Head & Shoulder

The day was going so well. There was a little change to my training schedule, so I had my morning free to finish off my Christmas shopping. As much as I hate shopping and as stressful as it is to find stuff for the hard to shop for people in my life, I got it all done in about 2.5 hours. The rest of my afternoon was spent puttering around the house, doing laundry, re-organizing a couple of cupboards in the kitchen, and wrapping most of the presents. The sun was shining. Although there was a skiff of snow on the ground, I was still wearing flip-flops. I left for the gym feeling good and ready for my upper body day with some sumo deadlifts thrown in because we ran out of time for them on Monday. As I sat on the floor, putting on my socks and shoes, I noticed that my left shoulder wasn’t feeling so great. I wasn’t too concerned and just went to work.

1a. sumo deadlifts

warm-up without straps: 95 x 8, 135 x 8, 155 x 8

with straps: 175 x 3, 205 x 3, 225 x 1

main event: 185 x 8, 185 x 8, 185 x 8

Every rep may not have been perfect, but I’ve got fresh scrapes on my legs where the socks don’t cover right around the knees. Michael had me narrow my stance just a little bit for the last two working sets, so that I would have an easier time keeping those knees pushed out to keep my shins vertical.

2a. military press

Somehow, when Michael was telling me what I would be doing tonight, I completely missed hearing him say military press. I just love military press. It is my absolute favourite thing in the world. Can you hear the sarcasm?

43 pounds x 8

Michael was busy with my training buddy for this set, so he didn’t see my technique. I think it was okay. This set actually felt pretty good, and the bar skimmed my nose a few times so I think I did alright.

48 x 8

I’m not sure if Michael saw much of this set either, but it still felt pretty good.

53 x N/A

I was all set to do this next set, when Michael asked how the shoulder was feeling. We had been discussing it a few times since early into the deadlifts. Even if I was silly enough to want to hide pain or discomfort from my coach, he is usually observant enough to figure out when something isn’t quite right anyway. He did have me do some band stretches and such. We figured out that the left shoulder feels tighter, and he noted that it is visibly off compared to the right shoulder. My left shoulder feels kind of pinched, like nerves pinched, so I am hoping, desperately hoping, that this might explain why I have been having sporadic numbness in my left pinky recently. Tomorrow’s chiropractic appointment cannot come soon enough! But anyway, I answered Michael’s question by saying that the presses felt okay but my shoulder was still feeling the same. And that response caused Michael to put the kibosh on doing anymore military presses. Normally I wouldn’t complain about not doing military presses, but I am never happy to quit something because of pain or perceived weakness. I would really rather have done that next set. I think I could have. I am sure I could have…it’s just not always the smartest, right.

So Michael switched me to supine dumbbell flyes. I used 10 pound dumbbells and did 15 reps. That left shoulder felt okay but it made noise during every single rep, and that was the end of the flyes. Having two consecutive exercises cut short like that left me feeling a little frustrated and disappointed.

Instead, Michael had me do incline push-ups using a bar in the rack, making sure that I really focused on retracting my shoulders and opening them up through the movement.

x 20ish

lowered the bar a few notches: x 10, x 10, x 10

2b. chin-ups with small green band

narrow, neutral grip x 7

wide, neutral grip x 7…and I even paused that last rep at the bottom! That wasn’t intentional or planned. Michael doesn’t even know I did that, I don’t think. I did six reps, hung out at the bottom for a second or two and then decided to try for one more rep. The fact that I made it had me smiling really big and silly-like for a moment.

wide, neutral x 5

wide, underhand grip x 5…Michael had to give me a little push to finish the last rep, then he pushed me back up to do one rep with a 15 second eccentric. That was sure fun. There’s that sarcasm again.

wide, underhand x 2…because yeah.

I moped all the way home. I moped as I ate my dinner. I’m moping right now as I type. The shoulder is still feeling pinched and out of sorts. It is such a small thing, really, so why I do I feel so deflated. Head games. Deep inside my head is a little voice, or possibly several voices, telling me all sorts of horrible, nasty things that are neither beneficial nor true, but they sure sound plausible and so it isn’t always easy to shake those thoughts out of my head.



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