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Do bench press(comfortable) or overhead press(uncomfortable)

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  • Do bench press(comfortable) or overhead press(uncomfortable)

    Hello,

    Once I got the consultation from Derek months ago, but I don’t think I asked this question.

    I have chronic neck and back pain. But after swimming or bench press session, it usually goes away. But then after overhead press session it usually comes back again(not always).

    So I had only run Powerlifting II four times last year. It felt good and my pain seemed to go away. But then I thought if overhead press gives me a pain, don’t I need to get better with it if I understand pain system correctly?(not avoiding movement that I’m afraid of)

    So, this year, I’ve run PB II and Hypertrophy II which are including OHP, and I’m running Strengthlifting II currently. Even though it’s been over 4 months since I added more OHP work, pain(or uncomfortable, stiffness whatever it is) still doesn’t seem to go away after OHP sessions.

    When I OHP, I feel a bit uncomfortable at the shoulder but no problem with getting reps done. My OHP form is good which is checked several times by SS coaches. RPE ok I believe.

    So the question is whether I get back to Powerlifting II or I keep doing OHP in Strengthlifting? (Because Powerlifting II feels the best.)
    In other words, do I need to concentrate on the movements that I’m confident with and works well with pain? Or I still need to challenge the movements that I’m afraid of and still gives me pain?

    I don’t like this pain in the back and neck after OHP sessions (neck always gets stiff and my voice doesn’t come out well). It might be getting better or I don’t know. Still it doesn’t feel good.

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    For further information, I don’t have any issues in the back and neck from X-ray and MRI

    Comment


    • #3
      There is a bit of a difference between avoiding symptoms, exposing to symptoms, and pushing into symptoms when it comes to pain. While we don't advocate that people entirely avoid symptoms, performing a movement and pushing into increasing symptoms is not the best idea either. You may need to use either a lighter starting point for OHP, dumbbell OHP, or use some different overhead movements first then start working your way into increasing weight on the lift. Even exercises like hanging from a pull up bar are a good way of introducing the movement. Sometimes it is not about using RPE in the form of "could I do two more reps" for an 8 but rather "should I do two more reps." Leaving a little larger margin of error can be advantageous when performing a movement that has caused issues in the past.

      There needs to be a balance between concentrating on the movements with which you are comfortable and exposing to different movements that can use work. You could continue with powerbuilding then possibly on your GPP days take a slot and perform some pressing movements.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for the answer. I'll take a moderate amount of volume for the presses.

        I have one more question. I'm running the Strengthlifting II template for 4 days currently(week 9) and I swim for the rest 3 days a week. But I have been doing all GPP workouts, upper back and arm workouts through lifting days too.

        Considering swimming days, do you think I better drop GPP workouts for fatigue management?

        I can admit adding 4th workout for the day, especially when it's pendlay row(upper back), sometimes beats me up. Swimming sessions are not easy too(been swimming for 3 years as hobby). Dropping swimming is not an option cause it feels best for my back.

        Thanks in advance!

        Comment


        • #5
          The ultimate answer to this question is up to you. If you are tolerating the GPP and the swimming then you could likely continue to do both. This also does not have to be an either/or scenario where you have to completely take away a GPP workout. If there are weeks where you are feeling better and wish to perform the GPP, by all means. Weeks where you are feeling more beat up you may skip.

          There is no ultimate magic formula to this and often thinking about exercises or workouts in the concrete terms of needing to do it or needing to skip can be harmful. There is a spectrum of athletic participation. If you were attempting to compete as an elite level powerlifter then discussions regarding the minutiae of GPP and set/rep schemes matter dramatically more. In this instance it sounds like that is not the case and you gain a positive effect from swimming. This may drop the overall slope of progression in terms of lifts but it also develops a more broad base of athleticism as now you are likely above average at both swimming and lifting. If it is fun (or even it is just you enjoy it), consistent, and allows for progress in some domains that is the largest component. Those domains may be increasing tolerance to activity to where you can tolerate both your GPP and swimming. I would likely argue that constitutes fatigue management as it is training to handle more load prior to being fatigued.

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