.

That seemed to magically go away over several weeks when ironically my volume was high but so was my NSAID intake.  This was at camp in Asheville.  It “should” have been excruciating but it actually got better.  And since wide grip didn’t hurt, I worked a lot on my snatch and PRed at 50kg.

Then the day after a few sets of handstand push-ups the left shoulder flared again.

So what to do now.

I’m not a rester.  I’m not the type to use an injury to sit on the sidelines and yell “go team!” to everyone else on the field.

So right now it’s time to build my squat and my snatch.  Jerking is very hard on my shoulder (as are presses), so that’s all on hold.  But wide grip once again isn’t so bad so I’m going partial Bulgarian and trying to do a snatch variation and a squat every day.  There are so many great things written about doing exercises every day that I figured I ought to really try them for awhile.

I’m also doing some bodybuilding.  Yes, bodybuilding.   Like bro stuff of 3×12 for triceps and lats.  If you know me, this is a sign of the apocalypse.  I count my reps 1, 2, 3, one too many, two too many, cardio.  And I don’t do cardio.

But here I am bro-ing out, trying to put some muscle back on.  I inadvertently lost about 7lbs through working really hard running around the hospital and just not eating enough because of some stomach issues.  That was a sudden 6% drop in body weight.  Not shocking that many of my lifts were affected and not in a good way.

So why am I giving you this big rambling status update?

Mainly because I’m eager to share my journey into bro-world and squatting every day with you in the upcoming weeks.  But also because I’d like to make the larger point about not giving up.

I’m pretty aware at this point that there is something fundamentally wrong with how I move my shoulders or how my shoulders are constructed or both that lead me to recurrent injuries.  I am going to work on figuring out why and how to fix it.  I’m finally going to get over mourning the death of my massage therapist and find a good MT.

But I’m also going to squat every day because my legs are just peachy.  I’m gonna do all kinds of core and back work because my trunk is pristine.  I’m gonna keep snatching because I can and that is joyful to me.

I will not sit on the couch and eat Lenny&Larry’s cookies while I bemoan my fate.  OK, well I will eat Lenny&Larry’s cookies, but only after I lift.  It’s for recovery brah.

I can’t jerk right now.  OK.  Big girl Wonder Woman panties are on and I’m ready to make lemonade out of lemons.  Or gainz out of cookies.  Same diff.


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One Response to “What To Do When You’re Sidelined”

  1. anjuliNovember 24, 2015 at 8:47 AM #

    You and me both! I’m facing shoulder issue myself currently. Left shoulder – It hurts to lift my arm up/flex position to be more precise, sharp pain down my arm to the elbow. I also have a deep knot around my trap/scapula? Pain is also in the front deltoid for me – I finally decided to go see a Chiro on Sunday and see how things go. He, of course, asked me to stop any pulling/pushing type stuff for couple weeks and see how things go. Needless to say, I hate it. Partly, it is my fault cuz I took this long to go see someone. Denial is a bitch. Anyhow, trying to figure out things to do with just lower body without aggravating shoulder issues. Squat I think for me might not work. So thinking GHR, glute bridge, some abs stuff.

    How are you managing back stuff with shoulder being out of commission? I’d love to hear that cuz I NEED back stuff to do.

    And, you ARE wonder woman!! 🙂

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