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Once every three to four years for the past 27 years, my right shoulder will have a flare-up of tendinitis or impingement syndrome. I’m having one of those flare-ups right now. My shoulder hurts, but I’m still going to strength train tonight with Logan at our Woodbury location. Here is how we’ll approach the workout:

-For my chest, I’m going to do a static hold on the Pec Fly machine with my arms almost all the way together. This position is very comfortable for my right shoulder (no pain whatsoever). I’ll attempt to hold a heavy weight in this position for 90 seconds. Even though I won’t be moving through a range of motion, I’ll still be receiving thorough chest stimulation. Then, as soon as I’m done with that exercise, I’ll jump to the Chest Press. I’ll use a much lighter weight because I’m fatigued from the Pec Fly, and this will keep the forces on my right shoulder much lower. If I have any pain during this exercise, I’ll stop with my right arm and continue with my left. Exercising the left arm only still benefits the right arm (a phenomenon called “cross-education”).
-For my upper back exercises, I’m going to do the MedX Torso Arm and I’ll use the handle positioning that is more comfortable for my right shoulder. I don’t think I’ll have any pain on this exercise and if I do, I’ll start training the left limb only.
-For my shoulders, I’ll include a static set for the posterior deltoid (the back of the shoulder) and a rotator cuff exercise. There is good research to suggest that moving through a pain-free range of motion in a strength training exercise acutely makes an achy joint feel better.
-I’ll do a set of isolated MedX Biceps Curls (obviously).
-For all of these upper body exercises, I’ll move even slower than I normally would. (Very slow movement combined with lighter weights keeps the forces on my shoulder lower.)
-If I have pain in a range of motion, I’ll simply try to reduce the range of motion. I predict this might apply to Chest Press (I can’t predict how the shoulder will feel through the entire range of motion).
-I’m going to train my legs hard as I always would.
-I’ll still be able to train my abs and lower back.
-I’m still going to do targeted exercises for my neck.
-I’m going to communicate with Logan throughout.

Take Home Message: A musculoskeletal injury or joint pain rarely has to keep us from receiving an incredibly productive strength training workout, even if our shoulder hurts.

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