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Question about upper body programming

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  • Question about upper body programming

    Quick background: I’m a 48 year old male, interested in maintaining balance between strength training and erg (rowing machine) training. Goal is to be both fast on the erg, on the strong side of the curve, and remain injury free. Not particularly interested in aesthetics and will never be competitive powerlifter or strengthlifter. I’ve purchased and followed several of the program templates provided here and am used to RPE based training etc.

    I have a shoulder issue that probably resulted from bench press. Pain has been present for at least 7 months. I’ve gone through the pain protocol as detailed on this website, reducing weight, reducing ROM, using variants. Pain persists. Overhead press is not an issue.

    My question is: Given my goals, are there any negatives in the long term to a program that excludes bench press and variants? I'm mainly thinking in terms of becoming injury prone. It would look something like: Monday-Squat, Press, rack pull; Wednesday-lying triceps extension, barbell row; Friday-Squat variant, overhead press variant (Swiss bar), Deadlift. I also would do 4 days of erg training, mostly shorter intense intervals.

    Thanks for any thoughts.

  • #2

    Thanks for the post and I hope you're doing well sans the shoulder pain.

    Short answer to your question: I don't think avoiding the movement that causes pain is the right long-term treatment plan, as this may sensitize you further and leave some gaps in your training.

    Long answer- While you certainly don't need to do any particular movement to live a full and complete life, I don't think complete avoidance is the answer long-term. I'd look into some incline, tempo, reduced rom, different grips, etc. variants and/or consider a consult. For the program, I would prefer if it looked something like:

    Pull supplement

    Press/bench variant
    SQ variant
    Press/bench variant

    Press/bench variant
    Pull supplement
    Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
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    • #3
      thank you for your response. You make a good point about sensitization and I'll try to find something my shoulder will tolerate.
      If I can ask a follow up regarding your preferred program (to help with understanding programming), what is the reason for moving the squat variant up one training day? Also, on D3, I assume the pull supplement would be something like a row?
      thanks again.


      • #4
        I think that whatever is "lost" in moving the squat variation up one day is gained by deadlifting "fresh" on day 3. I also see no reason to prioritize the squat over the deadlift (or vice versa) for most folks. A row, hip thrust, or similar could be plugged in for day 3's pull variation.
        Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
        ///Book a Consultation/// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///


        • #5
          Thank you for your time.