rest day

they work you so hard at the Anvil that you might lose your arms and legs over it

If you get a chance, I just had a quick question for you regarding an ongoing shoulder problem that I've had.  I have extremely little anatomical knowledge, but from what I have read and the type/kind of pain that I get, it seems to be an issue with my biceps tendon.  Overhead presses and HSPU are the main culprits for pain, as well as supinated positions with a straight arm, and there is audible popping when put through a circular swing.

My question to you, do you know of helpful therapy exercises that I can start working on to address this?  I plan on taking at least a month off of any pressing/overhead work, but would like to be more proactive than that if possible to speed up the process.  Any input you have would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.

Most times it is not the bicep tendon that is the problem, so moving away from the OH movement will remove the pain, but not the problem. Most times when pain is less and we assess the ability of the person to retract and depress the scapula on cue, they have a problem doing this as well score poorly in the scapular assessment we do measuring the ability of the scapula to work under load in relation to the pressing movements.
This is why isolated movements are important in training and why following ONE training program is imperative, and why skipping around from here to there on training will cause problems long term. The re-occuring issues fitness athletes in those SC, GH, ST joints comes down to too much volume of pull ups and horizontal pushing movements - both causing more work on internal rotation and NOT enough work on scap retraction and external rotation humerus in numerous planes, speeds, actions. (this "plan" is not take into consideration on a haphazard regime - the person who said "no programming is bad programming" is not a professional coach, and has not coached anyone)
Fixing it is as simple as ensuring you perform technical work on all the movements that caused pain, not intense movements; focus on the scap work 2-3x/week - trap 3 work, scap retration, external rotation of humerus and accompanying this with work with a therapist who knows that lying on a bench means liftng heavy weights, not a massage.
I've had clients have this problem fixed sometimes with NUCCA, ART, graston, massage, chiro, IMS, acupuncture, etc...but ALWAYS has gotten better by removing the painful movements and focusing on the balance in the scapula and not forgetting this. These folks that are also prone to this have to ensure keeping that scapula healthy as they divulge into specific training or are in season as well.


Adam Rogers said...


Thank you for the information, as always. I will add in the assistance exercises you mentioned (scap retraction, trap 3, ext rotations), as well as light technical work, and keep you updated on progress. also will plan on keeping those movements in my regimen even once healed up to keep things balanced.

Will still try and follow this programming as best as I can, subbing where necessary.

thanks again

Derian said...

sorry for my ignorance, but would the excersises for scalpula retraction be like rows and shrugs? or am i way off base here? thanks

Steve Howell said...

From dec 5th

Muscle ups: Unbroken
1-5 minutes with 13" parallettes 30" apart.
5:30-10 minutes stack of 6" bumpers 20" apart head to the floor
Triplet: 8:40 all unbroken tried to keep a smooth pace.

Mike D said...

I had this problem for years. It was caused by a muscle imbalance between my front and back, ie. too much focus on chest exercises was pulling my rotator cuff forward. The solution involved external rotation exercises, but with a physiotherapist who put a biofeedback device over top of the critical muscles that needed to fire. It took some practice to crank up the needle on the BFD, but once I got the technique right, a problem I had had for 7 years, in which 7 different physiotherapists were unable to treat, was solved in 3 weeks. The external rotation technique is EXTREMELY important...using the BFD made all the difference, and having a physiotherapist who knew what he was doing.

Good luck

Kent said...

From yesterday
155# 2X2
175# 2X2
195# F,F
185# 2
190# F,F fu@& o##!!!

125# PC/3SJ on the minuteX10.
Needed this to calm down and work on driving with hips not arms.

T2B 10X5 UNB


Heavy Evy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heavy Evy said...

Soooooo what your saying is stick to the program, will do, and will be picking up "Human Anatomy for Dummies" to understand the rest!

In case any of you have me for the Big Dawgs Secret Santa we are doing:

Paul Smith said...

Yesterdays WOD:

A: 240#
B: 270#
C: 295# failed on both sets. Couldn't get under it today.
D: 215#
E: complete ub

Lars said...

Yesterday's wod

A. 225
B. 245
C. 255
D. 165
E. 5x10 UB

Split jerks always feel solid until I get to heavier weights, then form falls apart...frustrating. Anyway, this was a good workout to work on it.

Stephen Flamm @ CSC said...

This post is money, James, and timely for my gym. After testing close-grip bench press 1RMs last week, we are testing DB external rotations, Powell raises, and trap 3 today. The results have been eye-opening thus far...

Emilie P-B said...

Yesterday's WOD

A: 105#
B: 115#
C: 130#
D: 85#, nice and easy
E: complete ub, did 6 sets instead of 5

Lars said...

Your looking for 10 reps, with 10% of your 1RM close grip bench press right??

Julian Cruz said...

Dec 12 training:

Deadlift:215 (felt light)
200m sprint(no airdyne):26,27,27,29,29

Ran out of time for back ext and jump lunges

Ross Blake said...

Solid post James. Since we integrated stuctual balance testing and programming to fix imbalances we've see far less injuries. Gold.

Still taking it easy with the last coughs and splutters from a virus. So I did an easy mash up of things from the last few days.

A. Mobility and gymnastics skills
B. Hang power clean - x8x2
C. DL 50% - x8x2
D. Split jerk - x2x3
E. 20 back ext + 30 jump & switch lunges x2

Michael McCabe said...

for those interested, here's a link with video from a while back related to the ext rotation/powell raise/trap 3...

unit said...

awesome pic of the ANVIL!... love seein lil Aubrey in the background!...
so AJ... is that 165lb torso weight [ie sans arms and legs]?... ha

yesterdays WOD (Dec 13)

warmup- got a new jump rope in and wanted 2 try it out and get used 2 it...
AMRAP unbroken DU x5, 60s rest bw sets...
108/ 113/ 110/ 114/ 130
first few sets were silly mistakes... last set was shoulder fatigue...

A- 205
B- 225
C- 235
D- 155
E- strict, ub as rx

then played with the rock rings...

├╝ber Bania said...

yesterday's workout yesterday. sleeping funny plus this workout resulted in a pinched nerve. still can't move my head around very well.

Split Jerk:
All felt solid, but started to develop stiffness in my right scapula

Power Clean x1 / Power Jerk x3
145 x 10 rounds, on the minute.

Toes to Bar, 45s rest.
16, 15, 14, 14, 14 seconds each set.

took some naproxen throughout the night and all day today, but the nerve is still inflamed. sitting seems to be the best remedy, plus fish oil and naproxen. hopefully be back into the mix by end of the week

Trevor Salmon said...

Ross, contact me at for info on hosting the upcoming Big Dawg Challenge.

Stephen B. said...

Sat. WOD

HPC: 175/185/195/205/210(5)...serious grunt effort on last 2 sets...called it at 5 for 210 after multiple fails...

rows: complete


DL...complete @ 110kg (242)...rounded up from 106kg

subbed rows for airdyne:
13/14/14/13/13 (cals)


(subbed good mornings @ 40kg for back extensions)

3 sets of GM and JSL complete...

Jesse J WellRock said...

split jerks

then 125

T2B unbroken