Happy New Year 2018 !!!!
It has certainly been some time since my last post and, in looking back, I realize that 2017 was a year of wasted opportunities to relate my journey as it unfolded. It was a year that was somewhat sidetracked by healthy doses of procrastination and distraction despite experiencing discovery on all fronts: weight training, cricket, philosophy, and continuing formal education.
What set things into motion?
It was about November, 2016 when I introduced the dumbbell bench press into the mix and noticed soreness in my left shoulder. Thinking it was general soreness from a new exercise, I decided to try and work through the pain. Not only did it get worse on the bench, but it got worse while performing most other upper-body exercises. The soreness turned into pain and lack of mobility, which screamed "rotator cuff" issues. A trip to The Ohio State University Department of Sports Medicine confirmed my suspicion, and the ensuing physical therapy revealed that I was compensating with my deltoids and biceps (shoulders and arms) on movements that required lats and the scapular muscles (back). In some cases, the targeted muscles were weak and in others they did not fire at all!
So, out the window went the "progress" that I had made on pull-ups, lat pulls, lat rows, dumbbell rows, and bench, and into "rehab mode" we went.
It was difficult going from lifting as much weight as I could for 2 sets of 4-6 reps to going extremely light for 2 sets of 8-12. Some heavy lifts even became unloaded stretches. Let me be clear: this was not difficult from an effort perspective, but difficult for my ego!
Incorporating rehab exercises such as internal/ external rotations, shoulder extensions, shoulder retractions, scapations, and including activations (known as "Y's", "T's", "W's", "A's", and "U's") promotes proper scapular, and upper back positioning and strength.
My resolution for 2017 was to really work on my back and shoulders by literally starting over; to date, I've made excellent progress in that area. By learning how to set my back prior to activity by pinning the shoulder blades together and pushing them down, I am in an athletic position that ensures all of my lifts incorporate the best form and recruit the correct muscles, respectively. Moreover, I've found that by setting my back in this manner, I have more explosiveness during cricket matches, both as a batsman and a fielder.
Back on track, who knew 2017 would offer more challenges in the months to come.